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.
A theory of evolution holding that characteristics of living organisms remain relatively stable for long periods that are infrequently interrupted, or punctuated, by brief periods of relatively rapid evolutionary change, caused as by climatic or geologic changes.
The theory that new species evolve suddenly over relatively short periods of time (a few hundred to a thousand years), followed by longer periods in which little genetic change occurs. Punctuated equilibrium is a revision of Darwin's theory that evolution takes place at a slow, constant rate over millions of years.