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quantum evolutionQuantenevolution (ger.)

  • Comparatively rapid transition from one stable type of biological adaptation to another distinctly different type under the influence of some strong selection pressure. (Merriam Webster 2011)

    Quantum evolution, which like the other modes occurs at all levels, but is most important and distinctive at relatively high levels, is so called because it typically results from a sort of all-or-none reaction; an evolutionary change, definite in quantity, is either completed at a relatively high rate or it is not completed at all, and the population involved simply dies out. [...] It is the present thesis that quantum evolution also occurs on a a larger scale and in clear distinction from any usual phase of speciation and phyletic evolution.

    Simpson, G.G. (1944). Tempo and Mode in Evolution: 199; 206.


    quantum evolution A rapid evolutionary shift to a new adaptive zone under strong selection pressure.

    Lincoln, R.J., Boxshall, G.A. & Clark, P.F. (1982). A Dictionary of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics: 209.