Nature 457, 837-842 (12 February 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature07894; Published online 11 February 2009

Darwin's bridge between microevolution and macroevolution

David N. Reznick1 & Robert E. Ricklefs2


Evolutionary biologists have long sought to understand the relationship between microevolution (adaptation), which can be observed both in nature and in the laboratory, and macroevolution (speciation and the origin of the divisions of the taxonomic hierarchy above the species level, and the development of complex organs), which cannot be witnessed because it occurs over intervals that far exceed the human lifespan. The connection between these processes is also a major source of conflict between science and religious belief. Biologists often forget that Charles Darwin offered a way of resolving this issue, and his proposal is ripe for re-evaluation in the light of recent research.

  1. Department of Biology, University of California, Riverside, California 92521, USA.
  2. Department of Biology, University of Missouri - St. Louis, 8001 Natural Bridge Road, St. Louis, Missouri 63121, USA.


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