The midterm will consist of sections that ask you to match concepts, short answer questions, and essays. There will be no multiple choice questions. For short answers ands essays, in addition to the simple “answer,” I also expect you to explain why you give your answer, or why the answer it important in the context of evolutionary biology. Giving relevant examples may also be helpful. Remember, ALL ANSWERS MUST BE IN YOUR OWN WORDS!
Here are some examples of the kinds of questions you should be able to answer. Anything discussed in lecture is fair game, including figures from powerpoints. I encourage you to read the assigned parts of the textbook for relevant background.
1. What is the Malthusian principle? How did this shape Darwin’s thinking?
According to Malthusian theory of population, population increases in a geographical ratio, whereas food supply increases in an arithmetic ratio
Effects: This leads to widespread poverty and starvation. Also leads to disease, high infant mortality, famine, war, and moral restraint.
Malthus’s Essay on Population inspired Darwin’s realization that in all species, only a fraction of those born survive to reproduce, and that the survivors must often be those best equipped to compete for limiting resources. Thus, conflict has been inherent in the idea of natural selection from the start.
2. What is an Aristotelian type? How does this relate to our modern idea of species?
Aristotle developed Platos concept of immutable essenses into the notion that species have fixed properties.
“The Great Chain of Being” this was a try at the development of a kind of classification, or taxonomy. Aristotle was attempting to make sense of living things.
His idea was that all species could be placed in order, from the “lowest” to the “highest” with worms on the bottom and humans on the top. In Aristotle’s view, the universe was ultimately perfect, and that mean that the Chain of being was perfect. Meaning, no empty links in the chain , and no link was represented by more than one species.
If everthing was perfect, According to Aristotle nothing would ever change. Since change would imply imperfection. Thus, the world has no evolving.
3. Is the apparent good fit of organisms to their environments good evidence for evolution?
Darwin proposed that the various descendents of a common ancestor evolve different features because they are adaptive under different “conditions of life”—different habitats or habits. Moreover, the pressure of competition favors the use of different foods or habitats by different species. He believed that no matter how extensively a species has diverged from its ancestor, hereditary variations continue to arise, so that given time, there is no evident limit to the amount of divergence.
4. What are Linné’s most important contributions to systematics?
Father of modern zoological and botanical nomenclature and classification.
Linnaean hierarchy (kingdom, phylum,species…etc)
Rules of Nomenclature
Every species has a unique binomen
Every species is a genus,species,family, etc.
Principle of priority
Significance of type specimens
5. What are some ways to recognize homologous characters?
-homology= the same organ in every variety of form and function (richard owens)
-owens believed that the relation of homology was between individual forms of organisms and a hypothetical archtype that exhibited generalized features. -owens and georgs cuvier had a famous example of homology in their work. They described the similarity among vertebrate, skeletons and organs. Darwin wrote about this in his book, he said that the design of these vertebrate forelimbs is similar even though their function and appearance are different.
-criteria for recognizing homology - similarity of sturcture -similarity of connections - similarity in development - NOT similar in function
6. What is the basis for recognizing groups in cladistics? (you should be