Rates of Evolution: Effects of Time and Temporal Scaling

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Science  14 Oct 1983:
Vol. 222, Issue 4620, pp. 159-161
DOI: 10.1126/science.222.4620.159


Rates of morphological evolution documented in laboratory selection experiments, historical colonization events, and the fossil record are inversely related to the interval of time over which they are measured. This inverse relationship is an artifact of comparing a narrow range of morphological variation over a wide range of time intervals, and it is also a product of time averaging. Rates measured over different intervals of time must be scaled against interval length before they can be compared.