What is the Theory of Punctuated Equilibrium?

1 Answer
Oct 26, 2016

An alternative theory to Darwinian evolution that biological changes occur in fits and starts not slow uniform changes.


The fossil record does not show slow uniform changes. Some life forms suddenly appear such as in the "Cambrian Explosion. " There is no fossil record of intermediate forms leading up to the new life forms. Punctuated Equilibrium is a theory that tries to address this problem in classical Neo Darwinism.

The theory of punctuated equilibrium postulates that the new life forms underwent changes in an isolated environment where there was little competition from the "normal population". Because the new population was protected from being absorbed by the larger population genetically.

When the new form was released from its isolation into the general environment the new form quickly supplanted the original form.

The theory of Punctuated Equilibrium has not been generally accepted. The reason is that Punctuated Equilibrium violates one of the assumptions of Neo Darwinism that of slow uniform process.