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A comparison of gradualism and punctuated equilibrium.

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(a) During gradualism, the phenotypic characteristics of a species gradually change because of the accumulation of small genetic changes. (b) During punctuated equilibrium, species exist essentially unchanged for long periods, during which they are in equilibrium with their environment. These equilibrium periods are punctuated by relatively short periods of evolutionary change, during which phenotypic characteristics may change rapidly.
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