Meaning of punctuated equilibrium

punc'tuated equilib'rium

Pronunciation: [key]
  1. a hypothesis holding that the evolution of species proceeds in a characteristic pattern of relative stability for long periods of time interspersed with much shorter periods during which many species become extinct and new species emerge.Cf.(def. 3).
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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