Anthropology midterm questions

timer Asked: Feb 8th, 2016

Question description

Studying Humans

  • 1What are the 3 lines of evidence that we use in this course, and how is each one applied?
  • 2Identify the six major attributes that separate humans from other animals, and

 their importance for what it means to be human.

  • 3Explain the differences and similarities between the four branches of
  • 4Understand the importance of the biocultural approach to anthropological
  • 5Identify several different research areas in physical anthropology.
  • 6Who are hominins?  What sets them apart from other primates?
  • 7Describe the human adaptive strategy in one concise sentence.  What are its two most central factors?
  • 8Why do anthropologists study non-human primates?

Scientific Method

  • 9Explain and apply the 8 steps of the scientific method. Distinguish between hypotheses and theories.
  • 10What is the relationship between hypotheses and predictions?
  • 11What does it mean (what should you do) if your hypothesis turn out to be incorrect, or not supported by the evidence?
  • 12Does bravery have anything to do with the scientific method? Explain.
  • 13After going through the scientific method comparing the evolutionary and intelligent design theories, what have we learned about the existence of God? 
  • 14Do humans resemble some animals more than others? What is the most likely explanation for this?

Evolution and Genetics

  • 15Discuss the concept of Linnaean taxonomy and humans’ place in it.
  • 16Can two different animals belong to the same Genus, but separate Orders?
  • 17Explain the ideas of Lamarck and Malthus as they relate to Darwin’s
  • 18Explain Darwin’s main contribution(s) to the theory of evolution.
  • 19Define the concept of Mendelian inheritance and explain its role in the
  • 20What is the only source of new genetic material?
  • 21What does electrophoresis tell us about cells?
  • 22Put these in order from largest to smallest:
    • 23Nucleotides, chromosome, nucleus, gene, Codon, DNA.
  • 24Define and provide examples for each of the processes of evolution.
  • 25What is the relationship between natural selection and evolution?
  • 26What is the relationship between environmental conditions and natural selection?
  • 27Explain what mtDNA is, and why it is important in research about both
  • 28Define:
    • Speciation
    • Gene Flow
    • Gene Pool
    • Genome 
    • Homologue
    • Homozygous/Heterozygous
    • Genotype/Phenotype
    • allele
  • 29Natural selection operates on what?
  • 30What type of DNA is passed only from mother to offspring?
  • 31What criteria do we use to designate a population as a species?
  • 32Explain the difference between microevolution and macroevolution (speciation).
  • 33Explain how abnormal hemoglobin form and endemic malaria illustrate
  • 34Explain how gene flow contributes to genetic diversity.
  • 35Create and interpret a Punnet Square.

Brain Rules

  • 36What is the link between exercise and brain function?
  • 37Describe the conditions under which our brains evolved.
  • 38How is our modern environment mismatched with our brain?

The Big Picture

  • 39What is the currency of nature?
  • 40Is natural selection deliberate? Explain.
  • 41Is natural selection precise? Explain. 
  • 42What is adaptation?  What makes a trait adaptive?
  • 43What is the role of the environment in the process of evolution?
  • 44Explain radiation and the significance of ecological niches.
  • 45What is fitness?
  • 46What aspect of the mammalian adaptive strategy enabled mammals to survive the extinction event that killed off dinosaurs?
  • 47What are homologues?  What hypothesis best explains the homologues we looked at in class (posted in Canvas)?
  • 48What is the significance of the Dino-bird (Archaeopteryx)?
  • 49Why did our ancestors have to become mammals before they could become primates?
  • 50Why did our ancestors have to become primates before they could become human?
  • 51How do we classify animals? Why do we use this system, and what does it tell us about the relationships of all living things?
  • 52Why do we use the feedback loop model to understand the evolution of the human biocultural adaptive strategy?
  • 53How is the universal code of DNA evidence for the shared ancestry of all living things?
  • 54Explain the process of radiation and how it contributes to evolution. How does this relate to adaptation?
  • 55What is the relationship between adaptation and ecological niches? 
  • 56Why is bipedalism a hallmark of human evolution?
  • 57What is the goal of evolution? *trick question*
  • 58Explain how whales evolved from land mammals into aquatic mammals over the last 50,  million years (or so).

Human Variation

  • 59Why do we study race in bioanthropology?
  • 60How are genes like money? 
  • 61Why do humans exhibit so much phenotypic variation?
  • 62Why do humans have so little genetic variation?
  • 63What can we learn from sequencing mtDNA?  What can we not learn from mtDNA?*


  • 64Name the three different types of primates. 
  • 65What similarities do all humans share?
  • 66How might these similarities have evolved out of our primate ancestry?
  • 67What is binocular vision and why do all primates share this trait?
  • 68Where do we find the earliest fossils of primates?
  • 69Where in the world did our species (Homo sapiens) evolve?
  • 70Which two species are our (humans’) closest living relatives?
  • 71Why do monkeys and humans share color vision and a taste for alcohol?
  • 72What is the Old-World Anthropoid dental pattern?
  • 73Describe the physical adaptations that all primates share.
  • 74Explain how the skeletons of monkeys, apes, and humans differ.
  • 75In what kind of environment did primates evolve? What evidence of this ancestry still exists in our anatomy today?
  • 76Explain the relationship between parental investment and brain size in primates.
  • 77Compare and contrast the two suborders of primates (prosimians and anthropoids) in terms of body form, adaptive strategy, and dental morphology.
  • 78Explain the differences between New World monkeys and Old World
  • 79Describe the skeletal differences between primates that are quadrupedal, bipedal, and suspensory.
  • 80Identify six locomotor patterns and associated primates.
  • 81What is the IM Index and what can it tell us?
  • 82What can placement of Foramen Magnum tell us about the animal?
  • 83Review Primate Dental Formulas.
  • 84Why do we lack opposability in our Hallux?

Cooperation and Behavior

85Why has childhood, as an inherited aspect of the life cycle, been selected for, particularly in human primates?86Explain how primate social behavior is related to fitness and natural87Explain why primates cooperate and provide at least one specific example of88Do primates have more or less parental investment than other mammals? What is the significance of this?89Which primate has the highest level of parental investment?  What other factors in the primate adaptive strategy are correlated with parental investment?90How are apes able to express and communicate emotion?91What is sexual dimorphism?  Why is it present in some species, but not others?

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