scientific theories

Topics: Fossil, Punctuated equilibrium, Evolution Pages: 3 (983 words) Published: October 11, 2013
Scientific theories must have testable predictions. Predictions are made based on observations and then experiments can be done to test the theoretical predictions. The experiments will either verify or falsify the predictions made. Here we are going to discuss the hypotheses of phyletic gradualism and punctuated equilibrium.

The pattern of evolution can be described as happening gradually, over time, as in the hypothesis of phyletic gradualism or by punctuated equilibrium. In the theory of punctuated equilibrium, evolution is described as happening in sudden spurts or jumps. One author describes this as the life of a soldier: “long periods of boredom interrupted by rare moments of terror” (Heylighen, 1999).

Observations made using the punctuated equilibrium theory on fossils shows long intervals where nothing at all changes, this is called equilibrium. These sequences of equilibrium are punctuated by short radical transformations in which the species became extinct and was replaced by wholly new species. The accelerated rate of change in the punctuated equilibrium theory can be explained by major environmental upheavals including but not limited to changes in food supply and climate. The changes create a new direction of varieties in the species that become more favorable in the new environmental conditions (O’neil, 2011). We must think of evolution as simply change, changes in species to adapt and survive in their environments. In a stable environment, there is no selection pressure on organisms to change, so evolutionary stasis is the result.

The creation and extinction of species on Earth is considered to take hundreds of millions of years to occur, based on the carbon dating process of fossils, rock formations, and erosion evidence from wind and water. These fossil observations are how scientists support evidence of evolution by gradual change. In rocks considered to be over a billion years old there is only evidence of single celled...

References: Batten, D. (1994). Punctuated equilibrium: come of age? Retrieved January 20, 2012 from,
BioLogos Foundation, (2012). What does the fossil record show? Retrieved January 20, 2012 from,
Heylighen, F. (1999). Punctuated equilibrium. Retrieved January 20, 2012 from,
O’neil, D. (2011). Micro and macro evolution. Retrieved January 20, 2012 from,
Riddle, M. (2007). Doesn’t carbon-14 dating disprove the Bible? Retrieved January 20, 2012 from,
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