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BIOL_265_Ecology_1st_exam_study_guide - Biology 265 Fall...

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Biology 265 Fall 2011 Study Guide for Midterm Examination I 1. Introduction. What is descent with modification? Descent with modification, often with diversification Individuals, other than growing up and growing old, and acquiring somatic mutations in plants, don’t change much within a generation. But the proportion of individuals with characteristic A (versus B) may change from one generation to the next. That is descent with modification. What is meant by “the ecological theater and the evolutionary play”? Ecological theater: contains selective pressures like food, predators, herbivores, competitors, parasites, pathogens, climate Evolutionary play: responses to the selective pressures such as generalization, specialization, adaptation, and extinction Why does “nothing in biology make sense except in light of evolution”? Biology will not make any sense if evolution is not involved. What does agenesis of third molar teeth imply about human evolution? Agenesis of third molar teeth in humans Presence varies from close to 0% in Tasmanians and Bantu to 100% in Mexican Indians What are examples of historicity reflecting suboptimal design? 5. The non-functioning eyes of cave-dwelling creatures which live in total darkness. The vast quantity of junk DNA: pseudogenes, introns, transposons, retroposons, etc. Junk DNA is just that-it does nothing for its owner except get itself copied. About 95% of human DNA is junk DNA, not coding for any protein. Again, sub-optimal design. 2. Earth history and origin of life. How are rocks dated? Radiometric Dating Some elements exist as unstable isotopes Unstable isotopes undergo decay into other isotopes or elements The rate of decay is constant under different temperatures and pressures Why is the earth older than the oldest rocks on earth?
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The oldest rocks which have been found so far (on the Earth) date to about 3.8 to 3.9 billion years ago. generally accepted age for the Earth and the rest of the solar system is about 4.55 billion years (plus or minus about 1%). Why is life younger than the earth? What is continental drift? Continental drift is the movement of the Earth 's continents relative to each other What are the problems of interpreting the geographical range of fossil and of modern organisms using the modern configuration of continents? Distributions of plants and animals on southern continents make no sense except in light of continental drift What is the order of appearance of the major forms of life? 3. Evidence of evolution. What are the types of evidence? There is a massive and diverse set of data that is consistent with descent with modification, and nothing else. Non-scientific beliefs, such as creationism and intelligent design, are silent about these data, because they do not reveal intelligent design.
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