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

  • Acompetition
  • Bvariation
  • Cdifferentiation
  • Dgenotypic frequencies

conditions in an area change causing more competition between individuals.

  • ACommensal
  • BEnvironmental
  • CMorphological
  • DGenotypic

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

  • Aacquired
  • Basserted
  • Cadapted
  • Daided

The survivors reproduce and pass on these to their offspring.

  • Aadvantageous phenotypes
  • Bdisadvantageous alleles
  • Cacquired characteristics
  • Dadvantageous alleles


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

  • AWatson
  • BDarwin
  • CLamarck
  • DFranklin
  • EWallace


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

  • ANatural Selection and Evolution
  • BOn the Origin of Species
  • CEvolution Explained
  • DThe History of the Species
  • EThe Voyage of the Beagle


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

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


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

  • ATraveling long distances
  • BAttracting mates
  • CAdapting to the temperature/climate
  • DAvoiding predation
  • EFood availability


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

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


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

  • AMaturation
  • BMutation
  • CSpecialization
  • DMitosis
  • EReplication


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

  • AMutations
  • BPhenotype
  • CPhylogeny
  • DGenotype
  • EExternal traits


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

  • AFlying long distances
  • BAdapting to the temperature/climate
  • CFood availability
  • DAttracting mates
  • EAvoiding predation


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?

  • ACharacterization
  • BSelection
  • CSpeciation
  • DVariation
  • EDifferentiation

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