In this podcast, Niles Eldredge, evolutionary biologist and renowned paleontologist, discusses parallel causation in oncogenic and anthropogenic degradation and extinction, his thoughts on biological theory, and other topics.
Dr. Eldredge holds a PhD from Columbia University. He is the Curator Emeritus, Division of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History.
Dr. Eldredge discusses his long background, and his noted career in the fields of biology and paleontology. Dr. Eldredge has contributed significant work in the study of mid-Paleozoic phacopid trilobites, and along with Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard, formulated an interesting theory that challenged Darwin’s very premise that evolution occurs gradually. The theory they put on the table was known as Punctuated Equilibria, and it states that evolution occurs in dramatic spurts mixed in with extended periods of stasis.
Dr. Eldredge says there isn’t much evolution really unless, and until, the ‘clock’ is turned over, such as what occurs when an extinction event happens. Evolution, in fact, is a rebound from an extinction event. When all is working properly, he states, things tend to stay the same.
Dr. Eldredge provides information on climate change and the recipe for stability. He discusses some of the grave environmental dangers, discussing disruption and degradation, and the terrible damage being done to various species globally.
He discusses how we have changed the environment considerably, and how more people globally will ultimately lead to more damage. Dr. Eldredge talks about urban environments and how they relate to the natural world, and the real possibility that we are on a track toward extinction.