Evolutionary Theory Review Questions

1. Identify, by listing in sequence, the five progressive tiers, or levels, of biological evolution as identified in class.

2. Identify a sequence of prerequisite steps that some scientists have proposed as the process that led to the first reproducing cell.

3. According to researchers, what molecular compounds dominated the earth’s atmosphere before life began?

4. What is the significance of Miller’s experiment in regard to the evolution of the first life forms?

5. What is microevolution, and why is it a prerequisite for natural selection?

6. List three scientifically supported examples of evidence for natural selection.

7. What three steps, or stages, lead to complete allopatric speciation?

8. Identify the four areas of biological study that provide supporting evidence for macroevolution.

9. List five concepts from the study of comparative anatomy that have been used as evidence in support of macroevolution.

10. Explain the concept known as the general congruence of anatomical features.

11. Identify some of the more commonly used examples of vestigial structures in vertebrate animals.

12. What is required for an anatomical feature to be considered vestigial?

13. Explain how these three terms are interrelated: analogous structures, homologous structures, and homoplastic structures.

14. What is the concept of superposition as it relates to fossils?

15. What are index fossils?

16. Why is carbon 14 not useful for determining the age of most fossils?

17. Why are the fossils of archaeopteryx and ichthyostega valued by evolutionary biologists?

18. Explain how the age of sedimentary rocks can be obtained by dating igneous rocks.

19. What two biological molecule types allow us to explore the relatedness of any two taxa?

20. What technique is now most commonly used to construct the phylogenies of animal taxa?

21. Name three animal groups with a gondwanan origin, and name three with a laurasian origin.

22. What is the meaning of the word “endemic” in regard to biogeographic studies?

23. Give an example of a species or taxon existing in a biogeographic refugium.