the occurrence, within a given population of organisms, of different rates of evolutionary change in various body structures and functions. An example can be seen in the patterns of development of the different elephant species. The Indian elephant underwent rapid early molar modification with little foreshortening of the forehead. The African elephant underwent parallel changes but at different rates: the foreshortening of the forehead took place in an early stage of development, molar modification occurring later.
Learn more about mosaic evolution with a free trial on Britannica.com.