AP Environmental Science : Evolution

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Environmental Science

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Evolution

The streamlined shape found in the body plans of both sharks and dolphins is an example of:

Possible Answers:

sympatry

coevolution

none of these

divergent evolution

convergent evolution

Correct answer:

convergent evolution

Explanation:

Sharks and dolphins are not closely related and evolved their streamlined shapes separately from one another. This is an example of convergent evolution, in which two species that are not closely related evolve similar characteristics. Divergent evolution is the opposite.

Example Question #2 : Evolution

What type of organisms were the first to develop?

Possible Answers:

Primates

Prokaryotes

Plants

Eukaryotes

Fungi

Correct answer:

Prokaryotes

Explanation:

Prokaryotes are simple, single-celled organisms which lack membrane bound nuclei. They developed before any of the other listed answer choices, as all of the other listed answer choices are multi-celled organisms that developed from prokaryotes.

Example Question #3 : Evolution

Which of the following terms is defined as any change in the proportions of different genotypes in a population from one generation to the next?

Possible Answers:

Gene flow

Differential reproduction

Variability

Adaptation

Evolution

Correct answer:

Evolution

Explanation:

Evolution is a process of orderly and gradual change or development. The theory that all living species have developed as a result of changes in their genetic material over time. Evolution is a change in the proportions of different genotypes in a population from one generation to the next. The characteristic of an organism that helps it survive and reproduce in a particular environment is adaptation. Variability is the range of alterations present in a genome, such as the number of diverse alleles of a specific gene. The differences in reproductive output among individuals of a population, normally as a result of genetic differences is differential reporduction. Gene flow is the movement of alleles from one population to another owing to the migration of individual organisms. 

Example Question #4 : Evolution

Which of the following does not represent a process leading to evolution?

Possible Answers:

All of these

Speciation

Reproductive isolation

Coevolution

Geographic isolation

Correct answer:

Coevolution

Explanation:

Coevolution occurs when one species evolves at the same time as another related species. Often one of these species is a prey-animal that adapts or develops traits that increase survival and reproductive rates. The predator that hunts the prey is required to adapt, increasing favorable traits that allow them, once again, to be able to hunt the prey. Coevolution is a type of evolution, but is not a cause of evolution.

Speciation is a general term referring to evolutionary processes leading to the creation of a new species. This occurs when a parent species is divided into at least two groups that are isolated from each other. These isolated groups adapt and mutate separately until they are no longer compatible for breeding.

Evolution caused by geographic isolation takes place when a species is separated into multiple groups due to a physical barrier of some kind (like a rock fall blocking a previously open canyon).

Evolution due to reproductive isolation occurs when members of two species that were previously able to produce viable offspring cannot due to changes in physical characteristics or behaviors. These species can procreate, but their offspring are not viable (able to reproduce).

Example Question #5 : Evolution

Which of the following terms describes the evolution that species have in response to one another and was authored by Charles Mode in 1958?  This term was used to describe his fascination with the evolutionary responses that crops and pests have to each other. 

Possible Answers:

Coevolution

Divergence 

Convergence

Sympatric 

Correct answer:

Coevolution

Explanation:

The correct answer is coevolution. It is defined as the continual evolution that interacting species have in response to each other.

Example Question #6 : Evolution

Which statement is true about genetic drift?

Possible Answers:

Genetic drift occurs only in eukaryotes.

Genetic drift is completely random.

Genetic drift occurs only in producers

Genetic drift occurs only in animals.

Genetic drift is a process created by humankind. 

Correct answer:

Genetic drift is completely random.

Explanation:

The correct response is: genetic drift is completely random. It is a natural process that occurs at random and has profound impacts on species. Thus, genetic drift was not created by humans - it's a natural process. Genetic drift occurs in life forms, from the prokaryotes to the eukaryotes. And genetic drift occurs in all living organisms: plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi.

Example Question #7 : Evolution

The diversification of the finches on the Galapagos Islands from a single founding species into many different species in different ecological niches is an example of __________.

Possible Answers:

parapatric speciation

peripatric speciation

adaptive radiation

sympatric speciation

allopatric speciation

Correct answer:

adaptive radiation

Explanation:

Because the Galapagos Islands cover a small area and have many ecological niches available, the evolution of Darwin's finches is best explained as adaptive radiation. Adaptive radiation refers to growing specialization between different types of the same species until they finally become different species, as with the small vs the large-beaked finches on the Galapagos, which eat different seeds.

Example Question #8 : Evolution

Which two ecologists developed the Theory of Island Biogeography? 

Possible Answers:

Rachel Carson and Robert MacArthur

Charles Darwin and Aldo Leopold

Aldo Leopold and Robert MacArthur

Robert MacArthur and E. O. Wilson

E. O. Wilson and G. Evelyn Hutchinson

Correct answer:

Robert MacArthur and E. O. Wilson

Explanation:

Together in the 1960's, MacArthur and Wilson coined the term "Island Biogeography" within the field of Insular Biogeography. This is a theory that attempts to predict the number of species existing on an island, whether a literal island, or simply a habitat isolated from like habitats by an "ocean" of unlike habitats.

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