Biology 20 Phylogenies & the History of Life MCQ


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Photo depicts Earth from space.
This NASA image is a composite of several satellite-based views of Earth. To make the whole-Earth image, NASA scientists combine observations of different parts of the planet. (credit: NASA/GSFC/NOAA/USGS)

Viewed from space, Earth offers no clues about the diversity of life forms that reside there. The first forms of life on Earth are thought to have been microorganisms that existed for billions of years in the ocean before plants and animals appeared. The mammals, birds, and flowers so familiar to us are all relatively recent, originating 130 to 200 million years ago. Humans have inhabited this planet for only the last 2.5 million years, and only in the last 200,000 years have humans started looking like we do today.

Unit 4. Evolutionary Processes

Chapter 20: Phylogenies and the History of Life MCQ Multiple Choices Questions Quiz Test Bank

20.1 Organizing Life on Earth

20.2 Determining Evolutionary Relationships

20.3 Perspectives on the Phylogenetic Tree

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Sample Questions from the Biology 20 Phylogenies & the History of Life MCQ Quiz

Question: Which statement about analogies is correct?


They occur only as errors.

They are synonymous with homologous traits.

They are derived by similar environmental constraints.

They are a form of mutation.

Question: Particles that transfer genetic material from one species to another, especially in marine prokaryotes:


horizontal gene transfer

lateral gene transfer

genome fusion device

gene transfer agents

Question: Why do scientists apply the concept of maximum parsimony?


to decipher accurate phylogenies

to eliminate analogous traits

to identify mutations in DNA codes

to locate homoplasies

Question: What does the trunk of the classic phylogenetic tree represent?


single common ancestor

pool of ancestral organisms

new species

old species

Question: Which statement about the taxonomic classification system is correct?


There are more domains than kingdoms.

Kingdoms are the top category of classification.

Classes are divisions of orders.

Subspecies are the most specific category of classification.

Question: On a phylogenetic tree, which term refers to lineages that diverged from the same place?


sister taxa

basal taxa

rooted taxa

dichotomous taxa

Question: What do scientists in the field of systematics accomplish?


discover new fossil sites

organize and classify organisms

name new species

communicate among field biologists

Question: The transfer of genes by a mechanism not involving asexual reproduction is called:



web of life

horizontal gene transfer

gene fusion

Question: What is used to determine phylogeny?




evolutionary history

organisms on earth

Question: What is true about organisms that are a part of the same clade?


They all share the same basic characteristics.

They evolved from a shared ancestor.

They usually fall into the same classification taxa.

They have identical phylogenies.

Question: What do scientists use to apply cladistics?


homologous traits


analogous traits

monophyletic groups

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