Sample exam questions (selection, life histories, reproduction)


1.     T      F      In all cases of intersexual selection, females are the choosy sex and males are the promiscuous sex.

2.     T      F      Kin selection and group selection each depend on the concept of inclusive fitness.

3.     T      F      Stabilizing selection maintains the same levels of heterozygosity in a population as disruptive selection.

4.     T      F      Medawar’s theory suggests that senescence evolves as a consequence of the late accumulation of deleterious traits.

5.     T      F      Parthenogenesis is commonly observed in parasites and endosymbiotic mutualists.


6.     Intersexual selection is MOST likely to occur when:


1.         Some individuals are more attractive to the opposite sex than others

2.         Interactions among members of the same sex reduce fitness of certain members

3.         Mating among individuals is random

4.         Individuals of one sex are equally attractive to individuals of the other sex


7.     Muller’s Ratchet is an explanation for the maintenance of recombination in species based on what?

1.      Production of variable offspring

2.      Reducing the mutation load

3.      Reducing the cost of meiosis

4.      DNA repair


8.      In around 200 species of birds, young are reared not only by their parents but by other individuals as well.  In most of these species, helpers are young birds that are helping their parents raise their siblings.  Usually this is because of severe shortages of available habitat for nesting.


a.       According to kin selection theory, if these helpers never produce offspring of their own, their inclusive fitness may still be greater than zero.  Briefly explain.




b.      If helpers were unrelated to the actual parents of the nestings, how would your answer be different?