Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford


Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_109-1



The process of formation of new species during the course of evolution is called speciation. It occurs when a group within a species separates from the other members of the group and develops its own characteristics. Therefore, speciation involves the splitting of a single evolutionary lineage into two or more genetically independent lineages. This differentiation into the new species is dictated by the evolutionary factors (National Geographic 2011).

The rate at which the diversification of the species is taking place can be understood roughly by assuming that there are ~107 different species on earth, if bacteria and archaea are not accounted for (Mora et al. 2011), and life originated on earth singly ~4 × 109years ago. These estimates indicate that the average diversification rate can be calculated as 0.0025, meaning that one new species is formed every 400 years. This is an underestimate, primarily because it does not account for extinction events...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Zoology (MMV), Institute of ScienceBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Alexis Garland
    • 1
  1. 1.Ruhr UniversityBochumGermany