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saltationism

[sal-tey-shuh-niz-uh m]
noun Biology.
  1. any of several theories holding that the evolution of species proceeds in major steps by the abrupt transformation of an ancestral species into a descendant species of a different type, rather than by the gradual accumulation of small changes.
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Origin of saltationism

First recorded in 1970–75; saltation + -ism
Related formssal·ta·tion·ist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018