by Thomas E. Serena MD, FACS, FACHM, FAPWCA
"The average isn't average because its average. The average is average because its best." – J.B.S. Haldane
In 1972, Stephen J. Gould, the renowned paleontologist and masterful essayist, published the theory of punctuated equilibrium in which he challenged the long held belief that evolution occurred gradually over time. He knew that the creation of new species occurred when isolated populations of individuals faced environmental challenges to which they either adapted or perished. Gould asserted that this change happened rapidly when conditions favored it. Interspersed between the spikes in speciation are prolonged periods without change (equilibrium). In the case of the human species, globalization and a fairly stable environment have resulted in negligible change in our evolutionary history: we are enjoying equilibrium.