Midterm Exam

Question 1 (2 points)

When the phrase “Evolution is just a theory” is used, it is meant to discredit evolution by implying:
Question 1 options:
A) that it is a guess that is as good as any.
B) that a theory is not strongly supported by facts.
C) that scientists believe theories to be inadequate.
D) all of the above.

Question 2 (2 points)

Which of the following statements about evolution is true?
Question 2 options:
A) The question of whether or not evolution has occurred is fiercely debated among most scientists.
B) Not only is the general concept of evolution not debated among most scientists, but there is unanimous acceptance of natural selection as the most important mechanism of evolution.
C) Darwin, like most of his contemporaries, accepted that the Earth was young (<6000 years old); because of this he would eventually reject the notion that natural selection could lead to speciation.
D) None of the above is true.

Question 3 (2 points)

Dr. Neil Shubin’s discovery of Tiktaalik:
Question 3 options:
A) occurred when he was looking for fossils of primitive man.
B) was an entirely chance encounter.
C) provided an example of an animal with some of the features of an amphibian and some of a fish.
D) provided an example of an animal that was certainly the ancestor of all modern vertebrates.

Question 4 (2 points)

Which component of the Scientific Method do critics of evolutionary theory suggest are missing from the study of evolution?
Question 4 options:
A) Make observations.
B) Create hypotheses.
C) Test predictions.
D) None of the above, because even critics of evolution agree that it is a scientific concept.

Question 5 (2 points)

Tiktaalik had all of the following amphibian characteristics except:

Question 5 options:
A) toes.
B) a neck.
C) shoulders.
D) all of the above were missing.

Question 6 (2 points)

Neil Shubin points out that “All the living things can be organized and arranged like a set of Russian nesting dolls, with smaller groups of animals comprised in bigger groups of animals.”  To an evolutionary biologist, what is the significance of this observation?
Question 6 options:
A) Animals in nested, smaller groups are more closely related to one another than animals in larger groups.
B) Groupings are entirely artificial.
C) The nested groups are certainly older than the larger containing groups.
D) It shows that the mechanisms behind animal evolution are different than plant or fungal evolution.

Question 7 (2 points)

If a scientist employing the scientific method finds that predictions made in light of a hypothesis are incorrect, then:
Question 7 options:
A) he/she should make different predictions.
B) he/she should reevaluate their hypothesis.
C) he/she should elevate the hypothesis to a theory.
D) none of the above.

Question 8 (2 points)

Evolution is:
Question 8 options:
A) genetic change that occurs in species over time.
B) a transformative process that leads to decreased diversity over time.
C) generally not active unless a disaster, like a comet strike, occurs.
D) none of the above.

Question 9 (5 points)

Describe a situation where one could apply the Scientific Method to learn more about the natural world.  Illustrate how each of the steps would be carried out in your scenario.

Question 9 options:

Question 10 (2 points)

Which of the following statements about fossils is false?
Question 10 options:
A) It is likely that we will never find fossils of most species that ever lived.
B) Oxygen-rich environments are best for fossil formation.
C) Rocks at the top of Mount Everest were formed on the sea floor.
D) Fossil hunting has been pursued for at least 150 years.

Question 11 (2 points)

Most species are not found as fossils because:
Question 11 options:
A) their body decomposes before fossilization.
B) their body is consumed by scavengers before fossilization.
C) erosion destroys the fossils before they are found.
D) all of the above.

Question 12 (2 points)

The principle of superposition:
Question 12 options:
A) suggests that rocks are always older nearer to the surface.
B) was known only after radioisotopes were added to rock samples.
C) is not verifiable.
D) is none of the above.

Question 13 (2 points)

According to geological evidence, approximately how many years passed between the Earth’s formation and when life first formed?
Question 13 options:
A) 6,000 years
B) 1 billion years
C) 100,000 years
D) 2.6 trillion years

Question 14 (2 points)

Which of the following statements is false?
Question 14 options:
A) Scientists have created complex formulae to compensate for the great changes that have occurred in radioisotope decay rates.
B) The effectiveness of radioisotopic dating has been confirmed repeatedly.
C) We cannot usually date sedimentary rock directly.
D) The oldest rocks are younger than the Earth.

Question 15 (2 points)

According to current fossil evidence, which series accurately relates the order of events from oldest to most recent?
Question 15 options:
A) first multicellular life, first jawed fish, first amphibian, first reptile, first dinosaur
B) first jawed fish, first amphibian, first land plant, first reptile, first mammal
C) first jawed fish, first amphibian, first reptile, first mammal
D) first dinosaur, first mammal, first amphibian, first land plant

Question 16 (2 points)

Fossils of transitional forms are often missing because:

Question 16 options:
A) transitions always occur quickly.
B) fossils are difficult to form.
C) gradualism is now known to seldom govern adaptation.
D) none of the above.

Question 17 (2 points)

Darwin observed that fossils in adjacent strata:
Question 17 options:
A) resembled one another more than they did in layers more widely separated strata.
B) were usually marsupial.
C) were eroded due to uplift.
D) are none of the above.

Question 18 (5 points)

Explain why many scientists consider Archaeopteryx to represent a transitional form?  Was it a dinosaur or a bird?  Explain your answer.

Question 18 options:

Question 19 (2 points)

Genetic information is shared between parent and offspring:
Question 19 options:
A) because it is packaged into sperm and eggs.
B) because blood types are usually predictive of paternity.
C) because a similar prenatal environment makes it so.
D) because of none of the above.

Question 20 (2 points)

Genetic similarity is viewed by evolutionary biologists as:
Question 20 options:
A) evidence of common ancestry.
B) evidence of behavioral shifting.
C) a worrisome sign that will probably discredit evolutionary theory.
D) an indication of environmental contamination.

Question 21 (2 points)

Question 21 options:
A) are code for functional proteins.
B) are genes found in bacteria that are similar to eukaryotic genes.
C) are genes that are only found in mammals.
D) are none of the above.

Question 22 (2 points)

Fish eyes and human eyes have very similar structure.  Because they are similar due to fish and humans sharing a common ancestor that had that type of eye, they are referred to as:
Question 22 options:
A) superfluous.
B) homoplasious.
C) homologous.
D) none of the above.

Question 23 (2 points)

The underlying structure of limbs shared by tetrapods is:
Question 23 options:
A) Two bones, to two bones, to many bones.
B) One bone, to one bone, to two bones.
C) one bone, to two bones, to many bones.
D) many bones, to one bone, to one bone.

Question 24 (2 points)

Tiktaalik was different than other fish previously discovered in that:

Question 24 options:
A) it had a wrist.
B) it had bones.
C) it had canine teeth.
D) it had none of the above.

Question 25 (2 points)

Teeth are more likely to fossilize than other structures due to their high concentration of:
Question 25 options:
A) hydroxyapatite.
B) nitrogen.
C) oxygen.
D) carbon monoxide.

Question 26 (2 points)

Which of the following statements is false?

Question 26 options:
A) Knowledge of the age of exposed rock layers helped Dr. Shubin plan the location of his fossil hunts.
B) Dr. Shubin’s greatest discovery was a frozen flesh-covered Tiktaalik.
C) Dr. Shubin’s work is mistrusted by anti-evolutionists because it is widely known that he works alone during his expeditions.
D) Both answers B and C are false.

Question 27 (5 points)

Provide examples of vestigial structures and seemingly poorly designed structures in animals.  Why do some consider these structures to be more powerful evidence of evolution than that provided by “near perfect” adaptations?

Question 27 options:

Question 28 (2 points)

What statement about HOX genes is false?
Question 28 options:
A) Hox genes give identity to body segments.
B) Hox genes help determine the anterior/posterior body axis.
C) So far, Hox genes have only been found in fruit flies.
D) All of the above.

Question 29 (2 points)

The expression “Deep Homology” refers to:
Question 29 options:
A) the genetic control of development common to many animals that share a common ancestor.
B) the importance of organ similarities in animals.
C) any homology that originated with an ancestor at least 26 million years ago.
D) none of the above.

Question 30 (2 points)

The reason that cells in an eye of an embryo are different than the cells in its pancreas:
Question 30 options:
A) is that they contain different genes.
B) is explained by homologous phylogeny.
C) is that different genes are turned on/off in these cells during development.
D) is none of the above.

Question 31 (2 points)

When Sonic Hedgehog
from a mouse was placed in the developing fin of a shark:
Question 31 options:
A) the shark fin developed normally because the mouse is too different from a shark.
B) it caused fur to grow on the fins.
C) the support rods in the fin differentiated in the similar manner to finger bones.
D) the shark developed cancerous growths.

Question 32 (2 points)

The nucleotide codons that are used to signal which amino acids are used in protein production are:
Question 32 options:
A) two nucleotides long.
B) three nucleotides long.
C) four nucleotides long.
D) none of the above.

Question 33 (2 points)

An ancestral characteristic that has been lost in its descendants but occasionally reappears is a(n):

Question 33 options:
A) Hox character.
B) atavism.
C) Paulian trait.
D) none of the above.

Question 34 (2 points)

The once embraced phrase “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” referred to:
Question 34 options:
A) a supposed series of embryonic development phases that seemed to recreate evolutionary history.
B) the reabsorption of an embryo’s tail.
C) the progress of evolution in viruses.
D) none of the above.

Question 35 (2 points)

Genes from one species have been transferred into other species.  These genes function within the recipients.  This is because:
Question 35 options:
A) the donor and the recipient are almost always sister species that are very closely related.
B) most all living species use the same codon to amino acid code.
C) the recipient will have improved fitness with the new gene so the recipient makes it work.
D) none of the above.

Question 36 (5 points)

How did scientists encourage a shark fin to develop in ways similar to a hand?  What is the significance of their findings to evolutionary theory?

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