biology questions 31

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  1. Very rarely, human babies are born with what appear to be tails. These are oftentimes caused by an elongated tailbone, or coccyx. These tails are surgically removed and do not usually pose a risk to the child’s health. However, why would humans even have a coccyx in the first place, if we do not have tails? Explain the significance of a coccyx and why humans have it, as well as what type of structure it is and where it comes from. In addition, identify another similar structure in humans and explain its evolutionary history. (Use words such as: vestigial structures, evolution, function, evolutionary remnant)


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  1. You are on a spaceship to Kepler-452b, an exoplanet similar to Earth, in the hopes of finding a habitable planet. After the 1,400 light year journey, you come into orbit of this planet and discover, remarkably, that the geography is similar to the earth. Your onboard devices scan the planet’s surface, and you find active volcanoes, deep canyons carved by rivers, and mountains with many layers of rock strata. This planet has existed in the habitable zone of its star for 6 billion years, making it significantly older than the earth, and this can be seen in its extreme geography. Describe and explain the processes that occurred over time to create the geography of this planet. Relate these ideas to the evolution of species. (Use words such as: catastrophism, uniformitarianism, gradualism, genetic drift, descent with modification)


  1. Once you land on Kepler-452b, your new home, you observe many species of flora and fauna. The dedicated biologist that you are, you make note of the different types of species. You come across a bird-like species, and intriguingly you find that the members are either white or black, but very few exist in the shades in between. These birds are prey to a giant avian species, similar to hawks, and they spend most of their time hiding on the trees on the planet. The trees are nothing like the ones on earth; they have extremely white barks starkly contrasted with black leaves. From an evolutionary perspective, explain why the birds are mostly black and white, and the type of selection that led to this. Identify and explain an example of this type of selection on Earth. (Use words such as: disruptive selection, evolutionary pressure, natural selection, relative fitness)

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