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hopeful monster

noun, Biology.
a hypothetical individual organism that, by means of a fortuitous macromutation permitting an adaptive shift to a new mode of life, becomes the founder of a new type of organism and a vehicle of macroevolution.
Origin of hopeful monster
First recorded in 1933; phrase introduced by German geneticist Richard B. Goldschmidt (1879-1958) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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