Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Hopeful Monsters

Vernacular coined by R.B. Goldschmidt to popularize his belief that macromutations, such as chromosomal mutations, accumulate in populations until a threshold is breached, propelling a species across an unbridgeable gap to a new species. Most carriers of such macromutations (his monsters) would fail to survive, but a rare few could have a high fitness (hopeful monsters). Most modern geneticists reject this theory.

See saltational speciation and mutant.

Cf. gradualism.

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