About the Hopeful Monster

Hopeful Monster:

(1) A term coined by geneticist Richard Goldschmidt in 1940 to describe an organism possessing large-scale mutations, or macromutations, resulting in near-instantaneous speciation. Goldschmidt believed that ‘atomistic’ mutations were too small to produce the wide range of life on earth, even given 4 billion years to do so, and that most evolution occurred in sudden radical jumps.

This theory was widely rejected, but in 1977 Stephen Jay Gould mused that rapid phases of evolution could occur without undermining Darwin’s theory of natural selection. While Goldschmidt’s idea of system-wide simultaneous mutations was incorrect, Gould pointed out that individual mutations affecting embryonic development could result in radical changes in phenotype.

(2) This blog, a collection of observations, finds and links that catch my interest. Wandering out into the untamed Internet environment, it will hopefully settle into its niche at some point in the future.


Note: Please forgive the bare-bones appearance of this blog. I will be giving it more of a look of its own as I go on.


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