AP Biology : Understanding Lamarck

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Biology

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Theorists And Evidence

Who of the following scientists would postulate that giraffes have long necks because they wanted to eat the leaves of tall trees?

Possible Answers:

Salk

Leeuwenhoek 

Lamarck

Darwin

Watson & Crick

Correct answer:

Lamarck

Explanation:

Lamarck theorized that animals evolved into new forms based on need or utility, and thus he is the correct answer for this question.

Darwin was the father of the theory of evolution by natural selection (along with Alfred Russell Wallace), Watson and Crick discovered the structure of DNA (along with Rosalind Franklin), Leeuwenhoek pioneered microscopy, and Jonas Salk created the polio vaccine, so none of those are correct.

Example Question #2 : Understanding Lamarck

Which of the following theories representing Lamarckian evolution is false?

Possible Answers:

Principle of use and disuse

Inheritance of acquired characteristics

Theory of genetic chance

All of the choices are correct

Correct answer:

Theory of genetic chance

Explanation:

The principal of use and disuse suggests that organs you use get bigger while those you don't use get smaller or even disappear entirely. Inheritance of acquired characteristics sugegsts that proficiencies and traits can be passed down to succeeding generations. Lamarckian evolution is largely based on these two ideals.

Theory of genetic chance is not a real foundation of Lamarckian evolution.

Example Question #3 : Understanding Lamarck

The French scientist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck studied heritability and proposed the "theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics." With which statement would Lamarck most likely agree?

Possible Answers:

An average man develops powerful arms from his job working in a factory; his children will be born with unusually high arm strength

The skills that an organism perfects during its lifespan have little to no effect on the ability of its offspring to perform those same skills

A bird population might have a greater proportion of members with large beaks if large beak size is selected for by the environment

Rabbits with fur color that closely resembles the environment will survive to have young, while rabbits with more noticeable coloring will die before having offspring

Most species develop new characteristics over periods of millions of years

Correct answer:

An average man develops powerful arms from his job working in a factory; his children will be born with unusually high arm strength

Explanation:

The theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics was one of the earliest theories of evolution. Lamarck believed that traits were passed down to offspring when the parent showed increased use of those traits, and that traits that were not used by the parent were not inherited. The most common example of this "use and disuse" idea was a giraffe that, during its lifetime, often stretched its neck to reach leaves, and thus had a greater number of offspring with long necks.

This theory was shown to be incorrect in favor of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection. Use or disuse during an organism's lifespan is not the driving force of evolution.

Example Question #2 : Theorists And Evidence

Which of the following scientists hypothesized that organisms can pass down traits acquired during their lifetimes?

Possible Answers:

Charles Darwin 

Carolus Linnaeus

Gregor Mendel

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck

Correct answer:

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck

Explanation:

Lamarck hypothesized, amongst other things, that organisms could pass down traits acquired during life from generation to generation. Under Lamarck's theory of use and disuse, a man who worked in a factory and developed strong arms would pass the strong arms trait to his offspring. This hypothesis has largely been rejected by modern genetics.

Gregor Mendel is the founder of modern genetics, developing our modern understanding of allelic inheritance. Charles Darwin developed important theories about evolution and natural selection. Carolus Linnaeus is best remembered for establishing binomial nomenclature, the system used today to officially name organisms.

Example Question #5 : Understanding Lamarck

What are parts of Lamarck’s theory of evolution?

Possible Answers:

All of these

Individuals lose traits that they don't need

Acquired characteristics are heritable

Individuals gain characteristics they need

Correct answer:

All of these

Explanation:

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck was an evolutionary theorist who was rejected by Charles Darwin. In his theory, Lamarck supported the idea that individuals could pass down acquired characteristics to their offspring, and that they lost un-needed traits and gained useful traits. The most recent theory of evolution, like Charles Darwin, rejects these claim.

Example Question #3 : Theorists And Evidence

Lamarck’s ideas on biological evolution contained correct and incorrect notions. Which of his ideas is correct?

Possible Answers:

Nervous fluids are passed on from generation to generation

Acquired traits can be passed on to offspring

Evolution is related to changes in adaptation to the environment

Living forms become perfect with time

Correct answer:

Evolution is related to changes in adaptation to the environment

Explanation:

While Lamarck had many revolutionary ideas on evolution, his most correct assumption was the importance of environmental changes on evolutionary adaptations. His theories on the inheritance of acquired traits and essentialsm do not fit into our current knowledge of evolution, DNA, and inheritance.

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