AP Biology : Understanding Other Evidence

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Biology

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Understanding Other Evidence

Squid and octapi have evolved eyes similar to those that humans have. Unlike humans, however, they do not have an optical blind spot, leading many to use the squid eye as evidence that the human eye is suboptimal. The human eye is fundamentally different in structure from that of a squid, however they serve the same purpose. This is an example of __________.

Possible Answers:

homoplasy

autapamorphy

synapomorphy

apomorphy

Correct answer:

homoplasy

Explanation:

The answer is homoplasy, which is another term for convergent evolution. Humans and squid evolved the eye independently, which explains the differences in structure despite similar function.

Example Question #2 : Understanding Other Evidence

Hundreds of millions of years ago, life made the move from the sea to land. Before that move could take place, many adaptations had to take place in the organisms moving to land for survival to occur.

Which of the following is not an a problem faced by organisms making the adaptation to living on land?

Possible Answers:

Water retention

Support against gravity

Lack of CO2 in the air

Correct answer:

Lack of CO2 in the air

Explanation:

The air had plenty of CO2 in it when the move to land was made. The biggest problems that these organisms faced was (1) retention of water because water wasn't as readily available on land and (2) supporting itself against gravity because it could no longer rely on the water to support its structure, as air can't support an organism like water can.

Example Question #3 : Understanding Other Evidence

In the human body, each cell has a specific number of chromosomes. Whenever a cell has exactly one chromosome more than usual in its nucleus, this is referred to as which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Haploid

Triploid

Alloploid

Polyploid

Aneuploidy

Correct answer:

Aneuploidy

Explanation:

The abnormal number of chromosomes in a cell is referred to as aneuploidy. This event occurs when the chromosomes do not separate properly in cell division. Only one chromosome is affected, leaving one too many or too few copies.

In contrast, polyploidy refers to organisms that have more than two copies of every chromosome. For example, triploid organisms have three copies of every chromosome. This differs from trisomy, in which an organism carries three copies of a single chromosome (as described in the question).

Example Question #62 : Theorists And Evidence

What is the endosymbiotic theory, and which organelle(s) does it apply to?

Possible Answers:

The endosymbiotic theory states that ancestral prokaryotic cells merged to form a eukaryotic cell; this theory applies to the plasma membrane

The endosymbiotic theory states that organelles evolved from prokaryotic simplicity to eukaryotic complexity; this theory applies to the nucleus and vesicles.

The endosymbiotic theory states that large, ancestral prokaryotic cells engulfed smaller prokaryotic cells and established a mutual relationship; this theory applies to the mitochondrion and chloroplast.

The endosymbiotic theory states that two organelles in close proximity merged to form a new, more complex and functional organelle; this theory applies to the mitochondrion.

The endosymbiotic theory states that DNA mutations created new organelles within the cell; this theory applies to the lysosomes and vesicles.

Correct answer:

The endosymbiotic theory states that large, ancestral prokaryotic cells engulfed smaller prokaryotic cells and established a mutual relationship; this theory applies to the mitochondrion and chloroplast.

Explanation:

The endosymbiotic theory states than a large ancestral prokaryotic cell engulfed an aerobic prokaryotic cell. Eventually, the engulfed cell formed a relationship with the host cell, becoming an endosymbiont (a cell living within another cell).  Host cells and their endosymbionts merged into a single organism: a eukaryotic cell with mitochondria and chloroplasts. Proof for this theory is found in the fact that both chloroplasts and mitochondria have two membranes and their own ribosomes and circular DNA molecules, similar to those found in prokaryotic cells. DNA within these organelles allows for independent synthesis of proteins and ribosomes. These organelles also grow and reproduce independently within the cell.

Example Question #63 : Theorists And Evidence

Which method of mutation has the greatest potential for evolution and variation?

Possible Answers:

Translocation

Inversion

Deletion

Duplication

Correct answer:

Duplication

Explanation:

Duplication is a type of mutation in which a gene is duplicated within a genome. This creates the potential for one of the duplicates to evolve a new function, with the other copy retaining the original function. Deletions, inversions, and translocations are potentially harmful to the native function of a gene, whereas duplications of entire genes yields no potential for loss-of-function mutations.

Example Question #64 : Theorists And Evidence

Which of the following best describes what the Miller-Urey experiment demonstrated regarding the origins of life?

Possible Answers:

That Earth’s early atmosphere by itself could not have supported the formation of complex organic compounds

Organic compounds could be generated under conditions similar to Earth’s early atmosphere

That early Earth did not exhibit the proper amount of energy needed to synthesize organic compounds

Earth’s early atmosphere spontaneously synthesized DNA

Correct answer:

Organic compounds could be generated under conditions similar to Earth’s early atmosphere

Explanation:

The Miller-Urey experiment was performed in the 1950s to test if Earth’s early atmosphere was capable of synthesizing organic compounds needed to support the origin of life. In the experiment, molecules believed to be present in Earth’s early atmosphere were placed in a closed system and electricity was run through it. This resulted in the production of amino acids and organic compounds; therefore, this supported the hypothesis that the conditions on early Earth could have aided in the synthesis of organic compounds.

Example Question #4 : Understanding Other Evidence

Which of the following is not a theory for the origins of life on Earth?

Possible Answers:

All of these

Synthesis of organic compounds from Earth’s early atmosphere

Transport of microorganisms and organic compounds from meteoroids and asteroids

RNA as the precursor for all life on Earth 

Correct answer:

All of these

Explanation:

There are many theories regarding the origins of life on Earth, many of which are scientifically supported and it is believed that several may have occurred in tandem. The most notable of these theories is the Big Bang theory others include: the arrival of organic compounds from meteoroids, the synthesis of compounds from Earth’s atmosphere, and the RNA world hypothesis.

Example Question #5 : Understanding Other Evidence

According to the RNA world hypothesis, which of the following characteristics of RNA were critical for development into more complex compounds and life forms?

Possible Answers:

All of these

Self-replication

Ability to catalyze reactions

Information storage

Correct answer:

All of these

Explanation:

According to the RNA world hypothesis, RNA was a precursor for all other molecules the origins of life on early Earth. The characteristics of RNA support the hypothesis that RNA may be the precursor to current life. These characteristics include the ability of RNA to self-replicate, catalyze simple reactions, and store information.

Example Question #6 : Understanding Other Evidence

Which of the following hypotheses best describes the evolution of organelles in eukaryotes?

Possible Answers:

Endosymbiotic relationship between a host cell and an engulfed cell

None of these

Eukaryotes evolved organelles independently of prokaryotes

Prokaryotic genetic material mutated to synthesize organelles

Correct answer:

Endosymbiotic relationship between a host cell and an engulfed cell

Explanation:

The current hypothesis for the evolution of eukaryotes is the theory of endosymbiosis. In this theory, one cell engulfs another cell, creating a symbiotic relationship between the host cell and engulfed cell. The internal endosymbiotic cell is inherited through the generations and is the precursor to organelles. 

Example Question #7 : Understanding Other Evidence

Biological evolution can be defined as __________.

Possible Answers:

changes in the gene frequency of a population over time

a triangle with less developed organisms on the bottom

None of these definitions are correct

a linear route from simple to complex

Correct answer:

changes in the gene frequency of a population over time

Explanation:

Evolution occurs slowly over time as small changes accumulate in the DNA of a given population. Evolution is not a blueprint for perfection and does not create a hierarchy of developed and non-developed species.

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