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Meaning of saltationism

sal•ta•tion•ism

Pronunciation: (sal-tā'shu-niz"um), [key]
— n. Biol.
  1. any of several theories holding that the evolution of species proceeds in major steps by the abrupt transformation of an ancestral species into a descendant species of a different type, rather than by the gradual accumulation of small changes.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.