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Can someone please explain what "punctuated equilibrium" means exactly and how it ties with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Beside "punctuated equilibrium", what are some specific...

Can someone please explain what "punctuated equilibrium" means exactly and how it ties with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Beside "punctuated equilibrium", what are some specific contributions Dr.  Stephen Jay Gould has made to the study of evolution?

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Punctuated equilibrium is the idea that evolutionary changes can happen in fits and starts, rather than slowly and continuously.  The notion of "punctuated" can be thought of as a kind of metaphor , with punctuation being something that stops a process, just like a period stops a sentence.  Imagine birds, for example, that go through a period of drought.  Those that have a slight variation in their beaks that allow them to find food more easily will survive and pass on this trait. Those that have another kind of beak will not survive.  Thus, in one generation, a dramatic change occurs, and there...

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