Biology of the Vertebrates Study Questions F2011
Note: These study questions are not comprehensive. 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 and handouts should be your primary reference.
- 1 Lecture 1 (30 August 2011)
- 2 Lecture 2 (1 September 2011)
- 3 Lecture 3 (6 September 2011)
- 4 Lecture 4 (8 September 2011)
- 5 Lecture 5 (13 September 2011)
- 6 Lecture 6 (15 September 2011)
- 7 Lecture 7 (20 September 2011)
- 8 Lecture 8 (22 September 2011)
- 9 Lecture 9 (27 September 2011)
- 10 EXAM 1 (29 September 2011)
- 11 Lecture 10 (4 October 2011)
- 12 Lecture 11 (6 October 2011)
- 13 Lecture 12 (11 October 2011)
- 14 Lecture 13 (13 October 2011)
- 15 Lecture 14 (18 October 2011)
- 16 Lecture 15 (20 October 2010)
- 17 Lecture 16 (25 October 2011)
- 18 Lecture 17 (27 October 2011)
- 19 Lecture 18 (1 November 2011)
- 20 Lecture 19 (8 November 2011)
- 21 Lecture 20 (10 November 2011)
- 22 Lecture 21 (15 November 2011)
- 23 Lecture 22 (17 Novemeber 2011)
- 24 Lecture 23 (29 November 2011)
- 25 Lecture 24 (1 December 2011)
- 26 Lecture 25 (6 December 2011)
- 27 Lecture 26 (8 December 2011)
Lecture 1 (30 August 2011)
1. What are the reasons for studying a particular group of organisms such as vertebrates?
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).
5. List at least four character types used to reconstruct phylogenies. Provide an example of a bad character to use when reconstructing the evolutionary history of an organism.
6. What is the evolutionary significance of Pikaia?
Lecture 2 (1 September 2011)
1. Describe three major evolutionary 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? Provide an example.
4. What is bone comprised of, and how does it differ from cartilage? Provide an example of an animal, or group of animals that lack true bone.br>
4. Describe the two major components of the vertebrate skeletal system. What features does each part contain?
5. Describe the three major embryological regions of the skull, and what each gives rise to. What were each of these regions initially derived from?
6. How does the tetrapod vertebral column differ from the ancestral condition, both in its morphology and capacity for movement?
7. Briefly explain the major transitions in the appendicular skeleton from sharks, to bony fishes, to lobe-finned fishes, and to terrestrial tetrapods.
8. In ancestral vertebrates, such as bony fishes, axial muscles are divided into _________. What are the major regions of axial musculature called? With which features are the hypobranchial muscles associated?
9. What is paedomorphosis? Please provide an example of a paedomorphic vertebrate.
Lecture 3 (6 September 2011)
1. What does the term plate tectonics refer to? Why do plate tectonics matter for vertebrate evolution? Define continental drift'’ and ‘'subduction'’, and provide examples for each.
2. The first fossil evidence of life is 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? Why is this fossil significant when discussing vertebrate evolution?
4. What are conodonts? When did they evolve?
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?
6. Which group of ostacoderms is characterized as having brain structures similar to lampreys?
7. Describe some similarities and differences in morphology and ecology between the two living (extant) jawless vertebrates.
8. List the six main gnathostome (jawed animal) characteristics. Roughly when did jaws evolve? Briefly explain Mallatt’s hypothesis regarding the evolution of jaws from jawless, filter-feeding ancestors.
9. List the four main gnathostome groups present between the Silurian and Devonian. Describe some of the major characteristics of placoderms, and how they differ from the ostracoderms.
Lecture 4 (8 September 2011)
1. Name and describe the two major extant (living/modern) 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 three 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)
(c) reproductive biology (e.g., fertilization; oviparity/viviparity).
5. What proportion of elasmobranchs are oviparous? Describe two types of viviparous eggs.
Lecture 5 (13 September 2011)
1. List the major groups of bony fishes. When do they first appear in the fossil record?
2. Give the three major physical characteristics shared by all Teleostomes. Give at least two physical characteristics shared by all acanthodians.
3. What happened to all the other jawed and jawless vertebrate lineages during the radiation of the sarcopterygians?
4. Name two important representatives of lobe-finned fishes, and describe the general habitats they inhabit. Geographically speaking, where are these lineages distributed?
5. Of the South American, African, and Australian lineages of lungfish, which most closely resembles the ancestral Devonian form? In what ways do they share a resemblance with Devonian sacropterygians? How do these three groups differ in terms of their reliance on air-breathing? Describe two important adaptations of lung fish; one relating to feeding, and the other to tolerating drought/avoiding dessication.
6. When was the first living coelacanth specimen discovered? Which two people are most noted for describing it? Where was it discovered? Where else have living specimens been found since?
7. Describe an unique feature of coelacanth breeding biology.
8. Which group of bony fishes has experienced the largest radiation? Describe two (of four presented in lecture) ancestral, and one (of two presented) derived features of extinct Paleoniscids.
9. 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.
10. 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?
11. In which of these two African Rift Valley lakes (Victoria or Tanganyika) have cichlids diversified in terms of BOTH jaw structure and body shape? What feeding type is the ancestral cichlid presumed to be? What are “species flocks”? How was speciation initiated in these species flocks (divergence in body shape, feeding morphology, or evolution of color pattern differences through sexual selection)?
Lecture 6 (15 September 2011)
1. Describe three 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. 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). Describe the role of the operculum in teleost respiration.
3. 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?
4. Describe the counter-current exchange mechanism of gill function; how does it work and what makes it so efficient?
5. What is a “swim bladder” and which structure is it derived from? What did it initially evolve for, and what was it secondarily co-opted for in some fish? Describe the two types of swimbladders, and indicate which is ancestral and which is derived. Briefly explain how each functions.
6. In which types of habitats is schooling behavior more prevalent? In what type of fish (nocturnal or diurnal) does schooling generally occur? Why? How do fish monitor the movements of others?
7. List two main advantages to schooling behavior, and for each provide at least two lines of reasoning, complete with examples form the lecture, videos, or text. Explain the composition and significance of single- and multi-species schooling groups.
Lecture 7 (20 September 2011)
1. Which are the two main fertilization strategies found in fish? What is the major difference between the two types? Contrast 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 two 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 caregivers and cuckolders in bluegill sunfish. When does each male form sexually mature relative to females? What are the two types of cuckolders, and what is the difference between them?
6. What is a lek? 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. 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?
Lecture 8 (22 September 2011)
1. What is a tetrapod? When did tetrapods first invade land?
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. 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? In the 1990s Panderichthys became the favored tetrapod ancestor; what made this specimen more tetrapod-like?
5. When and where was Tiktaalik discovered? In what ways is this specimen more tetrapod-like than Panderichthys, but still a true fish-tetrapod intermediate?
6. What is the significance of the finding that Acanthostega and Ichthyostega have 8 toes? Who made this discovery? When? What are early tetrapod limbs presumed to have evolved for anyways?
7. To which two major tetrapod groups do Eogyrinus and Chroniosuchus belong to? What are Carboiniferous tetrapods considered non-amniote tetrapods rather than amphibians? When did the Carboniferous tetrapods become extinct?
8. What makes Crassigyrinus particularly interesting from an evolutionary standpoint? What are the Microsaurs, and which modern groups are they most similar to?
9. What did these early tetrapods eat?
Lecture 9 (27 September 2011)
1. List the three synapomorphies that unite all amphibians.
2. What are the three major groups (classes) of amphibians? Provide some characteristics of each.
3. Name at least two fossil amphibians. When do they date back to? Where were they discovered?
4. Define paedomorphosis. In what major group of amphibians would you likely encounter this? What is the difference between facultative paedomorphosis and obligate paedomorphosis?
5. List at least three characteristics that distantly related cave-dwelling salamanders have converged on.
6. What are some differences in morphology between semi-aquatic frogs, treefrogs, hopping/walking frogs, and primarily aquatic frogs?
7. What two types of glands do all amphibians have in their skin? Additionally, what is another type of gland that may be found in some amphibian species that inhabit dry environments? Provide some functions of each gland type.
8. How do some amphibians prevent evaporative water loss when living in harsh (i.e., dry) habitats? Who has more water-permeable skin, a leopard frog (a semi-aquatic frog) who has steady access to water or a spadefoot toad that lives in the desert?
9. What are the diets of a larval caecilian, a larval salamander, and a tadpole? Now, what are the diets of an adult caecilian, an adult salamander, and an adult frog? What are two ways in which an adult amphibian acquires its food?
10. What is an explanation to why are there no paedomorphic tadpoles, while nice of ten salamander families have paedomorphic representatives? Provide a few adaptations of tadpoles mouthparts that are correlated with their feeding habits.
EXAM 1 (29 September 2011)
Lecture 10 (4 October 2011)
1. Match the following groups with their respective types of fertilization: A) most frogs, B) most salamanders, and C) caecilians: 1) internal fertilization, no copulatory organ; 2) internal fertilization w/ copulatory organ, 3) external fertilization. What is the difference between direct and indirect internal fertilization.
2. List the four basic modes of salamander reproduction.
3. What is parental care? Which major groups of amphibians exhibit parental care? How does parental care differ between these groups?
4. Provide an example of an exception for each of the following rules: 1) Most salamanders have internal fertilization. 2) Most frogs have external fertilization.
5. Are reproductive modes more diverse in anurans or salamanders? Explain. What is the ancestral mode of reproduction in frogs?
6. Describe five different egg deposition strategies in frogs.
7. Explain why males of many amphibians posses traits that make them more conspicuous.
8. Describe the three 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?
9. Describe explosive breeding seasons and scramble competition, and indicate which groups of amphibians experience these. When possible, provide examples.
10. Explain what a resource defense mating system is, and which groups (and/or species) exhibit it. How does this differ from non-resource based systems? Give an example of such a system, and explain how it works.
Lecture 11 (6 October 2011)
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? What are the three distinct lineages of amniotes? What are 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? When did diapsids first appear, and what were they like?
4. 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 or why not?
5. What mode of fertilization do all squamates have? How is fertilization achieved? 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?).
6. What is an amniotic egg? List its basic components. Explain some differences in egg shell characteristics among crocodilians, turtles and lepidosaurs, in terms permeability of shell to water and albumin reserves. How does water uptake affect embryonic mass in some groups? Provide examples.
7. In which kinds of environments are hard vs. soft-shelled eggs laid? Why? What implications does this have for offspring fitness? Explain how water uptake, temperature, and the amount of yolk used up by the embryo are related in snapping turtles. 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?
8. What is temperature-dependent sex determination? Which groups does it occur in? What temperatures (hot/cold) determine which sex (male/female) in each group?
9. List four major mating systems exhibited by squamates, and provide an example for each. Which type(s) of mating systems are more characteristic of Iguanian lizards? Sceroglossine lizards?
10. Explain the difference between female-defense and resource-defense mating systems in lizards? Give an example of a group that exhibits the former. In which other groups have we seen these types of mating systems?
11. 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. Describe the typical mating system of scleroglossans.
Lecture 12 (11 October 2011)
1. What is the most diverse group of squamates?
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.<br?
6. Explain how surface-active and fossorial legless forms of lizards differ in other aspects of morphology. Which are the “most specialized burrowing legless reptiles”? What about them makes them so?<br?
7. 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?
8. Describe some adaptations of snakes for feeding on relatively large objects (e.g., egg, 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?
9. Name and briefly explain five types of snake locomotion.
Lecture 13 (13 October 2011)
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 the preferred body temperature of desert iguanas? What behaviors or physiological processes is this temperature optimal for in the desert iguana?
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? Explain how high Andean lizards and frogs respond differently to temperature.
5. Explain how marine iguanas deal with the temperature extremes (cool ocean waters vs. hot black rocks) they face.
6. 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. What is a thermo-conformer? What is gigantothermy, and give an example of a group that exhibits this.
7. Explain the difference between aerobic and anaerobic metabolism. Which do ectotherms make use of? Describe the advantages and disadvantages of each.
8. Describe some differences between active foragers and sit and wait predators. Give an example for each.
9. 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?
Lecture 14 (18 October 2011)
1. In what way is the phylogenetic placement of turtles contentious? Draw the amniote cladogram (with the phylogenetic placement of turtles) that we will follow in class.
2. What are the parts of a turtle shell? What is the shell composed of? In what ways is having a shell beneficial? How is it disadvantageous?
3. In what way do modern turtles differ from the 220 million year old fossil Proganochelys? What are the similarities between this fossil and modern turtles?
4. What are the two major lineages of turtles? What is the key morphological/anatomical difference between members of these two lineages?
5. Describe how turtles breathe, given the fact that their ribs are fused to their shell. Why is breathing in turtles more energetically expensive than other tetrapods?
6. How does morphology differ between turtles that are primarily terrestrial and those that spend most of their time in the water? Regardless of what type of habitat they live in, all female turtles must come on land to lay their eggs. Please comment on the reproductive behavior of turtles (e.g., egg laying behavior, presence or absence of parental care).
7. Provide three examples of sexual dimorphism observed in turtles. Why is the shape of the male's plastron important in reproduction? In many species of turtles, which sex generally obtain larger body size?
8. Are turtles carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores? Comment on the diet of turtles by providing examples of what they eat.
9. List four ways that allow turtles to overwinter underwater?
10. Comment on the conservation status of turtles. What anthropogenic (man-made) causes threaten this vertebrate lineage?
Lecture 15 (20 October 2010)
1. Which EXTANT group is most closely related to crocodilians? Why aren't these two extant lineages considered sister groups? What are the three major extant lineages of Crocodylia?
2. What type of predator is a crocodilian? What anatomic features enable crocodilians to be effective predators? What's unique about the skin of a crocodilian? How does the crocodilian heart differ from that of squamates? Briefly describe the shunting mechanism and its functional significance. In addition to the heart, what else enables crocodilians to stay submerged under water for long periods of time?
3. In what ways are the salt glands of crocodilians different than those belonging to lizards or sea turtles?
4. List three factors that threaten crocodilians.
5. What three geological periods comprise the Mesozoic? How long did the Mesozoic last? Comment on the climate of the Mesozoic, as well as the distribution of landmasses during each of these Mesozoic periods.
6. Provide the names of at least two major extinct Lepidosauropmorpha lineages. What are two major and extinct lineages in the Archosauromorpha?
7. What group is sister to pterosaurs?
8. If we know both birds and crocodilians build and defend nests, care for hatchlings, and have complex social behavior, what can we infer about the extinct lineages of Archosauria? What is the first lineage of vertebrates that we see flight as a mode of locomotion? Can you provide two other vertebrate lineages that have evolved flight? How were pterosaurs flying (i.e., flapping or gliding)?
9. In what ways were pterosaurs morphologically and ecologically diverse?
10. What extant lineage needs to be included in order for Dinosauria to be considered a monophyletic grouping? What is the ancestral condition of Dinosauria, bipedalism or quadrupedalism?
11. What are the two major groups in Dinosauria? How does the pelvic arrangement differ between these groups? Which of these groups is the one leading to birds, and why are the common names of these groups misleading?
12. Give at least three examples of ornithiscian dinosaurs. What are the three major groups within Saurischia? Which one of these lineages is ancestral to birds?
Lecture 16 (25 October 2011)
1. What are some morphological/anatomical differences between Dromaeosaurs like Deinonychus, Archaeopteryx, and modern birds? What are some skeletal similarities?
2. What is digitigrade walking? Comment on the trend seen in hand bones starting with saurischians and ending with modern birds.
3. What are some theories of the evolution of flight in birds? What adaptations were made for sustained flight during the Cretaceous? What adaptations do modern birds have for flight? List at least six.
4. Provide three different examples of Cretaceous birds that went extinct. What is a key difference between Ichthyorniformes and Hesperornithiformes?
5. Name the parts of a feather. How can you tell the feather is a flight feather or not? What are three major functions of feathers? What additional function do manikin birds use their feathers for (think about the short movie clip we saw in class today)?
6. List the seven characteristic skeletal features of a bird.
7. Contrast the respiratory system of birds to those of mammal. Which respiratory system is more efficient? What is an alternative advantage of the avian respiratory system?
8. Comment on bird metabolism. Which group of birds have exceptionally metabolisms? How do some birds cope with low food abundance during the winter in temperate environments?
Lecture 17 (27 October 2011)
1. How do the the beaks (or bills) of birds vary with feeding habits? Provide examples.
2. What is cranial kinesis?
3. A cowbird is primarily a seedeater, a red-winged blackbird is an insectivore, and a rusty blackbird eats both seeds and insects Comment on the differences in the skull and beak anatomy/morphology of these three closely related species.
4. What is a behavioral adaptation Phalaropes possess to aid in feeding on zooplankton? Mechanically speaking, how do Phalaropes eat?
5. Provide three examples of tool use in birds. Which tool-using group of birds are considered to be among the most intelligent of all avians (birds)?
6. Name the parts of the digestive system of a bird. What is the function of each part/organ? Are birds capable of changing digestive physiology when there is a shift in diet?
7. Provide at least two unique morphological, behavioral or physiological characteristics of the hoatzin. Is this interesting species considered to be highly derived or more primitive in relation to other modern birds?
8. Comment on the exceptionally acute sensory systems of raptors (e.g., owls, kestrels, hawks). Remember the last video seen in lecture today.
Lecture 18 (1 November 2011)
1. 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? Describe each type and provide at least one example of a bird taxa that possesses each type of young.
2. What is brood parasitism? List at least two examples of brood parasites.
3. What is the difference between behavioral monogamy and genetic or sexual monogamy? What recent molecular technique as enabled scientists to determine that genetic polygamy is far more common than earlier thought? What influences the formation of polygamous mating systems? What factors underlie the differences between male & female interests in reproduction?
4. What are extra-pair copulations (EPC)? In what ways do males try to prevent their mates from gaining EPCs? Provide examples of each strategy.
5. What is a polygyny threshold model? In what situation would a female choose to be a secondary female (i.e., join a male-female pair) over pairing with a non-polygamous male?
6. What is a lek? This is most commonly seen in birds with what type of hatchling? Provide at least three examples of lekking birds discussed in class or seen in the movie today.
7. List several examples showing how sexual selection, specifically female choice, has led to bizarre male traits (ornamentation, behavior, etc.)
Lecture 19 (8 November 2011)
1. What is eusociality? In what group of animals, specifically insects, is eusociality frequently seen? What are three castes that eusocial animals might belong to?
2. What are W. D. Hamilton's contribution to the study of animal social behavior? Explain Hamilton's rule? Who is John Maynard-Smith? Define inclusive fitness.
3. What is haplodiploidy? How does haplodiploidy play a part in the evolution and maintenance of eusociality and cooperative breeding in Hymenoptera?
4. List six different factors that may play a role in the evolution of cooperative breeding in birds.
5. Provide four examples of cooperative breeding birds from today's lecture (and the movies watched). What seems to be a determining factor of cooperative breeding in each example?
6. Define polygynandry. Which bird species discussed in class possesses this mating system?
7. What are some tactics cooperative breeding birds use to avoid inbreeding?
8. Define ecological stochasticity. How has this contributed to the evolution and maintenance of cooperative breeding in the white-fronted bee-eaters of Africa?
Lecture 20 (10 November 2011)
1. What three major trends or innovations have led to the tremendous radiation of mammals over evolutionary time?
2. When in geological time do the first synapsids appear? Comment on their body form.
3. Describe the four different skull morphologies seen in amniotes. Which type of skull do mammals possess?
4. What are pelycosaurs? When in geological time were they most abundant? What are two hypothesized functions of the sail in Dimetrodon?
5. What are therapsids? What are some anatomical characteristics of therapsids (provide three appendicular skeletal features and one cranial feature). What are cynodonts?
6. How do the a) skull/jaw morphologies, b) ear morphologies, and c) teeth of reptilians, cynodonts, and mammals differ?
7. What is the name of the earliest fossil mammal found? When did it live? Where were the fossils found? Comment on its body size, feeding habits, etc.
8. What is evidence for endothermy in early mammals? Name two things this key innovation has allowed for in mammals.
9. What are the three lineages of mammals? Provide an example for each. What are key differences (think about reproduction and development of young) between these lineages?
10. What are a few mammalian synapomorphies?
11. What are the advantages of lactation in mammals?
12. What is mammalian hair composed of? What are the five functions of hair/fur in mammals?
Lecture 21 (15 November 2011)
1. Where are monotremes found? Name two monotremes. Are monotremes protherians, therians, or eutherians? What are at least five characteristics that differentiate monotremes from marsupial and placental mammals?
2. Where are marsupials found? Provide six examples of marsupials. Are marsupials protherians, therians, or eutherians? What are three characteristics that differentiate marsupials from monotremes and placentals?
3. List four major groups of eutherians (placentals) we discussed during today's lecture. Provide examples of animals from each. Comment on the global distribution and family-level diversity of each group. Of these four major eutherian groups, which is the most speciose (species-rich)?
4. Why is the term shrew misleading. Provide at least three major mammalian groups (that are very divergent from one another) where you find animals called shrews.
5. Which major grouping of eutherian mammals do primates belong to? What are the two major lineages of primates? At what geological time did these two major primate lineages share a most recent common ancestor? What animals are hypothesized to be sister to all primates?
6. Provide at least eight characteristics of primates, citing at least two features of the brains of primates, and two which deal with the appendicular regions (arms and legs) of primates. What is the only obligatory bipedal primate? What is the major difference between monkeys and apes? Based on molecular (DNA) analyses, what is the closest living ancestor to humans?
Lecture 22 (17 Novemeber 2011)
1. Are Homo sapiens the only humans ever to walk on Earth? If not, provide examples of other humans. What is believed to be the oldest homonid fossil? How long have homonids been around? What is the shortest lived Homonid species, evolutionarily speaking, that was discussed in lecture today? What was the longest lived?
2. How does Lucy compare to that of chimpanzees and modern humans, in regards to pelvis, foot, skull, and jaw shape and structure?
3. How do Neaderthals differ, skeletally speaking, from modern humans? Comment on the social behavior of Neanderthals. In what ways is it not accurate to refer to someone displaying barbaric behavior as a "Neanderthal'"?
4. What are the remaining two mammalian groups discussed in today's lecture? Comment on the diversity and distribution of each of these groups. List at least three representative families in each, with example of animals for the families. Name a key feature (synapomorphy) for each major group that unites the families within it.
5. In what ways are humans the MOST successful animals on the planet? How have raccoons adapted to become one of the most successful urban mammals (besides humans)?
6. Comment on the locomotion of ungulates. On what part of their limb are ungulates walking on?
7. Why do you think it took evolutionary biologists so long to figure out where whales and dolphins fit in the vertebrate phylogeny?
8. What is the background extinction rate believed to be? How have humans affected the extinction rate? List the major causes of biodiversity loss on Earth. Of these factors, which one has the most significance on the extinction of species?
Lecture 23 (29 November 2011)
1. What is heterodonty? What are the teeth towards the front of the mammalian skull generally used for? How about the teeth located in the rear of the mouth? What is unique about mammalian saliva? Why is important for mammals (including carnivores and herbivores) to efficiently process food?
2. List two differences in the skull morphology/anatomy of carnivores versus herbivores. Who has the bigger temporalis muscle? Who has the larger masseter muscle?
3. What is the difference between hind gut fermentation and rumination? Provide an example of an animal for each. What is often necessary to be present in the guts of herbivorous animals to help break down cellulose?
4. Comment on the digestive systems of both herbivores and carnivores. What carnivore has the simplest of digestive tracts? How is this animal able to digest its food with such simple digestion? What is an adaptive advantage for this particular animal to have this type of digestive tract?
5. What specialization in grasses has contributed to the evolutionary success and diversification of grazing ungulates? What are two adaptations that grazing herbivores must have to survive on their diet of grasses.
6. Comment on the differences in feeding behavior and ecology of small herbivores, medium herbivores, large herbivores, and giant herbivores, using examples of African ungulates (e.g., which size class is the most specialized? generalized?). Provide two different species/examples for each size group. What is the Australian equivalent to the eutherian ungulates seen everywhere else in the wold?
7. What is the difference between grazing and browsing?
8. What are hypsodont teeth? Provide an example of a mammal with this type of teeth.
Lecture 24 (1 December 2011)
1. Comment on the trend seen in the dentition of a carnivorous mammal with a more generalized diet to one that has a more specialized diet. Provide an example of a generalist carnivore and a carnivore with a specialized diet.
2. What are carnassial teeth?
3. List some differences between the dentition and skull morphology of African wild dogs, jackals, and bat-eared foxes. How does this relate to the diet of each type of animal. Similarly, comment on how the skull morphology and dentition of bats relates to their diet.
4. What are two circumstances that might contribute to monogamy in mammals? What is an example of a monogamous mammals? What is generally the behavioral strategy of male mammals? What is this often dependent on?
5. Describe the typical home range characteristics of a solitary mammal. What is the ability to be polygynous dependent on in solitary males? Is there variety in the reproductive success in solitary males?
6. Define resource defense polygyny, harem polygyny and lek polygyny. How does the availability and quality of resources, and the group dynamics of females dictate the type of mating system an animal has? Provide an example of animals for each of these mating systems.
7. What are three examples of cooperative breeding mammals? Remark on the similarities and differences in the social behaviors observed in these three species.
Lecture 25 (6 December 2011)
1. What are the advantages and cost to endothermy in birds and mammals? Did endothermy evolve once in the evolutionary history of birds and mammals or more than once?
2. What is doubly-labeled water? How does it work? Why is it use full in studying animal physiology?
3. What behavioral adaptations allow a Black-Capped Chickadee able to survive a cold New England winter?
4. Define thermal neutral zone. In what ways can an organism cope with a body temperature lower than its low critical temperature?
5. With what other major metabolic adaptation is the evolution of insulation thought to have evolved with? What are three types of insulation found in mammals and birds? Provide an example of animal for each insulation type that has taken it to the extreme.
6. What is the difference between torpor and hibernation? Do bears hibernate?
7. How do each of the following size classes of mammals cope with extreme heat (e.g., desert dwelling): extra large mammals, large mammals, small mammals? How do desert birds deal with high, often critical, temperatures?
Lecture 26 (8 December 2011)
1. Comment on the social structure of prosimians. Provide an example of a prosimian with this characteristic social system.
2. Provide two examples of monogamous primates. How do these two examples differ?
3. Name two examples of primates that have a harem polygynous mating system. Name two sexually dimorphic characteristics seen in the males of both of these two species. Is there male parental care in species with harem polygyny?
4. Provide an example of a primate species with multi-mate polygamy. Why is a single male unable to control access to a group of females? How does the mating success of males in a multi-mate polygamous mating system differ to those in a harem polygynous mating system?
5. What is the basic social unit in baboons? When do groups fracture? What determines how groups fracture?
6. Name four famous anthropologists and primatologists whose work on the great apes has led to a greater understanding of primate social behavior and ultimately insights into human behavior. What were the scientific contributions of each of these researchers?
7. How does the distribution of food impact the social structure of gorillas compared to that of chimpanzees? What is a consortship?
8. Provide an example of a primate that forms permanent "family" groups. Which sex generally is dominant? How is social bonding reinforced in this species?
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