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Dr. Niles Eldredge (born August 25, 1943) is an American paleontologist, who, along with Stephen Jay Gould, proposed the theory of punctuated equilibrium in 1972.
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Eldredge began his undergraduate studies in Latin at Columbia University. Before completing his degree he changed focus, switching to the study of anthropology under Norman D. Newell. It was at this time that his work at the American Museum of Natural History began, under the combined Columbia University-American Museum graduate studies program.
Eldredge graduated summa cum laude from Columbia College of Columbia University in 1965, and enrolled in the university's doctoral program while continuing his research at the museum. He completed his PhD in 1969.
That same year, Eldredge became Curator in the Department of Invertebrates at the American Museum of Natural History, a position which he still holds . He is also Adjunct Professor at the City University of New York. His specialty is the evolution of mid-Paleozoic Phacopida trilobites: a group of extinct arthropods that lived between 543 and 245 million years ago.
Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould proposed punctuated equilibrium in 1972. Punctuated equilibrium is a refinement to evolutionary theory which describes patterns of descent taking place in "fits and starts" separated by long periods of stability.
Eldredge went on to develop a hierarchical vision of evolutionary and ecological systems. Around this time, he became focussed on the rapid destruction of many of the world's habitats and species. Throughout his career, he has used repeated patterns in the history of life to refine ideas on how the evolutionary process actually works.
Eldredge is a critic of the gene-centric view of evolution and the notion that evolutionary theory can be held accountable to patterns of historical data. His most recent venture is the development of an alternative account to the gene-based notions of evolutionary psychology to explain why human beings behave as they do.
He has published more than 160 scientific articles, books, and reviews, including "Reinventing Darwin", an examination of current controversies in evolutionary biology, and "Dominion", a consideration of the ecological and evolutionary past, present, and future of Homo sapiens.
Eldredge enjoys playing jazz trumpet and is an avid collector of 19th century cornets. He shares his home in Ridgewood, New Jersey with his wife and more than 500 cornets. He also has two sons, two daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren.
Eldredge possesses a chart of the development of cornets compared with that for trilobites. The differences between them are meant to highlight the failures of Intelligent Design by comparing a system that is definitely designed, with a system that, according to scientific consensus, is not.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Niles_Eldredge". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|