Stephen Jay Gould, Evolution Theorist, Dies at 60

By Buncombe, Andrew | The Independent (London, England), May 21, 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Stephen Jay Gould, Evolution Theorist, Dies at 60

Buncombe, Andrew, The Independent (London, England)

STEPHEN JAY Gould, the outspoken evolutionary biologist whose views on Darwinism made him a bestselling if controversial author, died yesterday aged 60 at his home in New York. He had had cancer for more than 20 years.

Professor Gould, a Harvard University academic for 35 years, greatly influenced his field for many decades, delighting and dividing his colleagues with equal passion.

With Niles Eldredge, a fellow palaeontologist from the New York Museum of Natural History, he developed an evolutionary theory called "punctuated equilibrium", which postulates that long periods of evolutionary stability are broken by shorter spurts of evolutionary change, perhaps sparked by events such as climate change or a comet impact. The theory contrasts sharply with more traditional evolutionists, who believe evolution is a steady process.

His ability to write plainly on such difficult subjects that helped him to reach seamlessly from the world of academia to that of popular publishing. He wrote a series of witty and engaging best- selling essay collections, including "Ever Since Darwin", "The Panda's Thumb", and "The Mismeasure of Man," a study of intelligence testing.

Andrew Knoll, a colleague at Harvard University, said: "Most of us just appreciated that in Steve we had someone who put this very positive public face on palaeontology, who was able to reach an audience that most of us would never reach and not nearly so effectively. He really was palaeontology's public intellectual."

Professor Gould analysed evolutionary theory with comparisons to a range of disciplines, including popular culture and sports. But it was his belief in "punctuated equilibria" that set him at odds with traditional Darwinists, among them the Oxford zoologist Richard Dawkins.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Stephen Jay Gould, Evolution Theorist, Dies at 60


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?