Worksheet: Theories of Evolution

In this worksheet, we will practice recalling Darwin and Wallace's contribution to the theory of evolution, and explaining the process of evolution by natural selection.


Which of the following definitions most accurately describes a species?

  • AA species is a group of similar organisms that can reproduce to give fertile offspring.
  • BA species is a large group of organisms that inhabit the same ecological space.
  • CA species is a group of organisms that share a common ancestor in the last millennia.
  • DA species is a group of organisms that are physically identical.
  • EA species is a group of similar organisms that can reproduce.


The process of natural selection is outlined below. Fill in the blanks in the following statements.

Populations naturally show in their characteristics.

  • Avariation
  • Bgenotypic frequencies
  • Cdifferentiation
  • Dcompetition

conditions in an area change causing more competition between individuals.

  • AGenotypic
  • BCommensal
  • CEnvironmental
  • DMorphological

By chance, some individuals are better for this change and survive.

  • Aadapted
  • Bacquired
  • Casserted
  • Daided

The survivors reproduce and pass on these to their offspring.

  • Adisadvantageous alleles
  • Bacquired characteristics
  • Cadvantageous alleles
  • Dadvantageous phenotypes


Which scientist proposed the idea that organisms evolved certain features by using them more throughout their lifetime, also known as acquired characteristics?

  • AWallace
  • BLamarck
  • CWatson
  • DFranklin
  • EDarwin


What book helped explain Darwin and Wallace’s ideas about evolution to the general public?

  • AEvolution Explained
  • BOn the Origin of Species
  • CThe History of the Species
  • DThe Voyage of the Beagle
  • ENatural Selection and Evolution


Which of the following best explains why Lamarck’s hypothesis about evolution was rejected?

  • APeople were not able to view animals and their adaptations.
  • BThe evidence did not support his ideas.
  • CHe never published or spoke about his theories.
  • DHe was not well liked in the scientific community.


African elephants have evolved large ears over time that help them cool down. What was the selection pressure in this evolutionary process?

  • AAdapting to the temperature/climate
  • BFood availability
  • CTraveling long distances
  • DAttracting mates
  • EAvoiding predation


Different scientists proposed different hypotheses about how organisms changed over time. Which of the following best explains the term “hypothesis”?

  • AA hypothesis is a set of instructions to be followed to prove or disprove an idea.
  • BA hypothesis is a possible explanation for an observation.
  • CA hypothesis is an incorrect idea for a natural process.
  • DA hypothesis is a proven reason for why something happens.
  • EA hypothesis is a written conclusion from a scientific experiment.


Which of the following processes allows new genetic variants to arise in a population?

  • AReplication
  • BSpecialization
  • CMutation
  • DMaturation
  • EMitosis


Variations in alleles produce different observable characteristics in organisms. What term is given to the physical characteristics of an organism?

  • APhenotype
  • BGenotype
  • CPhylogeny
  • DExternal traits
  • EMutations


Ground finches have evolved a large, powerful beak for crushing seeds. What was the selective pressure in this evolutionary process?

  • AAvoiding predation
  • BAdapting to the temperature/climate
  • CFlying long distances
  • DAttracting mates
  • EFood availability


Which of the following is the best explanation for the connection between natural selection and evolution?

  • ANatural selection is when evolution occurs repeatedly and over time causes a change in the characteristics of a species.
  • BEvolution is when natural selection occurs repeatedly and over time causes a change in the characteristics of a species.


A population of organisms will naturally show differences in their characteristics. Which of the following is the correct term for this?

  • AVariation
  • BCharacterization
  • CSelection
  • DSpeciation
  • EDifferentiation

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