Blackwell Publishing

Species selection


Species selection is the process responsible for the proliferation of species that have lower extinction and higher speciation rates.

Species selection is a reason why macroevolution and microevolution may be uncoupled. Within a species, natural selection favors one character in one species and another in another species; but species selection may cause the species with one of the characters to proliferate, because of the character’s consequences for speciation or extinction rates.

This does not mean that the long-term process contradicts, or is incompatible with, the short-term process, only that we cannot understand the long-term evolutionary pattern by studying natural selection in the short-term alone, and extrapolating it.

Species selection should not be confused with group selection.

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