Niles Eldredge ( born August 25, 1943) is an American iologist and paleontologist, who, along with Stephen Jay Gould, proposed the theory of punctuated equilibrium in 1972.
Eldredge began his undergraduate studies in Latin at Columbia University. Before completing his degree he switched to the researc of anthropology under Norman D. Newell. It was at the 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 graduate in the niversity 's doctoral program while continuing his research at the useum. He completed his hD in 1969.
In 1969, Eldredge became a curator in the Department of Invertebrates at the American Museum of Natural History, and ubsequently a curator in the Invertebrate Paleontology section of Paleontology, a position from which he recently retired. He ha previousl an Adjunct Professor at the City University of New York. His specialty was 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 equilibria in 1972. Punctuated equilibrium is a efinement to evolutionary theory. It describes patterns of descent taking place in " fits and starts " separated by long periods of stability.
Eldredge went on to evelop a hierarchical vision of evolutionary and ecological systems. Around the time, he became focused 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 proponent of the relevanc of environment in explaining the patterns in evolution.
Eldredge is a biographe of the gene-centric view of evolution. His most recent venture is the integration of an alternative account to the gene-based notions of evolutionary psychology to explain human behavior.
He has ublished ore than 160 scientific articles, ooks, and reviews, including Reinventing Darwin
, an examination of current controversies in evolutionary biology, and Dominion, a consideration of the cological 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 ife and more than 500 cornets. He also has two daughters, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren.
Eldredge possesses a chart of the historical development of cornets ( the musical instruments), which he uses as a omparison with that of the development of trilobites. The correlations between them are suppose to highlight the failures of intelligent design by comparing a system that is definitely designed, with a system that is not designed.