Mr Chapter 15 Earth History Test

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Mr Chapter 15 Earth History Test - Quiz

Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    The theory of geology that states that changes in Earth's appearance happen at a slow and gradual pace that has been the same all throughout Earth's history is known as:

    • A.

      Catastrophism

    • B.

      Uniformitarianism

    • C.

      Geologic column

    • D.

      Radiometric dating

    Correct Answer
    B. Uniformitarianism
    Explanation
    Uniformitarianism is the theory of geology that suggests that changes in Earth's appearance occur at a slow and gradual pace, and this process has remained consistent throughout Earth's history. This theory opposes catastrophism, which suggests that major geological events occur suddenly and have a significant impact on the Earth's surface. The geologic column refers to the arrangement of rock layers in chronological order, while radiometric dating is a method used to determine the age of rocks and fossils based on the decay of radioactive isotopes.

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  • 2. 

    The theory of geology that states that changes in Earth's appearance are rare and rapid is known as:

    • A.

      Catastrophism

    • B.

      Uniformitarianism

    • C.

      Geologic column

    • D.

      Radiometric dating

    Correct Answer
    A. Catastrophism
    Explanation
    Catastrophism is the theory of geology that suggests that changes in the Earth's appearance occur suddenly and are caused by catastrophic events such as floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. This theory was popularized by Georges Cuvier in the early 19th century and contrasts with uniformitarianism, which proposes that changes in the Earth's appearance happen gradually over long periods of time. The correct answer, catastrophism, aligns with this theory.

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  • 3. 

    Modern geologists believe that Earth's features are shaped by both uniformitarianism as well as catastrophism.

    • A.

      True

    • B.

      False

    Correct Answer
    A. True
    Explanation
    Modern geologists believe that Earth's features are shaped by both uniformitarianism and catastrophism. Uniformitarianism is the idea that geological processes that occur today have also occurred in the past, and will continue to occur in the future, at a relatively constant rate. Catastrophism, on the other hand, suggests that certain geological features are the result of sudden and violent events. Both of these concepts are considered to be valid and important in understanding the Earth's geological history. Therefore, the statement that modern geologists believe Earth's features are shaped by both uniformitarianism and catastrophism is true.

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  • 4. 

    Geologists use the geologic column and the law of superposition to help them do:

    • A.

      Radioactive decay

    • B.

      Radiometric dating

    • C.

      Absolute dating

    • D.

      Relative dating

    Correct Answer
    D. Relative dating
    Explanation
    Geologists use the geologic column and the law of superposition to determine the relative ages of rock layers and fossils. The geologic column is a sequence of rock layers that represents the Earth's history, with the oldest rocks at the bottom and the youngest rocks at the top. The law of superposition states that in an undisturbed sequence of sedimentary rocks, the oldest rocks are at the bottom and the youngest rocks are at the top. By studying the order and relationships of these rock layers, geologists can determine the relative ages of different rocks and fossils.

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  • 5. 

    Based on the law of superposition, in an undisturbed rock bed, where should the youngest rock layers be found?

    • A.

      The top

    • B.

      The bottom

    • C.

      In the middle

    • D.

      Half way between the top and the middle

    Correct Answer
    A. The top
    Explanation
    According to the law of superposition, the youngest rock layers should be found at the top of an undisturbed rock bed. This is because in a sequence of undisturbed layers, each new layer is deposited on top of the previous layers, resulting in the youngest layer being on top.

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  • 6. 

    When rock layers are laid down and then moltent rock pushes its way up through the layers, what type of disturbance is this?

    • A.

      Overturned

    • B.

      Tilting

    • C.

      Folding

    • D.

      Intrusion

    Correct Answer
    D. Intrusion
    Explanation
    This type of disturbance is called an intrusion. It occurs when molten rock, also known as magma, pushes its way up through the layers of rock that have already been deposited. This intrusion can result in the formation of igneous rocks, such as granite, as the magma cools and solidifies within the existing rock layers.

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  • 7. 

    In an overturned bed, the oldest rock layers should be found on the bottom of the geologic column.

    • A.

      True

    • B.

      False

    Correct Answer
    B. False
    Explanation
    The oldest rock layers should be found on the bottom of the geologic column because the principle of superposition states that in undisturbed rock layers, the oldest rocks are at the bottom and the youngest rocks are at the top. However, in an overturned bed, the layers have been flipped upside down, so the oldest rocks would be found on the top instead of the bottom. Therefore, the statement is false.

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  • 8. 

    If fossils of a land-dwelling organism are found on two seperate continents, what is most likely the cause?

    • A.

      There was a land bridge

    • B.

      The continents were once connected in Pangea

    • C.

      The animal swam

    • D.

      The exact same animal lived on seperate continents at the same time

    Correct Answer
    B. The continents were once connected in Pangea
    Explanation
    The most likely cause for fossils of a land-dwelling organism being found on two separate continents is that the continents were once connected in Pangea. Pangea was a supercontinent that existed around 300 million years ago, where all the current continents were joined together. Over time, the continents drifted apart, resulting in the separation we see today. If fossils of the same land-dwelling organism are found on different continents, it suggests that the organism lived when the continents were still connected and later separated due to continental drift.

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  • 9. 

    Seeds of a tropical plant are found in the arctic.  What is most likely the explanation for this?

    • A.

      Migratory birds took them there when they flew north for the winter

    • B.

      The arctic once had a tropical climate

    • C.

      The seeds were left by an explorer

    • D.

      The seeds floated to the arctic in the ocean

    Correct Answer
    B. The arctic once had a tropical climate
    Explanation
    The most likely explanation for the seeds of a tropical plant being found in the arctic is that the arctic once had a tropical climate. This suggests that the climate in the arctic region was once suitable for tropical plants to grow and thrive. Over time, the climate changed, but the seeds of these plants remained, providing evidence of the previous tropical climate in the arctic.

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  • 10. 

    __________________________ is known as a gap in geologic time, or a missing rock layer.

    • A.

      Erosion

    • B.

      Deposition

    • C.

      Unconformity

    • D.

      Isotope

    Correct Answer
    C. Unconformity
    Explanation
    An unconformity is a gap in the geologic record where there is a missing rock layer. It occurs when there is erosion or non-deposition of sediment, leading to a break in the sequence of rocks. This can happen due to various geological processes such as uplift, weathering, or tectonic activity. Unconformities are important in understanding the geological history of an area as they indicate periods of time that are not represented in the rock layers.

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  • 11. 

    Which conclusion can be made if the fossil of a paleozoic organism were found in the mountains of Australia as well as in the desert of North America?

    • A.

      The fossil was carried by glaciers.

    • B.

      The fossil was moved by the oceans.

    • C.

      The organism was capable of living in both areas.

    • D.

      The rock layers where the fossil was found were made of metamorphic rock.

    Correct Answer
    C. The organism was capable of living in both areas.
    Explanation
    The correct answer is that the organism was capable of living in both areas. This conclusion can be drawn because the fossil of the paleozoic organism was found in both the mountains of Australia and the desert of North America. This suggests that the organism had the ability to survive and thrive in different geographical locations, indicating its adaptability and versatility.

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  • 12. 

    A scientist finds the same type of fossil in layers of rock in both Europe and South America. What does this indicate about the ages of the rocks?

    • A.

      They would be the same age.

    • B.

      The European rock would be older.

    • C.

      The South American rock would be older.

    • D.

      Fossils tell nothing about rock ages.

    Correct Answer
    A. They would be the same age.
    Explanation
    The presence of the same type of fossil in both Europe and South America indicates that the rocks in which these fossils are found are of the same age. Fossils are used as evidence for relative dating of rocks, as they provide a record of past life forms and can be used to correlate rock layers from different locations. Therefore, the fact that the same fossil is found in both Europe and South America suggests that the rocks in which they are found were formed during the same time period.

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  • 13. 

    A fossil of an ancient fish was dug up along with fossilized leaves of fern-like plants. In which environment was this fossil probably formed?

    • A.

      Hot jungle

    • B.

      Arctic sea

    • C.

      Hot desert

    • D.

      Warm swamp

    Correct Answer
    D. Warm swamp
    Explanation
    The presence of fossilized leaves of fern-like plants suggests that the environment where the fossil was formed was a warm swamp. Fern-like plants are typically found in moist and warm environments such as swamps, where there is an abundance of water and high humidity. This indicates that the ancient fish lived in a similar environment, as it was found alongside these fossilized plants. The other options, hot jungle, arctic sea, and hot desert, do not align with the presence of fern-like plants and are therefore less likely to be the correct answer.

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  • 14. 

    Trilobites lived from 200-500 million years ago.  If a paleontologists finds a fossil of a trilobite in a layer of sandstone, what does that tell the paleontologist about the age of the sandstone?

    • A.

      The fossil is older than the sandstone.

    • B.

      The fossil is younger than the sandstone.

    • C.

      The sandstone is between 200-500 million years old.

    • D.

      The sandstone is less than 200 million years old.

    Correct Answer
    C. The sandstone is between 200-500 million years old.
    Explanation
    The presence of a fossil of a trilobite in a layer of sandstone indicates that the sandstone is between 200-500 million years old. Trilobites lived during this time period, so the age of the fossil provides a clue about the age of the surrounding rock layer. Therefore, the sandstone cannot be older than the trilobite fossil, but it can be younger.

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  • 15. 

    What can scientists determine about studying unconformities?

    • A.

      Types of rocks that were preserved in the rocks

    • B.

      Erosion moved some of the rock

    • C.

      Details about the rock record

    • D.

      Different kinds of rocks that are present in the column

    Correct Answer
    B. Erosion moved some of the rock
    Explanation
    Scientists can determine that erosion has occurred and that it has moved some of the rock. By studying unconformities, scientists can identify gaps in the rock record where erosion has removed layers of rock. This provides evidence that the landscape has undergone changes over time.

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  • 16. 

    The type of dating used when an age or a year of an event is given.

    • A.

      Radiometric dating

    • B.

      Absolute dating

    • C.

      Relative dating

    • D.

      Radiometric decay

    Correct Answer
    B. Absolute dating
    Explanation
    Absolute dating is the type of dating used when an age or a year of an event is given. It provides a specific numerical age or range of ages for an object or event, allowing for a more precise understanding of its chronology. This method relies on various scientific techniques such as radiometric dating, dendrochronology, and stratigraphy to determine the absolute age of artifacts, fossils, or geological formations. Unlike relative dating, which only establishes the relative order of events, absolute dating provides a more accurate and absolute timeline.

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  • 17. 

    "3 million years old" is an example of relative dating.

    • A.

      True

    • B.

      False

    Correct Answer
    B. False
    Explanation
    "3 million years old" is not an example of relative dating because relative dating is a method used to determine the age of an object or event in relation to other objects or events. It does not provide a specific numerical age. In this case, "3 million years old" is a specific age, which would be an example of absolute dating rather than relative dating.

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  • 18. 

    When doing absolute dating, geologists test for a certain amount of an _____________________, which is an element that has the same number of protons, but a different number of neutrons.

    • A.

      Half life

    • B.

      Carbon 12

    • C.

      Isotope

    • D.

      Eon

    Correct Answer
    C. Isotope
    Explanation
    Geologists use absolute dating methods to determine the age of rocks and fossils. In this process, they test for a certain amount of an isotope. Isotopes are elements that have the same number of protons but a different number of neutrons. By measuring the ratio of parent isotopes to daughter isotopes, geologists can calculate the age of the sample. This is because isotopes decay at a constant rate known as the half-life. Therefore, the correct answer is "isotope."

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  • 19. 

    Which of the following are types of radiometric dating methods?

    • A.

      Carbon 14

    • B.

      Rubidium-Strotonium

    • C.

      Carbon 12

    • D.

      Potassium-Argon

    • E.

      Uranium-Lead

    • F.

      Silcon-Mercury

    Correct Answer(s)
    A. Carbon 14
    B. Rubidium-Strotonium
    D. Potassium-Argon
    E. Uranium-Lead
    Explanation
    The correct answer choices for types of radiometric dating methods are Carbon 14, Rubidium-Strotonium, Potassium-Argon, and Uranium-Lead. These methods are used to determine the age of rocks and fossils by measuring the decay of radioactive isotopes present in them. Carbon 14 dating is used for organic materials, while Rubidium-Strotonium, Potassium-Argon, and Uranium-Lead dating are used for rocks and minerals. These methods rely on the principle that radioactive isotopes decay at a known rate, allowing scientists to calculate the age of the sample based on the amount of remaining radioactive isotopes.

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  • 20. 

    ____________ is the time it takes for half of an unstable isotope to decompose.

    • A.

      Isotope

    • B.

      Half life

    • C.

      Eon

    • D.

      Absolute dating

    Correct Answer
    B. Half life
    Explanation
    The half-life refers to the time it takes for half of an unstable isotope to decompose. This means that after one half-life, half of the original amount of the isotope will have decayed, and after two half-lives, only one-fourth of the original amount will remain. The concept of half-life is commonly used in various scientific fields, such as radiometric dating, where it helps determine the age of rocks and fossils.

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  • 21. 

    Which of the following are ways for fossils to form?

    • A.

      Amber

    • B.

      Fossils in ice cores

    • C.

      Fossils in asphault

    • D.

      Fossils in rock layers

    • E.

      Petrification

    Correct Answer(s)
    A. Amber
    B. Fossils in ice cores
    C. Fossils in asphault
    D. Fossils in rock layers
    E. Petrification
    Explanation
    Fossils can form in various ways, including through the preservation of organisms in amber, the formation of fossils in ice cores, the preservation of organisms in asphalt, the deposition of organisms in rock layers, and the process of petrification. These different processes allow for the preservation and fossilization of organisms in different types of materials, providing valuable insights into the history of life on Earth.

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  • 22. 

    Which form of radiometric dating is the most common, and why?

    • A.

      Uranium-lead because uranium is easily detectable

    • B.

      Rubidum-Strotonium because Strotonium is a stable isotope

    • C.

      Potassium-Argon because it has a long half life

    • D.

      Carbon 14 because it has a short half life

    Correct Answer
    D. Carbon 14 because it has a short half life
    Explanation
    Carbon 14 is the most common form of radiometric dating because it has a short half-life. The half-life of Carbon 14 is about 5730 years, which allows it to accurately date relatively recent organic materials. This makes it suitable for dating archaeological artifacts and determining the age of fossils. Other forms of radiometric dating, such as Uranium-lead, Rubidium-Strontium, and Potassium-Argon, have longer half-lives and are used to date older rocks and minerals. However, Carbon 14 is the most commonly used method due to its ability to provide accurate dates for more recent materials.

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  • 23. 

    Select the information that can be given by using trace fossils:

    • A.

      The approximate height of an organism

    • B.

      How the organism traveled

    • C.

      The color of the organism

    • D.

      The relative age of the organism

    • E.

      The absolute age of the organism

    • F.

      The relative age of the rock layers around the fossil

    Correct Answer(s)
    A. The approximate height of an organism
    B. How the organism traveled
    F. The relative age of the rock layers around the fossil
    Explanation
    Trace fossils are indirect evidence of the presence of an organism, such as footprints or burrows. By examining trace fossils, scientists can make inferences about the approximate height of an organism based on the depth of footprints or burrows. They can also determine how the organism traveled by analyzing the patterns and direction of the traces. Additionally, trace fossils can provide information about the relative age of the rock layers around the fossil, as they are found within specific sedimentary layers. However, trace fossils do not provide information about the color or absolute age of the organism.

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  • 24. 

    An organism whose species lived for a short, well-defined amount of time, and we know what this time period is would be classified as a(n) ___________________.

    • A.

      Trace fossil

    • B.

      Amber

    • C.

      Index fossil

    • D.

      Ice core

    Correct Answer
    C. Index fossil
    Explanation
    An index fossil is a term used to describe a species that lived during a specific, well-defined time period. These fossils are used by scientists as a reference point to determine the age of other fossils and rock layers. They are typically abundant, widespread, and easily recognizable, making them valuable for dating and correlating different geological formations. Therefore, an organism whose species lived for a short, well-defined amount of time would be classified as an index fossil.

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  • 25. 

    Ice cores can be used to tell about Earth's past mostly because:

    • A.

      There are organisms frozen everywhere

    • B.

      There are plants frozen everywhere

    • C.

      There are gases frozen in there like carbon dioxide that show global climate changes

    • D.

      You can see air quality

    Correct Answer
    C. There are gases frozen in there like carbon dioxide that show global climate changes
    Explanation
    Ice cores can be used to tell about Earth's past mostly because they contain gases frozen in them, such as carbon dioxide, which provide valuable information about global climate changes. By analyzing the composition of these gases, scientists can reconstruct past atmospheric conditions and understand how the Earth's climate has evolved over time. This data helps in studying long-term climate patterns and predicting future climate changes.

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  • 26. 

    How old is Earth?

    • A.

      1.2 billion years

    • B.

      2.4 billion years

    • C.

      4.6 billion years

    • D.

      6.8 billion years

    Correct Answer
    C. 4.6 billion years
    Explanation
    The correct answer is 4.6 billion years. This is based on scientific evidence and research that suggests the Earth was formed around this time through the process of accretion, where smaller particles collided and merged to form the planet. This age is determined through various dating methods, including radiometric dating of rocks and minerals found on Earth.

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  • 27. 

    Put the four divisions of time in order from largest to smallest:

    • A.

      Epoch, era, eon, period

    • B.

      Period, eon, era, epoch

    • C.

      Eon, era, period, epoch

    • D.

      Era, period, eon, epoch

    Correct Answer
    C. Eon, era, period, epoch
    Explanation
    The correct answer is "eon, era, period, epoch." In this order, eon is the largest division of time, followed by era, then period, and finally epoch, which is the smallest division.

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  • 28. 

    The Phanerozoic Eon is known as :

    • A.

      The age of the mammals

    • B.

      The age of the reptiles

    • C.

      The age of visible life

    • D.

      The age of the prehistoric life

    Correct Answer
    C. The age of visible life
    Explanation
    The Phanerozoic Eon is known as the age of visible life because it is the geological eon when complex, multicellular organisms first appeared and became abundant. This eon is characterized by the diversification and proliferation of various life forms, including plants, animals, and marine organisms. It is a period in Earth's history when life became more visible and complex, marking a significant milestone in the evolution of life on our planet.

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  • 29. 

    The Phanerozoic Eon is divided into three eras.  Which of the following is NOT one?

    • A.

      Paleozoic

    • B.

      Proterizoic

    • C.

      Cenozoic

    • D.

      Mesozoic

    Correct Answer
    B. Proterizoic
    Explanation
    The correct answer is Proterozoic. The Phanerozoic Eon is indeed divided into three eras: Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic. However, Proterozoic is not one of the eras of the Phanerozoic Eon. Proterozoic is actually a geological eon that predates the Phanerozoic Eon. It is the eon that spans from about 2.5 billion years ago to 541 million years ago, preceding the Paleozoic era.

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  • 30. 

    During which eon did humans come about?

    • A.

      Hadean

    • B.

      Archaean

    • C.

      Phanerozoic

    • D.

      Proterozoic

    Correct Answer
    C. Phanerozoic
    Explanation
    The Phanerozoic eon is the correct answer because it is the eon during which humans came about. This eon began around 541 million years ago and is still ongoing. It is characterized by the diversification and abundance of complex life forms, including the emergence and evolution of humans. The other eons listed, Hadean, Archaean, and Proterozoic, occurred before the appearance of humans and did not witness their existence.

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  • 31. 

    During which era did humans come about?

    • A.

      Paleozoic

    • B.

      Mesozoic

    • C.

      Cenozoic

    • D.

      Phanerozoic

    Correct Answer
    C. Cenozoic
    Explanation
    The Cenozoic era is the correct answer because it is the era during which humans came about. The Cenozoic era began approximately 66 million years ago and is also known as the "Age of Mammals." It is characterized by the evolution and diversification of mammals, including the emergence and development of early humans. This era is still ongoing and includes the present day.

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  • 32. 

    In this era, you would have found dinosaurs, small mammals, flowering plants, and birds:

    • A.

      Quaternary

    • B.

      Mesozoic

    • C.

      Cenozoic

    • D.

      Paleozoic

    Correct Answer
    B. Mesozoic
    Explanation
    The correct answer is mesozoic. The Mesozoic era, also known as the Age of Reptiles, occurred between 252 and 66 million years ago. During this era, dinosaurs, small mammals, flowering plants, and birds were present. It was a time of significant evolution and diversification of life on Earth, with the dominance of reptiles, including dinosaurs, being a notable characteristic.

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  • 33. 

    It was during this era that the largest mass exctinction in all of Earth's history happened:

    • A.

      Archaean

    • B.

      Cenozoic

    • C.

      Mesozoic

    • D.

      Paleozoic

    Correct Answer
    D. Paleozoic
    Explanation
    During the Paleozoic era, the largest mass extinction in Earth's history occurred. This event, known as the Permian-Triassic extinction or the Great Dying, wiped out approximately 96% of marine species and 70% of terrestrial species. It was a catastrophic event that resulted from a combination of volcanic activity, climate change, and a decrease in oxygen levels in the oceans. The extinction event marked the end of the Paleozoic era and paved the way for the rise of new species during the Mesozoic era.

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  • 34. 

    What caused the largest mass extinction of all of Earth's history?

    • A.

      An asteroid hit Earth causing global climate change

    • B.

      The water didn't circulate as it should have

    • C.

      There were genetic mutations

    • D.

      It hasn't happened yet

    Correct Answer
    B. The water didn't circulate as it should have
    Explanation
    The largest mass extinction in Earth's history was caused by the disruption of the water circulation. This could refer to an event such as the shutdown of ocean currents or changes in ocean chemistry, which would have had a significant impact on the global climate and ecosystems. This disruption would have led to widespread extinctions and ecological collapse, making it the primary cause of the largest mass extinction event.

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  • 35. 

    What caused the exctintion during the mesozoic era?

    • A.

      An asteroid hit Earth causing global climate change

    • B.

      The water didn't circulate as it should have

    • C.

      Over population

    • D.

      A crossing over of terrestrial and aquatic food chains

    Correct Answer
    A. An asteroid hit Earth causing global climate change
    Explanation
    During the Mesozoic era, an asteroid impact on Earth caused global climate change. This catastrophic event led to the extinction of many species, including the dinosaurs. The impact caused massive amounts of dust and debris to be thrown into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight and leading to a significant drop in temperature. This sudden change in climate disrupted ecosystems, causing widespread extinction. The asteroid impact theory is supported by geological evidence, such as the discovery of a large impact crater called Chicxulub in Mexico, which dates back to the same time period.

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  • 36. 

    During what period did humans come about

    • A.

      Phanerozoic

    • B.

      Quaternary

    • C.

      Cenozoic

    • D.

      Holocene

    Correct Answer
    B. Quaternary
    Explanation
    The Quaternary period is the most recent geological time period in the Phanerozoic eon, which is the current eon that began around 541 million years ago. The Quaternary period started around 2.6 million years ago and continues to the present day. It is during this period that humans, as we know them today, came about. Therefore, the Quaternary period is the correct answer to the question.

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  • 37. 

    What epoch did humans come about in?

    • A.

      Phanerozoic

    • B.

      Holocene

    • C.

      Cenozoic

    • D.

      Quaternary

    Correct Answer
    B. Holocene
    Explanation
    The Holocene epoch is the current geological epoch, which began approximately 11,700 years ago after the last major ice age. It is characterized by the development of modern human civilization and the transition from hunter-gatherer societies to agriculture-based communities. Therefore, the Holocene epoch is the period in which humans came about.

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  • 38. 

    The extinction of the dinosaurs killed nearly 90% of all the species living on Earth.

    • A.

      True

    • B.

      False

    Correct Answer
    B. False
    Explanation
    The statement is false because the extinction of the dinosaurs did not kill nearly 90% of all the species living on Earth. While the extinction event did have a significant impact on the Earth's biodiversity, it is estimated that around 75% of all species went extinct during this time period, not 90%.

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