Phyletic Gradualism and Punctuated Equilibrium | Free Essay Example

Phyletic Gradualism and Punctuated Equilibrium

Words: 870
Topic: Sciences


Phyletic gradualism is one of the theories that try to stress more on the genetic mutation and how one species can change to another totally different species through a combination of its better genetic features. The change seems to be slow and take quite some time before a total change is achieved. The gradual change, in this case, does not apply to any kind of environment but is based on some factors such as population density. Actually, phyletic gradualism is a theory that cannot apply to a densely populated habitat, as it requires a small population.

The process of mutations takes time until there are no more traits of the ancestors hence end up with a totally different species (Coleman, 1964). Although there are certain factors that still raise questions in relation to the validity of this theory, archeologists are still in the field trying to come up with proof to support or enhance the validity of the theory. An example of a species that underwent phyletic gradualism is foraminiferans. Actually, this species took a period of 600, 000 years to fully mutate into a totally different species (Coleman, 1964).

On the other hand, punctuated equilibrium is a theory that stress or believes that a species can possibly change to another totally different species within a short period of time. This theory is actually prone to misinterpretation and this then makes it very difficult and challenging especially to the archeologists or scientific experts (Gould, 2002). There are seven concepts that best explains this theory though all are based on different perspectives hence confusing.

Predictions about punctuated equilibrium

Punctuated equilibrium is also based on some predictions based on the species evolutionary process. The context of this theory states that live organisms or existing species must have undergone a smooth transition from one form to another. The biggest undoing of this theory is that some factors are left unclarified such as the origin of the species from which the existing species began the transition process (Coleman, 1964). Punctuated equilibrium as a theory also bases its predictions on the transition process that tends to occur between one species to the other. This, therefore, means that prediction is based on linking species.

There are very many sub-theories that tend to explain or give facts behind the origin of the existing species though no powerful or strong proof has been given to ascertain them. Almost all theories presented by researchers hold water as no one can still understand or distinguish between the ideal and the dubious theory of existence. Phyletic gradualism seems to be more similar to Darwin’s theory of evolution although they are separated by a thin ideological concept (Patterson, 1978).

Punctuated equilibrium is one of the theories that tend to be far more opposite to other theories of existence because the process seems to be very short and does not allow time for proper transition from one stage to the other. This, therefore, means that the change in punctuation equilibrium is realized directly without any stages.

According to the observations made over the last five years, research-based on determining the existence of species will never come to an end as advancements are made every now and then. Very many researchers or archeologists are still in the field trying to come up with every possible link that may lead to discovery regarding every single species on the earth’s surface. Just like mentioned earlier in phyletic gradualism, the mutation is a process through which a cell changes from one state to the other hence this can give little support to this theory.

The two theories of biological evolution are based on different context and this is what brings a lot of confusion to people. In real life situation, there are certain occurrences that can be related to the theories such as the animal cell growth and the process by which an animal or beings passes just to reach adulthood (Patterson, 1978). Changes, in this case, tend to appear gradually in a manner that no one really understands and this, therefore, gives full support to phyletic graduation as a theory.

One of the evidence that supports punctuation equilibrium can be seen through the process by which a hen hatches its eggs. Actually, after the eggs are hatched, the chicken will not take long before they are covered with feathers all over their bodies, and not to forget is that they will start walking (Patterson, 1978). This shows that the mutation process happened fast and seemed to have skipped some stages. This example can be related to evolution as this is the same process although the difference only comes in where chicks grow to hens while in evolution, species grows or changes into a totally different species.

The two theories are still of great importance until a total proof is given to disapprove or eliminate one. According to the notion of perception is given by a number of people, the proofs given by phyletic gradual seem to be convincing as compared to punctuation equilibrium. This is so because phyletic graduation tends to match many activities carried out by people in real-life situations. Every growth or transition takes place gradually hence allowing space or gap for maturity.


Coleman, W. (1964). Georges Cuvier, zoologist: A study in the history of evolution theory. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Gould, S. J. (2002). The structure of evolutionary theory. Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Patterson, C. (1978). Evolution. London: British Museum (Natural History.