Evolution Test Review
1. Give a definition for evolution. Why
do living things need to evolve?
• Definition: species change over time
• As the environment changes, living things
need to survive, so they must change as time
2. How are fossils dated?
• Radiometric/ Radiocarbon Dating: measures the
amount of radioactive isotopes in a fossil to
determine its age
– Pro: can give you the exact age of a fossil
– Con: can’t be used on really old fossils because the
radioactivity goes away with time
• Relative Dating: compares the age of a fossil to
other fossils found in the same rock layer
– Pro: can be used to give you an estimated age of really
– Con: rock layers can be shifted by earthquakes or
mudslides and this can give an inaccurate estimate
3. How can we get evidence for
evolution from the fossil record?
• The fossil record shows us how living things
have changed their forms over time
4. What are homologous structures?
Give an example. How do they
provide evidence for evolution?
• Similar structures with different functions
• Example: a human’s arm and a bat’s wing
• Evidence: they show that there was a common
5. What are vestigial structures? Give
an example. How do they provide
evidence for evolution?
• Structures that no longer serve a purpose but
had a purpose in an ancestor
• Example: Tailbone in humans; wings on
• Evidence: show how things change over time
6. How does embryology (study of
evidence for evolution?
• Similarities among embryos show a common
7. Explain Charles Darwin’s discoveries
(finches and tortoises).
– Darwin noticed that where there were nuts for
food, the finches had short, hard beaks
– Where there was fruit and insects for food, the
finches had long, thin beaks
– Darwin noticed that where there was low
vegetation, the tortoises had short legs and necks
– where there was high vegetation, the tortoises
had long legs and necks
8. What are adaptations? Give an
example of an adaptation
• Adaptation: a beneficial change that allows an
organism/species to survive
• Example: thick fur on a rabbit that lives in the
9. How has the earth changed over
time (timeline events)?
• Earth changed and as it did, life evolved
– Earth was formed
– The first life appeared (single-celled)
– Oxygen appeared
– Plants and animals appeared (multicellular)
10. How are humans similar to and
different from other organisms?
– Mammals (hair, live birth, produce milk)
– Skeletons have similarities (homologous structures)
– Written communication
– Opposable thumbs
– Walk upright
– Large brains
11. What can we learn by studying
• Cladograms show:
– Shared traits
– The order the traits appeared in
– Probable relationships
12. How do you read a cladogram?
• Reads from the bottom up
– Oldest/most common trait at the bottom
– Newest/least common trait at the top
• Each organism on the cladogram has all the
traits below it
13. What are the different taxonomic
groups from largest to smallest? What can
classifying things tell you about evolution?
• Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus,
• Classification can tell you how closely related
two species are and how recently they shared
a common ancestor – the more of the above
groupings they have in common, the more
closely related they are
14. What are the three domains
and the kingdoms that fit into
• Domain: Bacteria
– Kingdom: Eubacteria
• Domain: Archaea
– Kingdom: Archaebacteria
• Domain: Eukarya
– Kingdom: Animal
– Kingdom: Plant
– Kingdom: Protist
– Kingdom: Fungi
15. How do you use a dichotomous
key? What can a dichotomous key
be used for?
• Read through each paired statement and
answer yes or no and follow the instructions
until you reach an identified object
• This key can be used to identify unknown