Chickens First 

Speciation by “Hopeful Monsters” in Fraternal Supertwins

"Nothing is more damaging to a new truth than an old error"


  • Speciation, or the generation of a new species, is an essential but unsolved issue in evolutionary biology. Although many prominent evolutionists have claimed to unravel the puzzle, the mechanism of speciation remains a hot debate.
  • Two schools of thought on evolutionary mechanisms exist. The first is gradual one, such as Darwinian natural or sexual selection and geographical isolation, the second is instantaneous one such as polyploids and virgin birth. The “classical” models of speciation are reproductive isolation from selection or geographical isolation, and hold that the instantaneous speciation has played little or no role in mammal evolution (Mayr 1988).
  • Richard Goldschmidt, a wartime refugee from Nazi Germany and a geneticist at the University of California at Berkeley, recognized that significant morphological reorganization could occur with major chromosomal rearrangement, which generates the “hopeful monster”: the random emergence of an individual carrying major genetic and morphological novelty as a new species, but had problems to tell how similar individual in the opposite sex to appear on the same time and location (Goldschmidt 1940).

Richard Goldschmit, a geneticist at UC, Berkeley

  • The author proposes a new and very simple model of speciation. In order for a mutation to be hereditary, it has to be present in fertilized eggs. How the mutation will affect the zygotes is dependent on internal and microenvironmental factors, which could generate a new species without natural selection or geographical barriers. Natural selection affects a new species only after its birth. The members of new generated species have to mate with individuals of their species in the same time and location to reproduce next generation. To accomplish this task, the author proposes a simple mechanism with only four steps: fraternal twin zygotes, similar gross mutations on the zygotes, self-splitting of mutated zygotes into two groups of identical zygotes in both genders, development of zygotes with live births and inbreeding when they mature.The model provides sound explanations to many biological mysteries, and it presents several testable predictions.

Organisms came into the world at different times


Goldschmidt RB. 1940. The material basis of evolution. Yale University Press.

Mayr E. 1988. Is biology an autonomous science?. In: Toward a new philosophy of biology: Observations of an evolutionist. Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. 8 p.