Knowledge Survey Questions - Paleobiology

Bloom's Taxonomy Level - 2

  • What characteristics define a "fossil?"
  • Provide evidence for evolution, using both modern and ancient examples.

Bloom's Taxonomy Level - 3

  • Describe the major anatomical features that distinguish among the common invertebrate phyla represented in the fossil record.
  • Describe cladistics, and explain why is it important to identify monophyletic groups.
  • Explain why it is important to study evolution in a phylogenetic framework.
  • Explain how a single morphological character can be either a synapomorphy or a symplesiomorphy to a cladist.
  • Compare and contrast gradualistic vs. punctuated modes / patterns of evolution.
  • Describe the features that link Phylum Echinodermata to Phylum Chordata.

Bloom's Taxonomy Level - 4

  • Explain why taphonomic analysis is a critical first step in the study of paleobiological / paleoecological questions.
  • Design a figure that illustrates morphological change over time.
  • Describe how predation has played a role in evolution.

Bloom's Taxonomy Level - 5

  • Design a study that explores the timing/mode (e.g., gradual vs. abrupt) of mass extinctions in the rock record.

Bloom's Taxonomy Level - 6

  • Design a study that explores and reveals the general conditions conducive to fossilization.
  • Evaluate the role that extinction plays in evolution.