The key difference between microevolution and macroevolution is that the microevolution includes small-scale evolutionary changes especially within a single species population while the macroevolution includes large-scale evolutionary changes that lie beyond the boundaries of single species population over a longer period.
Evolution is a natural process that takes place on its own over a long period of time. Evolutionists and creationists have different views over how different species of organisms came into existence and how they evolved from primitive species. Accordingly, evolutionists are those who believe in the survival of the fittest and the Darwinian theory of selection and rejection while creationists are people who reject this theory though accepting the changes in certain species of animals that take place in a lifetime. Moreover, creationists describe these changes as microevolution whereas conveniently disagree with macroevolution, which is what is propounded by the theory of evolution. However, both microevolution and macroevolution involve the same principles and occur due to the same mechanisms; mutation and natural selection. But, their scales of the evolutionary changes are different.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Microevolution
3. What is Macroevolution
4. Similarities Between Microevolution and Macroevolution
5. Side by Side Comparison – Microevolution vs Macroevolution in Tabular Form
What is Microevolution?
Microevolution is a process of series of evolutionary changes that occur in a single species population within the lifetime. It simply refers to the change in gene frequency within a population over a short period of time. Besides, it looks at the way of changing individual traits within the population. Natural selection, migration, mating, mutation, gene flow and genetic drift are some of the causes for microevolution of a population.
Though microevolution study is narrow in the evolution of populations within the same species, it helps to understand broadly how differences arose between human population, how humans became susceptible to certain diseases over the time, how fertility factors have been decreased in humans over the time, etc. Microevolution can provide insight into any differences in a particular population. Especially, scientists use microevolution of the human population in order to gain insight into the causes of diseases. Furthermore, the study of microevolution helps to understand the mechanism of antibiotic resistance developed in pathogens as well.
Not only in humans but also other animal populations, microevolution provides deep analysis and reasons for their differences. As an example, you can see how selective breeding of dogs leads into a series of changes that are induced in the resulting breed of dogs.
What is Macroevolution?
Macroevolution is the process that takes place over several thousands of years and describes how humans have evolved from primates and how reptiles turned into birds, etc. Besides, macroevolution is changed that is gross, so much so that the new species that evolves cannot mate with members of the ancestor species. However, macroevolution is outrightly rejected by creationists as they say that dogs can become smaller or bigger or can have new features, but they can never become a new species.
Macroevolution is not directly observable. Since it occurs over a longer period of time, it is necessary to consider fossil data in order to understand the large-scale evolutionary changes of macroevolution. Evolutionists assume that horizontal microevolutionary changes are leading to macroevolution.
What are the Similarities Between Microevolution and Macroevolution?
- Microevolution and macroevolution rely on the same mechanisms; mutation and natural selection.
- Both involve the same principles as well.
- Ultimately, microevolution leads to speciation and causes macroevolution.
What is the Difference Between Microevolution and Macroevolution?
Microevolution and macroevolution explain two types of evolutionary changes at different scales. Microevolution refers to the small-scale evolutionary changes of a population over a small time period. On the other hand, macroevolution refers to the large-scale evolutionary changes over a longer period of time. Therefore, this is the key difference between microevolution and macroevolution. Furthermore, microevolution sees at the gene frequency level, and it can be observed and analyzed experimentally. However, macroevolution cannot be observed directly and should be studied using fossil data in order to understand the ancestral and current species relationships. Thus, it is another difference between microevolution and macroevolution.
Moreover, one additional difference between microevolution and macroevolution is that the microevolution restricts into a particular population of a species while macroevolution does not restrict into a particular species, it extends above the level of population. The below illustration on the difference between microevolution and macroevolution shows more details.
Summary – Microevolution vs Macroevolution
Microevolution refers to small-scale evolutionary changes in a single species population over some time. On the other hand, macroevolution is the evolutionary concept that described by the theory of evolution by Darwin. Macroevolution describes the large-scale evolutionary changes of organisms such as how reptiles turned into birds and lower primates into higher and then finally into human beings. Therefore, this is the key difference between microevolution and macroevolution. Moreover, microevolution looks at the changes in gene frequencies of a population over a short time period. On the other hand, macroevolution analyzes a longer period of time and explains how new species derived from ancestors and what are the possible causes, etc. However, both evolutionary types follow the same principles and both are driven by the same mechanisms.