In particular, one of Gould's important contributions as a paleontologist was to convince us that there are long periods in evolution where species don't change very much, that Darwinian gradualism doesn't guarantee a steady course of improvements. And that there are periods -- not at all inconsistent with Darwinian gradualism -- when things progress considerably faster. I tuned right into what Steve was saying since both of my main interests in evolution, the evolution of the big brain in only several million years, and the use of the Darwinian process in the brain to improve the quality of the next sentence you speak in a matter of seconds, involve the search for speedy ways of evolving things.
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