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Evolution Trivia Quiz

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This old planet

Evolution, the story of life on our planet, began not long after the Earth itself was formed — at least, not long in geological terms. About how long ago did the Earth form?



In the 1920s, biologists Oparin and Haldane proposed that the atmosphere of the young Earth, rich in methane and ammonia but poor in oxygen, provided the right conditions for life to take hold. Just one problem with that, however:

Family ties

Which of the following types of organism has the closest evolutionary relationship to human beings?

Late arrival

Which major plant group was the last to appear in the evolutionary record?

Sticky situation

At the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, petroleum seeps out of the earth to form tar pools. In ancient times, many animals blundered into the tar and were trapped and died, only to be preserved by the tar for study by modern scientists. Which spectacular fossil type is common at La Brea?


Every dog has his theory

In the 1860s, following the publication Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species and the birth of a new era in biology, brilliant English scientist Thomas Huxley was known as “Darwin’s bulldog”. Why?

Mitchondria doing what they do

Storing genetic information is the function of DNA, most of which is found in the chromosomes of the cell nucleus. Some DNA is also found outside the cell nucleus in the mitochondria, small rod-shaped bodies found in most cells of the body. What is the main function of mitochondria?

Between one thing and another

Some famous fossils are known as “transitional forms”: they exhibit some features like those of a later group while retaining features of an ancestral one. One such fossil, Tiktaalik, was discovered in northern Canada in 2004. What transition does Tiktaalik represent?


But what about the human eye?

It might seem that complex structures like the eye, with its intricate interrelated parts, each necessary to the whole, simply could not have arisen by a series of random mutations. According to scientists who have studied the matter, however:

Potholes on the road of life

The suffering of a single animal may evoke a powerful empathetic response in our own kind. Think, then, on those occasions in Earth’s history when most entire species were obliterated in a short time. Which of the following mass extinction events was the most destructive?

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