punctuated equilibrium

noun

Definition of punctuated equilibrium 

: evolution that is characterized by long periods of stability in the characteristics of an organism and short periods of rapid change during which new forms appear especially from small subpopulations of the ancestral form in restricted parts of its geographic range also : a theory or model of evolution emphasizing this — compare gradualism sense 2

First Known Use of punctuated equilibrium

1972, in the meaning defined above

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