Darwin thought evolution is slow. Evolution is slow on long time scales, but the fundamental process works on a generation-to-generation scale, not long time scales. Phenotypic variation is geometric normal, with normality reflecting its underlying polygenic source; ln transformation is part of the measurement process. The natural rate unit is the haldane, particularly H, representing change in standard deviations per generation on a timescale of one generation. When appropriately sampled, rates calculated on longer scales can be projected to a generational timescale. Empirical studies are reviewed concerning: () rates of polygenic mutation, () rates of response to human versus natural disturbance; and () rates of change in a classic study of punctuated equilibrium. Rate studies commonly find phenotypic change on the order of H = 0.1 to 0.3 standard deviations per generation. This is fast by any standard. Darwin was wrong on rates, but more right than we knew on natural selection.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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