Larson, Allan Department of Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.
Last reviewed:September 2020
Show previous versions
- Systematics and phylogeny
- Origins of evolutionary novelty
- Key innovation
- Hierarchical expansion
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Large-scale patterns and processes in the history of life, including the origins of novel organismal designs, evolutionary trends, adaptive radiations, and extinctions. Macroevolutionary research is based on phylogeny, that is, the history of common descent among species (Fig. 1). The formation of species and branching of evolutionary lineages mark the interface between macroevolution and microevolution, which addresses the dynamics of genetic variation within populations. The term macroevolution was used by the geneticist Richard Goldschmidt in the 1940s to challenge the then-prevailing notion that major features of evolutionary history could be understood as simple extrapolations of population genetic principles. The term still often implies this challenge and the expansion of Darwinian evolutionary theory to include evolutionary processes emerging above the species level on time scales encompassing multiple millions of years. Phylogenetic reconstruction, that is, the developmental basis of evolutionary change, and long-term trends in patterns of speciation and extinction among lineages constitute major foci of macroevolutionary studies. See also: Evolution; Extinction; Phylogeny; Population genetics; Speciation
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 10,000 highly qualified scientists and 46 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information