Uncle Don Carney was the most popular childrens show on the radio waves in and around NY in the heyday of radio until the day when, having finished his goodbye song and thinking the mike was off, he uttered the famous
"Well, I guess that takes care of the little bastards for another day".
I know, somebody is going to say that Snopes claims the entire story is an urban legend... My father heard the broadcast on the air and he tells me that he didn't normally listen to it but that his sister did and he'd gone to ask her some sort of a question and caught the thing as it happened; I.e. Snopes is full of ****.
Likewise, Steve Gould was a paleontologist and not an evolutionary biologist or anything of the sort. Starting from a point somewhere back in the 60s and 70s, evolutionary biology had become a dead hand over the entire field of paleontology; paleontologists simply were not being allowed to publish legitimate findings because they contradicted the dogmas of Darwinism as they pertained to the question of "intermediate fossils". And so, in order to make paleontology something which somebody could actually practice in the world, Gould, Eldredge, and a couple of others came up with what they apparently viewed as an appropriate concoction of BS to "hold the little bastards" (how they viewed evolutionists) not just for another night, but for all time, while they went about their profession unmolested.
Now, in the automative profession, there are a certain number of unscrupulous salesmen who have devised a sort of a variant of Adolf Hitler's "big lie" principle adapted to the requirements of salesmanship, which goes thus: If I tell some potential buyer a lie so overwhelmingly preposterous that nobody with any brains or talent or even the IQ you normally associate with dogs and cats could possibly buy off on it, then my conscience is clear; I don't have to feel sorry for the guy.
This is undoubtedly the way in which Gould and Eldredge managed to construct their theory without having to worry about losing sleep over feeling sorry for anybody. The fact that PE is basically idiotic didn't even bother them since they viewed the intended audience as idiots.
Punctuated equilibria amounts to a claim that all meaningful evolutionary change has occurred amongst very small groups of animals living in isolated or closed-in areas; these creatures supposedly develop some genetic advantage and then spread out and overwhelm the larger herds of the older animals. The theory claims to resolve two gigantic problems with classical Darwinism: the total lack of intermediate fossils, and the problems of population genetics particularly the Haldane Dilemma and the gigantic spans of time it would take to substitute ANY genetic change through any large herd of animals.
Nonetheless there are a number of huge problems with PE and requiring ALL animal species to have arisen in such a way is the same proposition as requiring Custer to win at Little Big Horn every day for billions of years.
Real scientific theories (as opposed to evolution) do not require being reinvented every ten or twelve years.