Biology of the Vertebrates Study Questions
Note: These study questions are not necessarily comprehensive, nor are they meant to be. They are meant to supplement your lecture notes as you review them, and alert you to the ways in which you should be thinking about the material, and formulate questions to test yourself. Exams will NOT be limited to the material highlighted in these questions, or their formats, so your lecture notes should be your primary reference.
1. List and describe 3 applications for the study of vertebrate biology, and be sure to provide examples.
2. Which major taxonomic group of vertebrates is the most speciose? The least? What might account for these differences in numbers of species? Roughly what fraction of animals do vertebrates comprise?
3. What is “cladistics”? Define “monophyly,” and describe how this differs from “paraphyly.”
4. Define “synapomorphy” and “plesiomorphy.” Explain how a synapomorphy at one level can be plesiomorphic at another (or vice-versa). Briefly explain how it is that we (humans) are considered ‘bony fish’.
5. Where do vertebrates fit in the larger scheme of organisms?
1. Describe 3 major evolutionary innovations, or trends, in the vertebrate body plan.
2. List, and briefly describe, each of the major organ systems shared by vertebrates.
3. What are ‘homologous’ bones? In which group (and roughly when in geologic time) does bone appear in the fossil record? What is bone comprised of, and how does it differ from cartilage?
4. Describe the 2 major regions of the vertebrate skeletal system (what features does each contain). Describe the 3 major embryological regions of the skull, and what what each gives rise to.
5. How does the tetrapod vertebral column differ from the ancestral condition (both in its morphology and capacity for movement).
6. Briefly explain the major transitions in the appendicular skeleton from sharks, to bony fish, to lobe-finned fish, and to terrestrial tetrapods.
7. In ancestral vertebrates, such as bony fish, axial muscles are divided into _________. What are the major regions of axial musculature called? With which features are the hypobranchial muscles associated?
1. What is ‘plate tectonics’ and why does it matter for vertebrate evolution? Define ‘continental drift’ and ‘subduction,’ and provide examples for each.
2. The first fossil records are from which geologic period? How were most of the continental land masses situated during this time, and what were the environmental conditions like?
3. Describe some key features of Myllokunmingia. When did it evolve, and why this fossil is significant for vertebrate evolution.
4. When did the conodonts evolve, and how do we know?
5. Describe some key features of the ostracoderms; when did they evolve, and roughly when did they go extinct? Which group experienced a major radiation during the Silurian? Some ostracoderms had hypocercal tails, and others hetercercal tails – what does this mean? Which group is charaxterized as having brain structures similar to lampreys?
6. Describe some similarities and differences in morphology and biology between the 2 living jawless vertebrates.
7. List 6 main gnathostome characteristics. Roughly when did jaws evolve? Briefly explain Mallatt’s hypothesis regarding the evolution of jaws from jawless, filter-feeding ancestors.
8. List the 4 main gnathostome groups, present between the Silurian and Devonian. Describe some of the major characteristics of placoderms, and how they differ from, say, the ostracoderms.
1. Name and describe the two major extant clades of cartilaginous fishes. How do these differ from one-another (particularly in terms of skull morphology).
2. How do modern sharks differ from their ancestral counterparts (give at least 3 major characteristics)? When in geologic time did cartilaginous fishes arise?
3. Describe the two major shark radiations. Roughly when did each occur, and how did sharks from the second wave differ from those from the first?
4. List and briefly describe some important characteristics of modern sharks, in terms of their: (a) morphology (general anatomy, shape, size range), (b) physiology (e.g., osmopregulation), and (c) reproductive biology (e.g., fertilization; oviparity/viviparity).
5. What proportion of elasmobranchs are oviparous? Describe two types of viviparous eggs.
6. From video: Describe 2 types of symbiotic relationships between sharks and other fish. True or false: sharks must keep swimming to remain alive. True or false: hammerheads actually do use their heads to bash prey. What is the largest species of shark, and what does it feed on?
1. List the 3 major groups of bony fishes in the order in which they appear in the fossil record.
2. Which of the above groups do the Teleostomes comprise? Give 2 major physical characteristics shared by all Teleostomes.
3. Give 2 physical characteristics of Acanthodians, different from the ones you gave in #2 above. When did Osteichthyes appear in the fossil record? When did they undergo their most dramatic radiation?
4. What happened to all the other jawed and jawless vertebrate lineages during the radiation of the sarcopterygians?
5. Name 2 important representatives of lobe-finned fishes, and describe the general habitats they inhabit, as well as their geographic distributions.
6. Of the South American, African, and Australian lineages of lungfish, which most closely resembles the ancestral Devonian form, and what about them makes this so? How do these 3 groups differ in terms of their reliance on air-breathing?
7. Why were lungs advantageous for these lineages, and from which structure(s) were they derived?
8. Describe 2 important adaptations of lung fish; one relating to feeding, and the other to tolerating drought.
9. When was the first living coelacanth specimen discovered, and which two people are most noted for describing it? Where was it discovered? Where else have living specimens been found since? Describe an anomalous feature of coelacanth breeding biology.
10. Which group of bony fishes has experienced the largest radiation? Describe 2 (of 4 presented in lecture) ancestral, and 1 (of 2 presented) derived features of extinct Paleoniscids. By the way, how is it possible for a lineage to posses both ancestral AND derived features?
11. List the major Actinopterygian lineages (common names are fine), in order from most ancestral to most derived, along with al least one defining characteristic for each lineage.
12. Describe 2 body forms that 3 actinopterygian radiations (paleoniscids, neopterygians, and teleosts) have converged upon.
13. Briefly describe ancestral and derived conditions of bony fish jaw structures, with examples of groups that possess them, in terms of degree of upper jaw fusion with skull and mobility. What are some advantages to the derived condition?
14. In which of 2 African Rift Valley lakes (Victoria or Tanganyika) have cichlids diversified in terms of BOTH jaw structure and body shape? Of what feeding type is the ancestral cichlid presumed to be?
15. What are “species flocks”? How did was speciation initiated in these species flocks (divergence in feeding morphology, or evolution of color pattern differences through sexual selection)?
1. Describe 3 features (of several discussed in lecture) that different lineages of deep sea fishes have converged upon, and explain their adaptive significance (i.e., how they are important to the organism’s fitness; what types of pressures might have selected for them). In what sense do deep sea fishes provide a counter-example to the African cichlids?
2. What are photophores, and what functions do they serve for the fish?
3. Describe some differences in gill structure and function among lampreys, sharks, and teleosts, in terms of (a) their support structures (or lack thereof), and (b) how they are aerated (i.e., water flow).
4. If you took 1107 Lab, you learned what an operculum is, but you probably didn’t learn what it does (certainly true, if you took it from me…). Now that you know so much more about it, describe its role in teleost respiration.
5. Explain the “two pump” system of teleost respiration; what are the pumps, and how do they work? What were the adaptive consequences of this innovation?
6. Describe the counter-current exchange mechanism of gill function; how does it work and what makes it so efficient?
7. What is a “swim bladder” and which structure is it derived from? What did it initial evolve for, and what was it secondarily co-opted for in some fish?
8. Describe the two types of swimbladders, and indicate which is ancestral and which is derived, and briefly explain how each functions.
9. In which types of habitats is schooling behavior more prevalent? How do fish monitor the movements of others?
10. List 2 main advantages to schooling behavior, and for each provide 1-2 lines of reasoning, complete with examples form the lecture, videos, or text. Explain the composition and significance of single- and multi-species schooling groups.
1. Which of the 2 main fertilization strategies is characteristic of most fish? Explain some differences between group and pair spawners, particularly in terms of the relative costs and benefits (i.e., trade-offs) associated with each.
2. Give an example of a group characterized by internal fertilization, and describe the relevant structure(s) involved.
3. Name 2 types of eggs laid by fish, and describe them in terms of where they are laid, and their advantages and disadvantages. Provide an example for each.
4. Explain the resource defense mating system. Describe the resource defense mating system of three-spine stickleback, in terms of what constitutes the limited resource, what males fight for, and what kinds of evolutionary implications this has for the physical features of males.
5. Explain the difference between parental care-givers and cuckolders in bluegill sunfish, and when they mature relative to females. What are the two types of cuckolders, and what is the difference between them?
6. What is a “lek,’ and provide an example from the lecture, videos, or text. Describe the trade-off (or evolutionary cost/benefit) in some species that results from strong sexual selection on male coloration.
7. List some mating strategies characteristics of African cichlid species.
8. Describe sex change in the blue-headed wrasse, in terms of females, primary males, and secondary males. How long does it take to go from female to male?
9. Why is there generally an advantage to being male, and under which circumstances are primary males favored over secondary, and vice-versa? Why does investment in sperm production – in terms of GSI - decrease terminal phase, as opposed to initial phase, males?
1. What is a “tetrapod”? When did tetrapods “invade” land, and how long did this evolutionary invasion last for?
2. What is “Pangaea”? When did it form? How, and why, was the climate different in northern continents, such as Greenland where some of the most important early tetrapod fossils were found?
3. By when were the major lineages leading to amphibians, and also to reptiles & mammals established, and what are these two early clades called? 4. Basically which types of trees and invertebrates formed the food chain for Devonian tetrapods?
5. Eusthenopteron was considered a close relative of tetrapods; what is it that makes it more a “fish with tetrapod features,” rather than a tetrapod with fish features”?
6. In the 1990s Panderichthys became the “favored” tetrapod ancestor; what made this specimen more tetrapod-like?
7. When and where was Tiktaalik discovered? In what ways is this specimen more tetrapod-like than Panderichthys, but still a true fish-tetrapod intermediate?
8. Arrange the following tetrapods and ancestors in order from ancestral to derived, and describe trends in terms of body form, rib development, tail characteristics, frontal, limb development, and frontal bone development.
9. What is the significance of the finding that Acanthostega and Ichthyostega have 8 toes? What are early tetrapod limbs presumed to have evolved for, anyways?
10. To which two major tetrapod groups do Eogyrinus and Chroniosuchus correspond to? What are Carboiniferous tetrapods considered “non-amniote tetrapods” Rger than “amphibians”? When did the Carboniferous tetrapods become extinct?
11. What makes Crassigyrinus particularly interesting from an evolutionary standpoint? What are the Microsaurs, and which modern groups are they most similar to?
12. What did these early tetrapods eat?
13. What was the most important clade of the Batrachomorpha, and why? Name your favorite member of this clade.
1. Match the following groups with their respective types of fertilization: most frogs, most salamanders, and caecelians: 1) internal fertilization, no copulatory organ; internal fertilization w/ copulatory organ, external fertilization.
2. List the 4 basic modes of salamander reproduction.
3. What is parental care? Which groups of Lissamphibians exhibit parental care? How does parental care differ between these groups?
4. Provide an example for an example of an exception for each of the following rules: 1) Most salamanders have internal fertilization. 2) Most frogs have external fertilization.
5. What kind of eggs/developmental program do most lungless salamanders have?
6. Are reproductive modes more diverse in anurans, or salamanders? Explain. What is the ancestral mode of reproduction in frogs?
7. Describe a few different egg deposition strategies in frogs.
8. Explain why males of many amphibians posses traits that make them more conspicuous.
9. Describe the 3 different kinds of mating systems of salamanders, and provide an example for each. Which mating system is characteristic of the most sexually dimorphic of all salamanders?
10. Describe “explosive breeding seasons” and “scramble competition,” and indicate which groups of amphibians experience these. Where possible, provide examples. What is an important factor in determining mating success?
11. Explain what a “resource-defense mating system” is, and which groups (and species) exhibit it. How does this differ from “non-resource based” systems? Give an example of such a system, and explain how it works.
1. By the Devonian, which two major tetrapod clades were established? Explain which group the Seymouriamorphs fall under, and list a few of their characteristics. What were the Diadectomorphs?
2. When did the first amniotes likely arise? When does the first evidence of the amniotic egg appear? Which 3 distinct lines of amniotes were established by the end of the Carboniferous? What were their defining characteristics? Which groups are ultimately derived from each of these lines? 3. Were anapsids more diverse in the Carboniferous, or in the Cenozoic? What type of anapsid currently exists?
4. When did diapsids first appear, and what were they like? Name 2 major clades of diapsids, and provide 3 synapomorphies for each.
5. How do Tuataras differ from other lepidosaurs? What are the three major groups of squamates? Does the term “lizard” refer to a monophyletic grouping? Why/why not?
6. What mode of fertilization do all squamates have, and name a relevant structure. Describe an advantage of this form of fertilization. (Note: this form of fertilization may result in multiple paternity; what other mode of fertilization (in which other group) may also result in multiple paternity?).
7. What is an “amniotic egg”? List its basic components. Is it a synapomorphy of squamates? Why/why not?
8. Explain some differences in egg shell characteristics among crocodilians, turtles and Lepidosaurs, in terms permeability of shell to water and albumin reserves. What is similar among them?
9. How does water uptake affect embryonic mass in some groups? Is a “soft-shelled” turtle a turtle that lays soft-shelled eggs, or a turtle that has a soft shell?
10. In which kinds of environments are hard vs. soft-shelled eggs laid by lizards and snakes? Why? What implications does this have for offspring fitness?
11. Explain how water uptake, temperature, and the amount of yolk used up by the embryo are related in snapping turtles.
12. Why don’t all reptiles lay rigid-shelled eggs that can survive dry conditions? What are “parchment-shelled” eggs, and where might you find them?
13. What is temperature-dependent sex determination, which groups does it occur in, and what temperatures (hot/cold) determine which sex (male/female) in each group?
14. List 4 major mating systems exhibited by squamates, and provide an example for each. Which type(s) of mating systems are more characteristic of Iguanian lizards?
15. What’s a “dewlap”?
16. Explain the difference between “female-defense” and “resource-defense” mating systems in lizards, and give an example of a group that exhibits the former. In which other groups have we seen these types of mating systems?
17. In which group of lizards has the tongue been freed to evolve functions other than feeding? Explain how has this been facilitated, and give an example of such a function.
18. Describe the typical mating system of scleroglossans.
1. What is the most diverse group of squamates? How do iguanas feed?
2. Reduction or loss of limbs is a common evolutionary theme in squamates. Which is the most diverse group of limbless squamates? Which characteristic of the jaws has lead to this group’s great success?
3. Give an example of how body forms of lizards are correlated with variation in ecology. Give an example of convergent evolution in lizards.
4. Describe some adaptations for arboreality in chameleons.
5. How does body size relate to general diet in lizards? Explain why Monitor lizard feeding behavior is unusual.
6. Explain how surface-active and fossorial legless forms differ in other aspects of morphology.
7. Which are the “most specialized burrowing legless reptiles”? What about them makes them so?
8. From which clade of squamates are snakes derived? What do snakes use their tongues for? What implications does the elongate body of snakes have for other organs?
9. Describe some adaptations of snakes for feeding on relatively large objects, such as eggs… and goats…. How do generalized terrestrial snakes tend to kill their prey? What kinds of physical features do active terrestrial foragers tend to possess? What about highly arboreal forms? What about vipers?
10. Name and briefly explain 5 types of snake locomotion.
1. What is the fundamental difference between ectothermy and endothermy? Why are the terms “cold” vs. “warm” blooded inaccurate? 2. What types of physiological and behavioral processes of are affected by variation in body temperature in reptiles? Give examples for each case.
3. What is (roughly) and explain the relevance of the “preferred body temperature” of desert iguanas.
4. What kinds of environmental variables affect a lizard’s body temperature? Why is evaporative cooling and water uptake more important in amphibians than in reptiles? What exactly limits an amphibian’s ability to warm up by basking in the sun?
5. Explain how high Andean lizards and frogs respond differently to temperature.
6. Explain how marine iguanas deal with the temperature extremes they face.
7. Describe several ways in which ectotherms deal with very cold temperatures. Explain the difference between “freeze-tolerance” and “super-cooling” and give examples of species or groups that engage in each.
8. What is a “thermo-conformer”? What does it mean to be “partially endothermic”? What is “gigantothermy”, and give an example of a group that exhibits this.
9. Explain the difference between aerobic and anaerobic metabolism. Which do ectotherms make use of? Describe the advantages and disadvantages of each.
10. Describe some differences between “active foragers” and “sit and wait” predators, and give an example for each.
11. Explain how energy allocation differs between ectotherms and endotherms. Which has a higher conversion efficiency? What types of adaptations of ectotherms help improve their energy efficiency? What are the ecological consequences of ectotherms’ low metabolic rate and energy economy?
1. Briefly describe the morphological conditions of each of the following groups: Anapsida, Synapsida, and Diapsida. Which exhibits what is apparently the ancestral skull condition?
2. What are the major parts of the turtle shell? Is the shell a synapomorphy? What type of tissue is the shell comprised of?
3. What is unique about the position of the pelvic and pectoral girdles, and what implications does this have for mobility? What are some other turtle synapomorphies?
4. Describe some advantages and disadvantages regarding the shell in turtles.
5. What are the two major groups of turtle families, and how are they distinguished?
6. How do turtles breathe if their ribs are fused to the shell?
1. How do terrestrial turtles tend to differ from aquatic forms?
2. How do turtles care for their offspring? Describe temperature-based sex determination in turtles.
3. What about their life history makes turtles so susceptible to population declines?
4. Describe 5 synapomorphies of the Archosauria.
5. What is a synapomorphy of the Crurotarsi? Where are crocodilians located relative to dinosaurs on the phylogeny? Which EXTANT group is most closely-related to crocodilians?
6. Describe 2 crocodilian synapomorphies.
1. How modern forms differ from their fossil predecessors?
2. Discuss a few major morphological and ecological characteristics of each the three crocodilian families.
3. What is peculiar about crocodile skin?
4. What are some semi-aquatic adaptations of crocodilians? What is their ancestral condition, and how do we know? Despite their semi-aquatic adaptations, how well do they move on land?
5. What facilitates their ability to remain submerged for long periods of time?
6. How does the crocodilian heart differ from that of squamates? Briefly describe the shunting mechanism and its functional significance.
7. What do crocodilians and turtles have in common regarding their reproductive biology? How do they differ?
1. What makes it likely “that care of offspring and complex social behavior is the ancestral condition in Archosaurs, and present in most or all”?
2. What is the name of the clade sister to the Crurotarsi?
3. Describe 2 major trends in Ornithodirans.
4. What is the sister group to the pterosaurs? What are two major pterosaur synapomorphies? Were pterosaurs the first vertebrates to gain the ability of powered flight?
5. Describe some of the morphological characteristics related to flight, and collectively, their ecological implications.
6. What are the two main groups of pterosaurs, and how do they differ?
7. What the type of flight, flapping or gliding, were they capable of performing?
8. How do we know that pterosaurs were ecologically diverse?
9. Name the clade sister to Pterosauria. Is this a monophyletic grouping? What is the ancestral condition, bipedalism or quadrupedalism?
10. Describe the major dinosaur synapomorphies we discussed in class. What are the two major groups in Dinosauria? How does the pelvic arrangement differ between these groups?
11. Which lineage (Ornithischia or Saurischia) is the one leading to birds, and why are the common names of these groups misleading? Describe some important features of each group, and provide examples where possible.
1. What are the major saurischian synapomorphies? What are the two main groups within Saurischia? Which is the lineage leading to birds?
2. What are three major characteristics of Sauropodomorpha?
3. What are “gastroliths”?
4. Which features may lend some insight into aspects of their physiology?
5. What evidence is there to suggest that some sauropods exhibited social behavior?
6. What are the major theropod synapomorphies? Name three major groups of theropods.
7. How do we know that birds evolved form reptiles?
1. From which dinosaur lineage did Aves evolve? What are six reptilian characteristics possessed by birds?
2. Briefly describe the significance of the fossil Archaeopteryx in the context of the evolutionary history of birds.
3. List several (we discussed around 13) characteristics common to modern birds, Archaeopteryx, and dinosaurs.
4. List some important features of birds which distinguish them from archaeopteryx and non-avian dinosaurs (we discussed around 4). What do these modifications appear to be related to?
5. There is some controversy regarding the dinosaur origin of birds; describe what these arguments are (we discussed 3), and what evidence exists to counter these arguments. In doing so, describe the Chinese fossils we discussed in class (four), and their significance in the context of the debate.
6. What came first, feathers, flight, or dinosaurs? Describe the evolutionary relationship between feathers and flight in birds. Are feathers a synapomorphy for birds? Explain.
7. Briefly describe each of the two traditional competing theories for how flight might have evolved in birds.
8. Describe how WAIR formulates an alternative hypothesis, how it has been (or rather, is being) tested. What does WAIR specifically demonstrate?
1. What are the two major lineages of birds? From which did modern birds (Neornithes) arise?
2. Describe how some physical features of “modern birds” differ from some of their early predecessors.
3. When did most “modern bird” lineages diversify? Describe a few lineages from this period. When did most modern orders of birds arise? How about many of the modern genera?
4. Why are birds considered the most successful flying vertebrates?
5. Why is maximizing feeding efficiency so crucial for birds? (Think about their metabolic rates & primary mode of locomotion)
6. What does high species diversity in birds appear to be related to? Describe 3 main sources of feeding diversity in birds.
7. Bird beaks are highly adaptable, and have served as the poster child of evolution by natural selection, based on vast amounts of work conducted on Darwin’s finches. Briefly describe what this work has taught us.
8. Describe 5 factors that influence bill shape in birds.
9. Describe 3 major types of food processing techniques in birds, and provide examples of each.
10. What good is a bendable lower jaw?
11. Describe 2 “unusual” food use behaviors in birds, and which groups typically perform them.
1. What are the 3 main groups of Neornithes? Which one has diversified most recently, and contains the larges number of species?
2. What kinds of “evolutionary commitments” influence avian mating systems (we discussed 5)?
3. These mating systems are defined by pairbonds, which are…?
4. What are the 2 MAIN types of social/mating systems exhibited by birds? Proceed to describe the characteristics of each one, using examples of particular birds (or groups of birds) whenever possible. Which is the most rare condition among birds? How about the most common?
5. Monogamy in most birds is not strictly “monogamous.” When is monogamy NOT monogamous, and when might this occur?
6. What is the most important factor for dictating avian mating systems? Describe the differences between altricial vs. precocial offspring. How does precocial vs. altricial condition of offspring relate to the type of mating system exhibited by the parents?
7. What influences the form of polygamous mating systems? What factors underlie the differences between male & female interests in reproduction (we discussed 5)?
8. Why are males more likely to desert a reproductive alliance than females? What makes parental care such an important investment; i.e., what are the potential costs (we discussed 3)?
9. Briefly describe the polygamy threshold model. Conceptually, what does it represent? Is it better to be polygamous in a higher quality habitat, or monogamous in a lower quality habitat? Explain.
10. What limits clutch size (= number of eggs laid in a given reproductive bout) in birds?
11. Describe the characteristics of the cleidoic shell; i.e., what’s it made of, what functions does it serve, and what are the advantages.
12. Describe some adaptive aspects of egg shape and color variability. What is the general relationship between number of eggs laid, and the size of the eggs?
13. Why do females get to be so choosy about males and nest structures?
1. What’s the difference between a synapomorphy and a trend?
2. Describe 5 important trends in the Synapsida?
3. Are “pelycosaurs” a type of dinosaur? Why or why not?
4. Describe 4 major [skeletal] features mammals that are evident from the fossil record.
5. Define “anisognathy” and “diphyodonty”, and why they are important in the evolution of mammals.
6. Briefly describe how nasal turbinates work, and how they relate to endothermy.
7. Basically, what were early mammals, such as Morganucodon ca. 200 MYA, like?
8. Describe 2 major mammalian synapomorphies.
9. Describe 2 major advantages of mammary glands.
10. Which is the only surviving group of synapsids?
11. What are the 3 major groups of extant mammals? How are monotremes typically distinguished from the other two? Is this a good way of characterizing a group?
12. Describe 5 characteristics of monotremes. What are the 2 major groups within this clade? Give examples of species and their major characteristics.
13. Describe 5 major characteristics of marsupials. Where do they occur? Where are they most diverse? Give examples of some species and their characteristics.
14. Which major evolutionary feature characterizes Eutheria? How diverse is this group?
1. Eutheria is characterized by prolonged retention of offspring. Describe 5 main ways in which this is accomplished.
2. From which amniote membrane did the placenta arise? What exactly does the placenta do?
3. Describe some advantages and disadvantages of eutherian reproduction, particularly with regard to prolonged retention of young.
4. List and briefly describe each of the 4 main groups of eutherians, in terms of their geographic distributions, level of diversity, important morphological, physiological, and/or behavioral attributes, and provide an example or two of each
5. What are the 2 major divisions of primates?
6. List and briefly describe 10 primate characteristics.
7. What’s the difference between an ape and a monkey?
8. What are humans’closest living relative? Now, what does this mean, exactly?
9. How many species are believed to have overlapped during hominid evolution? If, hypothetically, evolution were to have taken place over the course of a calendar year, roughly when would have modern humans (Homo sapiens) appeared on the scene?
1. Who was Lucy?
2. Describe some characteristics of australopithecines (particularly in terms of the feet and pelvis). How do they differ from extant apes and humans, and what are their evolutionary implications?
3. Describe 8 characteristics of Homo neanderthalensis, in comparison to modern humans. How are they related to us?
4. Describe 3 major trends in primate skull evolution.
5. Which of the following has the largest brain: Homo neanderthalis, Australopithecus afarensis, Chimpanzee, or Diego?
6. Explain the costs to brain enlargement.
7. Describe some characteristics of Carnivora, including diversity, distribution, a key synapomorphy, and examples of representative groups/ species.
8. Why do cats have difficulty chewing?
1. Describe some characteristics of the Ungulata, including diversity, distribution, a key synapomorphy, and examples of representative groups/ species.
2. Describe the differences among plantigrade, digitigrade, and unguligrade foot postures, representative mammals possessing each type, and how they affect locomotion.
3. Describe two important mass extinction events, in terms of when they took place, percentage of taxa that were affected, and what might have caused them.
1. Explain what evidence there is to suggest that humans are accelerating the rate of the current extinction event
2. What is the background extinction rate from the fossil record, and what is it from historic time?
3. How many species of each birds, mollusks, and plants have gone extinct in the past 400 years? What percentage of freshwater fish has either gone extinct or is endangered of extinction?
4. List the major threats to vertebrate diversity. What is the single, most important threat? Describe a specific example of habitat loss and over-hunting, and a combination of the two, in terms of their impacts.
5. What is the controversy over climate change about, specifically? What is it not about? What are some implications of a 1-3 degree C increase in global temperature?
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