Definition of saltation in English:

saltation

Line breaks: sal|ta¦tion
Pronunciation: /salˈteɪʃ(ə)n
 
, sɔː-, sɒ-/

noun

[mass noun]
  • 1 Biology Abrupt evolutionary change; sudden large-scale mutation: new genetic characters appear suddenly by saltation [count noun]: a new concept of evolution by saltations or sudden transitions
    More example sentences
    • He gave examples of new races formed in sudden jumps or saltations to illustrate that ‘the evolution of organisms may… be a much more rapid process than Darwin believes.’
    • In a phylogenetic dendrogram, branches and twigs here and there show saltations into a new grade.
    • But accepting the data at face value raises the interesting possibility that hierarchy may be quite labile, that hierarchical saltations may be relatively easy in evolution.
  • 2 Geology The transport of hard particles over an uneven surface in a turbulent flow of air or water: the distance travelled by each grain during saltation
    More example sentences
    • Eroded sediment can be transported by creep, saltation, or suspension, and where much fine soil or sediment is present, dust clouds can result.
    • Although the dunes near Parker seem to be an extension of this same sandflow path, Muhs says that saltation couldn't carry grains of sand across the Colorado River.
    • This process, in which sand grains bounce downwind, is called saltation.
  • 3 archaic The action of leaping or dancing.
    More example sentences
    • In addition to the dorso-ventral flexion seen during saltation, the sacroiliac joint often allows varying degrees of lateral movement.
    • These actions are important in the effective use of the hindlimbs during terrestrial saltation and swimming.

Derivatives

saltatory

Pronunciation: /ˈsaltət(ə)ri, ˈsɔː-, ˈsɒ-/
adjective
More example sentences
  • The myelin acts as a layer of high electrical resistance and low capacitance, facilitating the rapid saltatory conduction of electrical impulses from node to node for long distances along axons that may be up to 1 m in length.
  • The saltatory nature of this type of flight results in extreme linear and angular displacements of the bird's body; however, birds isolate their heads from these accelerations with cervical reflexes.
  • The species possesses paired, elongate lateral spines that function in saltatory sweeping motions in response to sheer disturbances by predators.

Origin

early 17th century (in sense 3): from Latin saltatio(n-), from saltare 'to dance', frequentative of salire 'to leap'.

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