Standard Article

Evolution: Tempo and Mode

  1. John D Damuth

Published Online: 19 APR 2001

DOI: 10.1038/npg.els.0001720



How to Cite

Damuth, J. D. 2001. Evolution: Tempo and Mode. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. University of California at Santa Barbara, California, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 APR 2001


‘Tempo’ refers to the rate of evolution, the rate of phenotypic change either within lineages or expressed as averages within major taxonomic groups. ‘Mode’ refers to the pattern of evolution – whether it is continuous or episodic; whether it is primarily phyletic (within-lineage) or proceeds mostly by lineage-splitting; whether it shows directional trends or not; and whether it proceeds by small steps or sudden jumps.


  • evolutionary rates;
  • punctuated equilibrium;
  • gradualism;
  • speciation;
  • stasis