Principles Of Evolution Quiz

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Evolution Quizzes & Trivia

Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    Who invented the idea of the "ladder of nature"?

    • A.

      Jean Baptiste Lamarck

    • B.

      William Smith

    • C.

      Plato

    • D.

      Jacques Cuvier

    • E.

      James Hutton

    • F.

      Aristotle

    Correct Answer
    F. Aristotle
    Explanation
    Aristotle is credited with inventing the idea of the "ladder of nature." In his work, he proposed that all living organisms can be arranged in a hierarchical order, with simpler organisms at the bottom and more complex ones at the top. This concept influenced the field of biology and the understanding of evolution for centuries to come.

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  • 2. 

    Which of the following observations best indicates that living things evolved in different time periods?

    • A.

      Extinct organisms found only as fossils were destroyed in global catastrophes.

    • B.

      In many parts of the world, a rock layer of type A always appears below a rock layer of type B.

    • C.

      Species in a location resemble one another more than species in another location.

    • D.

      Fossil A always appears in a layer below fossil B.

    • E.

      Layers of rock are deposited in a slow, gradual process.

    Correct Answer
    D. Fossil A always appears in a layer below fossil B.
    Explanation
    The observation that fossil A always appears in a layer below fossil B suggests that living things evolved in different time periods. This is because the position of fossils in rock layers can provide information about the relative ages of the organisms. If fossil A consistently appears below fossil B, it indicates that the organisms represented by fossil A lived and became extinct before the organisms represented by fossil B. This supports the idea that different species evolved and existed at different times in the Earth's history.

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  • 3. 

    Who was the first scientist to state that species change over time?

    • A.

      Comte de Buffon

    • B.

      Charles Darwin

    • C.

      Jacques Cuvier

    • D.

      Alfred Wallace

    • E.

      Jean Baptiste Lamarck

    • F.

      Aristotle

    Correct Answer
    A. Comte de Buffon
    Explanation
    Comte de Buffon was the first scientist to state that species change over time. He proposed the idea of "transmutation" in the 18th century, suggesting that species could transform and adapt to their environment. This was a groundbreaking concept at the time and laid the foundation for later theories of evolution. Charles Darwin, although well-known for his theory of natural selection, built upon Buffon's ideas and expanded the understanding of how species change over time.

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  • 4. 

    Which of the following experiments might disprove the "inheritance of acquired characteristics"?

    • A.

      Take a population of white mice. Dye the hair of the mice black and show that their children are still born with white hair.

    • B.

      Separate male mice from female mice. Allow males to attack one another to prove dominance. Only allow the dominant males to breed with the females. Show that the male children are no more aggressive than their parents.

    • C.

      Separate male mice from female mice. Race the male mice down a track. Only allow the fastest males to breed with the females. Show that the male children are no faster than their parents.

    • D.

      Measure the tail lengths of a population of mice. Cut the tails off and then let them breed. Show that the children's tails are no shorter than their parents' tails.

    • E.

      Separate black mice from white mice. Breed black mice together and white mice together and show that children resemble their parents in color.

    Correct Answer
    D. Measure the tail lengths of a population of mice. Cut the tails off and then let them breed. Show that the children's tails are no shorter than their parents' tails.
    Explanation
    This experiment would disprove the "inheritance of acquired characteristics" because it demonstrates that the offspring's traits are not affected by a change that occurred in the parents' lifetime. If the children's tails are no shorter than their parents' tails, it suggests that the length of the tail is not influenced by the parents' tail being cut off. This contradicts the idea that acquired traits can be passed on to the next generation.

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  • 5. 

    Who first proposed the idea of natural selection as a mechanism for evolution?

    • A.

      Comte de Buffon

    • B.

      Aristotle

    • C.

      Charles Darwin

    • D.

      Alfred Wallace

    • E.

      Jean Baptiste Lamarck

    • F.

      Jacques Cuvier

    Correct Answer
    C. Charles Darwin
    Explanation
    Charles Darwin is the correct answer because he is widely credited with proposing the idea of natural selection as a mechanism for evolution. In his book "On the Origin of Species," published in 1859, Darwin presented his theory of evolution through natural selection, which states that species evolve over time through the process of variation, inheritance, and differential survival and reproduction. This groundbreaking idea revolutionized the field of biology and has since become the foundation of modern evolutionary theory.

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  • 6. 

    Which of the following people were instrumental in early thought in evolutionary thought?

    • A.

      Pavlov, Lamarck, Darwin

    • B.

      Hutton, Watson, and Darwin

    • C.

      Lyell, Lamarck and Darwin

    • D.

      Pasteur Wallace and Darwin

    • E.

      Darwin, Watson, Crick

    Correct Answer
    C. Lyell, Lamarck and Darwin
    Explanation
    Lyell, Lamarck, and Darwin were instrumental in early thought in evolutionary thought. Charles Lyell was a geologist who proposed the idea of uniformitarianism, which suggested that the Earth's geological processes occurred gradually over long periods of time. Jean-Baptiste Lamarck was a biologist who proposed the theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics, suggesting that traits acquired during an organism's lifetime could be passed on to future generations. Charles Darwin is well-known for his theory of natural selection and his book "On the Origin of Species," which presented evidence for evolution. Together, these three individuals made significant contributions to the development of evolutionary thought.

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  • 7. 

    Both Lamarck and Darwin proposed mechanisms to explain how evolution occurs. What was different about these mechanisms?

    • A.

      Darwin published his beliefs about genetic changes in a species. Lamarck did not publish.

    • B.

      Darwin focused on the genetic changes in a species. Lamarck believed that species were unchanged.

    • C.

      Darwin focused on genetic changes based on physical fitness. Lamarck focused on genetic changes based on behaviors.

    • D.

      Lamarck focused on genetic changes in an individual. Darwin focused on genetic changes in a population.

    • E.

      Darwin focused on genetic changes as a function of time. Lamarck focused on genetic changes as a function of distance.

    Correct Answer
    D. Lamarck focused on genetic changes in an individual. Darwin focused on genetic changes in a population.
    Explanation
    Lamarck believed that genetic changes occurred in an individual organism during its lifetime and that these acquired traits could be passed on to its offspring. In contrast, Darwin focused on genetic changes occurring in a population over time through the process of natural selection. He proposed that individuals with traits that were advantageous for their environment were more likely to survive and reproduce, passing on those traits to future generations. Therefore, Lamarck's mechanism of evolution was based on individual organisms, while Darwin's mechanism was based on populations.

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  • 8. 

    Which of the following did Darwin observe during his time in the Galapagos Islands?

    • A.

      Fossils of extinct species of reptiles and lizards

    • B.

      Penguins that used their wings for paddles while swimming

    • C.

      The presence of vestigial organs in human anatomy

    • D.

      Snakes with evidence of vestigial legs

    • E.

      Different finch populations that appeared closely related

    Correct Answer
    E. Different finch populations that appeared closely related
    Explanation
    During his time in the Galapagos Islands, Darwin observed different finch populations that appeared closely related. This observation led him to develop his theory of evolution by natural selection, as he noticed that these finches had adapted to different ecological niches on the islands, resulting in variations in their beak shapes and sizes. This provided evidence for the concept of adaptive radiation, where a single ancestral species gives rise to multiple species with different adaptations to their environments.

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  • 9. 

    Why was credit for the discovery of natural selection given to Charles Darwin and not Alfred Wallace?

    • A.

      Darwin presented his findings to a more prestigious society than Wallace did.

    • B.

      Darwin published a book in addition to presenting his paper on natural selection.

    • C.

      Darwin published his paper before Wallace

    • D.

      Darwin discovered natural selection many years before Wallace did.

    • E.

      Darwin published his discovery and Wallace did not.

    Correct Answer
    B. Darwin published a book in addition to presenting his paper on natural selection.
    Explanation
    The credit for the discovery of natural selection was given to Charles Darwin and not Alfred Wallace because Darwin not only presented his paper on natural selection but also published a book on the subject. This book, titled "On the Origin of Species," provided a comprehensive and detailed explanation of Darwin's theory, which greatly contributed to its acceptance and recognition. In contrast, while Wallace also presented his own ideas on natural selection, he did not publish a book that extensively elaborated on his findings. Therefore, Darwin's book played a crucial role in establishing his priority and receiving credit for the discovery.

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  • 10. 

    Which postulate of natural selection is best supported by the work of Gregor Mendel?

    • A.

      Individuals in a population vary.

    • B.

      Some individuals fail to survive and reproduce.

    • C.

      Traits are passed from parent to offspring.

    • D.

      Survival and reproduction are not determined by chance.

    Correct Answer
    C. Traits are passed from parent to offspring.
    Explanation
    The work of Gregor Mendel, known as the father of modern genetics, supports the postulate that traits are passed from parent to offspring. Mendel's experiments with pea plants showed that certain traits, such as flower color or seed shape, were inherited in a predictable manner. He discovered that traits are determined by discrete units called genes, which are passed down from parents to their offspring. This supports the idea that the variation in traits observed in a population is due to the inheritance of genetic information from one generation to the next.

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  • 11. 

    According to Darwin's natural selection, what is the smallest unit of evolution?

    • A.

      Gene

    • B.

      Life

    • C.

      Allele

    • D.

      Population

    • E.

      Species

    • F.

      Individual

    Correct Answer
    D. Population
    Explanation
    According to Darwin's natural selection, the smallest unit of evolution is a population. This is because evolution occurs over generations within a population, where genetic variations and traits can become more or less common through natural selection. Individuals within a population may have different traits, but it is the collective changes in the population's gene pool that drive evolution. Therefore, the population as a whole is the fundamental unit of evolution.

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  • 12. 

    All of the following ideas are incorporated into the evolutionary concept EXCEPT __________.

    • A.

      Physical changes in an organism while it is living can be passed on to the next generation

    • B.

      Individual members of a population differ from one another

    • C.

      Two different species can form a hybrid

    • D.

      Traits evolve to adapt to the environment

    • E.

      Natural selection works on the likelihood of reproduction

    Correct Answer
    A. Physical changes in an organism while it is living can be passed on to the next generation
    Explanation
    The correct answer is "physical changes in an organism while it is living can be passed on to the next generation." This statement contradicts the principle of inheritance in evolutionary biology, which states that only genetic information can be passed on from one generation to the next. Physical changes that occur during an organism's lifetime, such as acquired traits, are not inherited by offspring.

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  • 13. 

    What conclusion can you make from comparing the bones in a bird wing, a bat wing, and a pterodactyl wing?

    • A.

      These organisms evolved at the same time

    • B.

      The bird and bat evolved from the pterodactyl.

    • C.

      Flight is a good adaptation for land-dwelling organisms.

    • D.

      These organisms evolved in a similar environment.

    • E.

      These organisms evolved in the same place.

    • F.

      These organisms share a common ancestor with each other.

    Correct Answer
    F. These organisms share a common ancestor with each other.
    Explanation
    The conclusion that can be made from comparing the bones in a bird wing, a bat wing, and a pterodactyl wing is that these organisms share a common ancestor with each other. The similarity in the structure of their wings suggests that they all evolved from a common ancestor that had a similar wing structure. This common ancestor likely had a wing structure that was adapted for flight, and over time, each species adapted their wings to suit their specific needs and environments.

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  • 14. 

    Which of the following can be used to show the gradual evolution of aquatic mammals from land-dwelling mammals?

    • A.

      Comparative anatomy

    • B.

      Fossils

    • C.

      Genetics

    • D.

      Biochemistry

    • E.

      Embryology

    Correct Answer
    B. Fossils
    Explanation
    Fossils can be used to show the gradual evolution of aquatic mammals from land-dwelling mammals because they provide physical evidence of past organisms. By studying the fossil record, scientists can trace the anatomical changes and adaptations that occurred over time, revealing the transition from land-dwelling mammals to aquatic mammals. Fossils can provide insights into the development of specialized features such as flippers, streamlined bodies, and adaptations for swimming, which are characteristic of aquatic mammals.

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  • 15. 

    Compare a bird wing to a butterfly wing. What kind of structure does this pair represent?

    • A.

      Analogous structure

    • B.

      Ancestral structure

    • C.

      Evolved structures

    • D.

      Homologous structure

    • E.

      Vestigial structure

    Correct Answer
    A. Analogous structure
    Explanation
    Analogous structures are those that have similar functions but different evolutionary origins. In this case, comparing a bird wing to a butterfly wing, they serve the same purpose of flying but have evolved from different ancestors. Therefore, they represent an analogous structure.

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  • 16. 

    What kind of structure is produced by convergent evolution?

    • A.

      Homologous structures

    • B.

      Ancestral structures

    • C.

      Convergent structures

    • D.

      Analogous structures

    • E.

      Divergent structures

    • F.

      Vestigial structures

    Correct Answer
    D. Analogous structures
    Explanation
    Analogous structures are produced by convergent evolution. Convergent evolution occurs when different species independently evolve similar traits or structures in response to similar environmental pressures. These structures may serve similar functions, but they do not share a common evolutionary origin. Homologous structures, on the other hand, have a common evolutionary origin but may have different functions. Ancestral structures refer to structures inherited from a common ancestor. Divergent structures are the opposite of convergent structures, as they evolve to become different from each other. Vestigial structures are remnants of structures that were functional in ancestral species but are no longer useful in the current species.

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  • 17. 

    Which of the following answers is the most ancient homologous feature of all life?

    • A.

      Sexual reproduction

    • B.

      DNA as genetic material

    • C.

      Four-chambered heart

    • D.

      Mitochondria for energy generation

    • E.

      Membrane-enclosed nucleus

    • F.

      Limbs for locomotion

    Correct Answer
    B. DNA as genetic material
    Explanation
    DNA as genetic material is the most ancient homologous feature of all life because DNA is found in all living organisms and is responsible for carrying and transmitting genetic information. It is essential for reproduction, growth, and development. While other features like sexual reproduction, four-chambered heart, mitochondria, membrane-enclosed nucleus, and limbs for locomotion may have evolved later in different organisms, DNA as genetic material has been present since the earliest forms of life on Earth.

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  • 18. 

    A few of your friends are speculating about what humans will look like in the future. They know you're taking a biology class, so they ask you how human evolution will proceed in the next few centuries. How do you answer?

    • A.

      Humans will not evolve because we are no longer subject to natural selection. Survival is no longer a struggle for us.

    • B.

      The human lifespan will get longer and longer until it is common for us to live past age 100.

    • C.

      Organs that are no longer useful to us will continue to shrink until they disappear.

    • D.

      Any traits that result in a human having more children will be increased in the population.

    • E.

      Humans will become smarter, but weaker, as our lifestyle shifts away from physical labor and more toward computers and technology

    Correct Answer
    D. Any traits that result in a human having more children will be increased in the population.
    Explanation
    This answer suggests that the traits that lead to humans having more children will be favored and become more common in the population. This is in line with the concept of natural selection, where individuals with advantageous traits are more likely to survive and reproduce, passing on those traits to future generations. It implies that human evolution will continue based on reproductive success rather than survival struggles.

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  • 19. 

    In what way did the guppies in Trinidad help to provide evidence for evolution?

    • A.

      Guppies were larger in the absence of prey.

    • B.

      Guppies were mating based on color.

    • C.

      Guppies were more colorful in the absence of predators.

    • D.

      Guppies were larger in the absence of predators.

    • E.

      Guppies were mating based on size.

    Correct Answer
    C. Guppies were more colorful in the absence of predators.
    Explanation
    The guppies in Trinidad provided evidence for evolution by showing that their coloration changed in response to the presence or absence of predators. When predators were absent, the guppies became more colorful, which suggests that this trait helped them attract mates and increase their chances of reproductive success. This change in coloration over time supports the idea that natural selection plays a role in shaping the characteristics of a population, leading to evolutionary changes.

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  • 20. 

    Which postulate of natural selection is deliberately enforced by dog breeders using artificial selection?

    • A.

      Individuals in a population vary.

    • B.

      Traits are passed from parent to offspring.

    • C.

      Some individuals fail to survive and reproduce.

    • D.

      Survival and reproduction are not determined by chance.

    Correct Answer
    D. Survival and reproduction are not determined by chance.
    Explanation
    Dog breeders using artificial selection deliberately enforce the postulate of natural selection that survival and reproduction are not determined by chance. They carefully select which dogs to breed based on specific traits they want to pass on to the offspring, such as size, color, temperament, or working ability. By controlling the breeding process, they increase the chances of certain traits being inherited by the next generation. This intentional selection reduces the element of chance in determining which individuals survive and reproduce, leading to the desired traits becoming more prevalent in the population over time.

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  • 21. 

    Which of the following correctly describes the evolution of roaches that were resistant to Combat®?

    • A.

      The roach bait acted as a force of natural selection to create mutations that disliked the bait.

    • B.

      The roach bait caused the population to evolve by selecting against roaches that preferred the bait.

    • C.

      The roach bait caused individuals that preferred the bait to evolve a dislike for it.

    • D.

      The roach bait evolved the roaches that liked the bait to become roaches that disliked the bait.

    • E.

      The roach bait made the population of roaches more evolved to dislike the bait.

    Correct Answer
    B. The roach bait caused the population to evolve by selecting against roaches that preferred the bait.
    Explanation
    The roach bait acted as a selective pressure, favoring roaches that did not prefer the bait. Over time, this led to the evolution of a population of roaches that were resistant to the bait.

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  • 22. 

    What type of structure is the human tailbone?

    • A.

      Convergent structure

    • B.

      Vestigial structure

    • C.

      Homologous structure

    • D.

      Analogous structure

    • E.

      Bilateral structure

    Correct Answer
    B. Vestigial structure
    Explanation
    The human tailbone, also known as the coccyx, is considered a vestigial structure. This means that it is a remnant of a structure that was more functional in our evolutionary ancestors but has lost its original function in humans. The tailbone is believed to be a leftover from when our ancestors had tails, which were used for balance and mobility. In humans, the tailbone has no functional purpose and is considered a vestige of our evolutionary past.

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  • 23. 

    The evolution of different beak sizes on finches in the Galapagos Islands is most similar to which of the following evolutionary events?

    • A.

      Development of antibiotic resistance by a bacterial infection in a patient

    • B.

      Change in leg length of transplanted Anole lizards

    • C.

      Loss of guppy color in the presence of a predator

    • D.

      Avoidance of Combat® baits by Florida roaches

    • E.

      Creation of the domesticated dog from wolves

    Correct Answer
    B. Change in leg length of transplanted Anole lizards
    Explanation
    The evolution of different beak sizes on finches in the Galapagos Islands is most similar to the change in leg length of transplanted Anole lizards. Both examples involve a change in a physical trait in a population over time. In both cases, the change in the trait is driven by natural selection and adaptation to the environment. This process is known as evolutionary divergence, where different populations of a species develop distinct traits due to different selective pressures.

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  • 24. 

    Which of the following is necessary for evolution to occur?

    • A.

      Variation must exist.

    • B.

      Adaptation to the environment must occur.

    • C.

      Change must occur to the environment.

    • D.

      Population genetics must change.

    • E.

      Artificial selection must occur.

    Correct Answer
    A. Variation must exist.
    Explanation
    Variation must exist for evolution to occur because it provides the raw material for natural selection to act upon. Without variation, there would be no genetic differences among individuals in a population, and therefore no potential for certain traits to be favored or disfavored by the environment. Variation allows for the possibility of individuals with advantageous traits to survive and reproduce, leading to the gradual accumulation of these traits in a population over time.

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  • Mar 20, 2023
    Quiz Edited by
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  • Dec 07, 2013
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