Evolution Practice Questions

Updated on Sep 22, 2011

Review these concepts at: Evolution Study Guide

Practice Problems

1. The mechanism behind evolution is known as

a. artificial selection.

b. mate selection.

c. natural selection.

d. punctuated selection.

2. Which of the following is NOT a basic assumption of Darwin's theory of evolution?

a. All species have a great ability to reproduce, and the population of each would increase greatly if all individuals reproduced successfully.

b. No two individuals in a population are exactly alike and their variability is inheritable.

c. Survival depends on inheriting characteristics that best suit the individual to the environment.

d. All individuals in a population will survive and be able to reproduce.

3. Poor eyesight in humans is an example of

a. how well adapted to the environment humans are.

b. a trait that is favorable in most environments.

c. a trait that will allow for greater reproductive success.

d. a trait that we are artificially selecting for in our populations.

4. The many breeds of dogs we see today are the result of which of these processes?

a. translation

b. artificial selection

c. natural selection

d. punctuated selection

5. Which of the following statements is NOT true about Charles Darwin's theory of evolution?

a. Organisms evolve through a mechanism of natural selection.

b. Each organism in a population is exactly like every other organism in that population.

c. Organisms have a great ability to reproduce.

d. Evolution modifies organisms over time.


1. c. Natural selection occurs when animals well adapted to their environment are able to reproduce and leave more offspring than those animals who are not well adapted. This advantage leads to certain organisms prospering while others fail to survive. Over time, this will preserve and even enhance characteristics in the surviving population.

2. d. Only the organisms best suited to their environment and able to obtain resources will be likely to reproduce and leave more offspring.

3. d. People with poor eyesight would most likely not be able to survive if it weren't for the fact that our society upports them; therefore, we are artificially selecting for that trait. Natural selection would lead to a population with very good eyesight if it weren't for our intervention. This can be a good and compassionate behavior for a society to engage in; however, rampant human population growth without paying attention to natural controls will leave the Earth a poorer quality place for all organisms.

4. b. Artificial selection by humans has resulted in many types of dogs bred specifially for some purpose of our own.

5. b. It is not true that every organism in a population is just exactly like all others; infact, the opposite is true. These differences are inheritable and can be acted upon by natural selection.

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