Blackwell Publishing

Rates of evolution

Evolutionary rates can be measured quantitatively for a character within a lineage, and we begin by seeing how this is conventionally done. We then look at a large compilation of over 500 such measurements and ask whether fossil evolutionary rates fit in with the theory of population genetics. Punctuated equilibrium is an influential modern idea about evolutionary rates in fossils and we discuss the theory, how to test it, evidence for and against it, and its conceptual relation with the modern synthesis.

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