punctuated equilibriumpunc·tu·at·ed equilibrium
- The theory that the evolution of life on earth typically follows a pattern in which long periods of little morphological change are punctuated by relatively short periods of significant change, when speciation occurs.
- Evolutionary development of this kind.
(plural punctuated equilibria)
- A theory of evolution holding that evolutionary change tends to be characterized by long periods of stability, or equilibrium, punctuated by episodes of very fast development.