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Topics in Depth

The Theme of Test Your Knowledge in Plant Evolution and Diversity

Plant Predecessors Questions

1. Which of the following is similar in structure between charophytes and land plants?

(A) Roots
(B) Leaves
(C) Sperm
(D) Eggs
(E) Pollen

2. Land plants are different than algae because plants

(A) are photosynthetic
(B) take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen
(C) can be multicellular
(D) are embryophytes
(E) can live in water

3. All life began in

(A) outer space
(B) a volcano
(C) the Sun
(D) the ocean
(E) On Pangea

4. The fact that charophytes and land plants share characteristics means that

(A) land plants evolved from charophytes
(B) land plants and charophytes shared a common ancestor
(C) all those traits evolved twice
(D) charophytes evolved from land plants
(E) the world works in mysterious ways

5. Which of these is NOT a similarity between land plants and charophytes?

(A) Sperm shape
(B) Protein in the cell walls
(C) Peroxisome enzymes
(D) DNA sequences
(E) Embryo development

Plant Colonization of Land Questions

1. Land plants share a common ancestor with

(A) cyanobacteria
(B) red algae
(C) brown algae
(D) yellow algae
(E) green algae


2. Plants are different from algae because

(A) plants produce enclosed embryos
(B) plants can photosynthesize and algae cannot
(C) plants are green and algae are not
(D) plants are eaten by humans and algae are not
(E) plants have alternation of generations

3. We know charophytes are most closely related to land plants because

(A) charophytes are the only green algae
(B) charophytes live on land
(C) charophytes share morphological, molecular, and structural traits with land plants
(D) scientists turned a charophyte into a land plant in the lab
(E) charophytes look more like land plants than algae


4. Benefits to living on land include all but

(A) brighter sunlight unfiltered by water
(B) no structural support
(C) more carbon dioxide
(D) mineral nutrients in the soil
(E) fewer organisms living on land and fewer potential enemies

5. Adaptations that evolved for living on land include all but

(A) cuticles
(B) photosynthesis
(C) vascular systems
(D) roots
(E) leaves

Plant Fossils Questions

1. Which of the following is NOT a macrofossil?

(A) Wood
(B) Leaves
(C) Roots
(D) Seeds
(E) Pollen

2. Where would you be most likely to find a fossil?

(A) In a valley that was once a lake
(B) Antarctica
(C) The North Pole
(D) The top layer of the ocean floor
(E) The top layer of sand on a beach

3. Which fossil would you be most likely to find, given the right tools?

(A) Leaves
(B) Pollen
(C) Roots
(D) Seeds
(E) Wood

4. Scientists can date fossils with

(A) algebra
(B) geometry
(C) radiometric dating
(D) spectroscopes
(E) speed dating

5. What is necessary for fossils to form?

(A) Water
(B) Layering of sediment
(C) Water and layering of sediment
(D) Carbon dioxide
(E) Dry conditions

Levels of Organization Questions

1. Phylogenetics tries to understand

(A) how plants within one species are related
(B) how genes got into plants in the first place
(C) the relationships between genera, families, and higher levels of organization
(D) what traits plants have
(E) why plants can photosynthesize and humans can’t

2. Which three groups make up the three domains of life?

(A) Bacteria, archaea, and plants
(B) Plants, fungi, and animals
(C) Bacteria, protists, and plants
(D) Bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes
(E) Archaea, eukaryotes, and fungi

3. Which level of organization is the most general?

(A) Species
(B) Genus
(C) Family
(D) Order
(E) Phylum

4. Taxonomy is the study of

(A) tax law
(B) the classification of organisms
(C) the plant species
(D) DNA
(E) families

5.Which of these would NOT be organized according to the biological use of taxonomy?

(A) Plants
(B) Animals
(C) Fungi
(D) Fossils
(E) Rocks

Bryophytes Questions

1. Bryophytes are different from other land plants because they

(A) have gametophytes as their dominant generation
(B) have no vascular system
(C) are seedless
(D) have both A and B
(E) have both B and C

2. Which reproductive unit does an individual bryophyte plant produce?

(A) Seed
(B) Spore
(C) Gametophyte
(D) Sporophyte
(E) Zygote

3. Which generation grows on top of the other?

(A) Gametophyte on top of sporophyte
(B) Sporophyte on top of gametophyte
(C) Zygote on top of gamete
(D) Gamete on top of zygote
(E) Bryophyte on top of sporophyte

4. Bryophytes do not have true roots. What do they use to anchor themselves to the ground?

(A) Cuticles
(B) Antheridia
(C) Spores
(D) Rhizoids
(E) Archegonia

5. Which structure holds sperm in bryophytes?

(A) Antheridium
(B) Archegonium
(C) Zygote
(D) Capsule
(E) Rhizoid

Seedless Vascular Plants Questions

1. The main reason that ferns, lycophytes, and horsetails grow taller than bryophytes is that they

(A) eat more Wheaties
(B) are more ambitious
(C) develop seeds
(D) Develop vascular systems
(E) live in wetter places

2. Vascular plants can obtain more nutrients from the ground because they have

(A) roots
(B) rhizoids
(C) leaves
(D) xylem
(E) phloem

3. Vascular plants can photosynthesize more because they have

(A) roots
(B) rhizoids
(C) leaves
(D) xylem
(E) phloem

4. What is a sporophyll?

(A) A plant that produces spores
(B) A leaf that produces spores
(C) A site where spores grow into new plants
(D) The plant that develops from a spore
(E) A person who loves spores

5. The two types of plants that comprise the seedless vascular plant group are the

(A) lycophytes and bryophytes
(B) sporophytes and lycophytes
(C) bryophtyes and pterophytes
(D) pterophytes and lycophytes
(E) pterophytes and sporophytes

Gymnosperms Questions

1. What is one advantage of having seeds instead of spores?

(A) Seeds are bigger than spores.
(B) Plants can produce more seeds than spores.
(C) Not as many animals eat seeds as spores.
(D) Seeds germinate faster.
(E) Seeds can store nutrients for the plant embryo.

2. Gymnosperm spores are different than seedless plants’ spores because

(A) gymnosperm spores are bigger
(B) seedless plant spores have less genetic information
(C) gymnosperm spores grow into seeds.
(D) seedless plant spores can go dormant.
(E) gymnosperm spores are either male or female.

3. Gymnosperms do not make fruits. What is a pine cone?

(A) A cluster of spore-bearing leaves called a strobilus.
(B) A cluster of gametophytes
(C) A cluster of sporophytes
(D) An extra structure pine trees make to attract animals to disperse their seeds
(E) An extra photosynthetic surface

4. Where are gymnosperm eggs found?

(A) Seeds
(B) Ovules
(C) Megaspores
(D) Pollen
(E) Microspores

5. Which of the following is true about gymnosperms?

(A) They are all extinct.
(B) They all bear cones.
(C) They all produce flowers.
(D) They only live in swamps.
(E) They do not produce fruits.

Angiosperms Questions

1. What is the main benefit of attracting animal pollinators?

(A) Plants finally have someone to drink all that nectar.
(B) Pollinators protect the plant from being eaten.
(C) Sperm do not have to wait long to reach the egg.
(D) Animals are better at delivering pollen than the wind is.
(E) Plants can make more pollen.

2. Which of the following groups does NOT belong in the angiosperms?

(A) Eudicots
(B) Magnoliids
(C) Lycophytes
(D) Monocots
(E) Basal angiosperms


3. Which of the following traits is NOT unique to seed plants?

(A) Heterospory
(B) Microscopic gametophytes
(C) Ovules
(D) Pollen
(E) Alternation of generations

4. Flowering plants attract pollinators with

(A) nectar
(B) scent
(C) bright colors
(D) all of the above
(E) none of the above

5. How many cotyledons do eudicots have?

(A) One
(B) Two
(C) Three
(D) Four
(E) Five

Plant Diversity Questions

1. When an ancestral range is divided into two, it is called

(A) convergent evolution
(B) vicariance
(C) adaptive radiation
(D) mass extinction
(E) none of the above

2. Adaptive radiations often happen

(A) on islands
(B) after mass extinctions
(C) after or during a change in climate
(D) all of the above
(E) Nnever

3. Which of the following statements is true?

(A) Similar climates can cause species that are not closely related to look the same.
(B) Adaptive radiations cause closely related species to become extinct.
(C) The continents have always been in their current positions.
(D) Continental drift makes the plants on each continent go through convergent evolution.
(E) Adaptive radiations always happen on islands.

4. Vicariance is NOT caused by

(A) a change in climate
(B) a river
(C) a mountain
(D) an ocean
(E) a lake

5. If you found fossils of a plant in both South America and Australia, but only found the living plant in South America, which of the following would be the best interpretation?

(A) Dinosaurs carried the plant from Australia to South America and planted it there.
(B) The plant occurred in both places when the continents were closer together at some point in the past, but natural selection did not favor the plant’s traits in Australia.
(C) There was adaptive radiation in Australia.
(D) Convergent evolution made the ancient plants similar.
(E) The plant’s seeds floated across the Pacific Ocean from Australia to South America.

Plant Predecessors Answers

1. The correct answer is (C).

Similar sperm is one of the pieces of evidence that charophytes are the closest relatives of land plants.

2. The correct answer is (D).

Plants produce embryos and protect them in enclosed spaces. Algae don’t do that.

3. The correct answer is (D).

Cyanobacteria lived on land 1.2 billion years ago, but before that, all life was in the ocean.

4. The correct answer is (B).

It would be incorrect to say that land plants evolved from charophytes because charophytes and plants have been evolving over the last few hundreds of millions of years. They share an ancestor, but since then, they have been evolving independently.

5. The correct answer is (E).

Plants protect their embryos; algae don’t protect their spores.

Plant Colonization of Land Answers

1. The correct answer is (E).

Land plants are most closely related to a group of green algae called the charophytes.

2. The correct answer is (A).

Algae have no true roots, stems, or leaves.

3. The correct answer is (C).

Charophytes are one type of green algae, they don’t live on land, and you can’t turn one organism into another, even in a lab.

4. The correct answer is (B).

Plants needed structural support when they moved to land because they didn’t have water surrounding them to hold them up.

5. The correct answer is (B).

Algae and cyanobacteria that lived in the ocean could photosynthesize without being on land.

Plant Fossils Answers

1. The correct answer is (E).

Pollen is a microfossil.

2. The correct answer is (A).

Places that were once rivers, lakes, or estuaries are good places to look for fossils, especially if they aren’t currently underwater.

3. The correct answer is (B).

There is so much pollen released into the air from wind-pollinated plants that it is the fossil you would most likely find.

4. The correct answer is (C).

Radiometric dating uses the half-life of isotopes to tell the ages of rocks.

5. The correct answer is (C).

These necessary conditions mean that fossils do not occur everywhere.

Levels of Organization Answers

1. The correct answer is (C).

Phylogenetics analyzes patterns in DNA to make connections between organisms as well as understand evolutionary relationships.

2. The correct answer is (D).

Plants, animals, and fungi are all eukaryotes.

3. The correct answer is (E).

All 290,000 plant species fit in 12 phlya.

4. The correct answer is (B).

Taxonomy organizes organisms into groups of related organisms.

5. The correct answer is (E).

While you could organize rocks into related groups, and people do, it falls outside the realm of biology.

Bryophytes Answers

1. The correct answer is (D).

Bryophytes are seedless, but so are ferns, horsetails, and lycophytes.

2. The correct answer is (B).

The sporophyte generation makes spores, not seeds. The gametophyte generation makes gametes that fuse to form a zygote, but an individual plant does not produce a zygote.

3. The correct answer is (B).

The added height helps the sporophyte release its spores into the air.

4. The correct answer is (D).

Rhizoids anchor bryophytes to the ground.

5. The correct answer is (A).

Antheridia are the male reproductive organs, and archegonia are the female reproductive organs.

Seedless Vascular Plants Answers

1. The correct answer is (D).

Vascular systems let seedless vascular plants carry water and nutrients farther up the plant body, allowing them to grow taller.

2. The correct answer is (A).

Bryophytes have rhizoids, not roots. Leaves and vascular tissue are important but do not help the plant obtain nutrients from the ground.

3. The correct answer is (C).

Leaves provide more area to catch the Sun’s rays, which means more photosynthesis and more food for the plant.

4. The correct answer is (B).

"Phyll" is not just a guy’s name. It also means "leaf."

5. The correct answer is (D).

These are the plants in the phyla Pterophyta and Lycophyta. They make both gametophytes and sporophytes in their alternation of generations lifestyle.

Gymnosperms Answers

1. The correct answer is (E).

Spores do not have extra tissue full of nutrients like seeds do.)

2. The correct answer is (E).

Male spores grow into male gametophytes, which produce sperm. Female spores grow into female gametophytes, which produce eggs.

3. The correct answer is (A).

Sporophyll is another name for spore-bearing leaf. A cone is a type of strobilus.

4. The correct answer is (B).

Eggs are gametes, and they are produced by gametophytes in the ovules.

5. The correct answer is (E).
Gymnosperm means "naked seed" because they do not protect their seeds in fruits like angiosperms do.

Angiosperms Answers

1. The correct answer is (D).

Since animals often "specialize in" one type of plant, plants with pollinators have much better odds of having their pollen meet an egg of the same species than plants that rely on the wind to transport their pollen. Because of this fact, animal-pollinated plants make less pollen than wind-pollinated plants.

2. The correct answer is (C).

Lycophytes are seedless vascular plants.

3. The correct answer is (E).

All land plants have alternation of generations.

4. The correct answer is (D).

Nectar, scents, and bright colors are all characteristics of flowers, and they all attract pollinators to the plant.

5. The correct answer is (B).
The "dicot" in "eudicot" is short for dicotyledon—di = two, + cotyledon.

Plant Diversity Answers

1. The correct answer is (B).

Some sort of geographic barrier divides a range for vicariance to occur.

2. The correct answer is (D).

All these options provide novel environmental conditions that favor evolution of new traits.

3. The correct answer is (A).

This process is called convergent evolution because two organisms that are not closely related converge onto one form.

4. The correct answer is (A).

Vicariance happens when a geographic barrier splits a species’ range.

5. The correct answer is (B).

Closely related plants are often found living on separate continents far away from each other due to continental drift.

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