Punctuated Equilibrium

From BibleStrength

The theory known as 'Punctuated Equilibrium' was originated by the paleontologists Stephen Gould and Niles Eldridge in their paper Punctuated Equilibria: An Alternative to Phyletic Gradualism because the fossil record did not show evidence for Darwin's original theory of phyletic gradualism, gradualistic evolution, and only showed steady microevolution in the fossil record for long periods, then sudden emergence of brand new species as though suddenly created.[1] Today Punctuated Equilibrium is the predominant theory on Evolution.


The morphological discontinuity and the geologic time scales involved (i.e decades or hundreds of years instead of thousands or millions) puts Punctuated Equilibrium in direct contrast with Gradualism; essentially an acknowledgement that species appeared suddenly in advanced stages without the gradual transitions required for a common ancestor. The lack of transitional forms in the fossil record troubled Darwin himself, who tried to explain it through the then-incomplete knowledge of the fossil record.[3]


The Biotic Message: Evolution Versus Message Theory by Walter ReMine accuses Punctuated Equilibrium of being unfalsifiable, of simply creating an unsubstantiated hypothesis to explain away the growing body of evidence seen from the fossil record that evolution is not constant and gradual, and that transitional forms don't exist.


  1. "Competing Hypotheses About the Pace of Evolution." Understanding Evolution. University of California Museum of Paleontology. 29 April 2012.
  2. Punctuated Equilibria: An Alternative to Phyletic Gradualism. Eldredge, N. and Stephen J. Gould. 1972.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Prentice-Hall Inc. "Punctuated Equilibrium."
  4. Batten, Don (1997). "The Biotic Message: Evolution versus Message Theory." CenTech J. Vol. 3, No. 11, pp. 295-296.