Understanding Evolution

Evolution at different scales: micro to macro :

What is macroevolution?

Macroevolution generally refers to evolution above the species level. So instead of focusing on an individual beetle species, a macroevolutionary lens might require that we zoom out on the tree of life, to assess the diversity of the entire beetle clade and its position on the tree.

Macroevolution refers to evolution of groups larger than an individual species.

The three domains
The history of life, on a grand scale.
Macroevolution encompasses the grandest trends and transformations in evolution, such as the origin of mammals and the radiation of flowering plants. Macroevolutionary patterns are generally what we see when we look at the large-scale history of life.

It is not necessarily easy to "see" macroevolutionary history; there are no firsthand accounts to be read. Instead, we reconstruct the history of life using multiple lines of evidence, including geology, fossils, and living organisms.


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Understanding Evolution © 2016 by The University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley, and the Regents of the University of California