SCI 135 - First Exam Fall 2021
Answer Key



On the line to the left, place the letter of the choice that best answers the question.

Three Points Each.               NOTE:  "e" answers are never the correct answer.


1.  The typical pathway of energy in a food chain:

___C___                    a.   Consumers, decomposers, producers

b.   Producers, decomposers, consumers

c.   Producers, consumers, decomposers

d.   Decomposers, producers, consumers

                                    e.   Red Bull, jittery student, you don’t want to know...

                        ...make the fuel, use the fuel, recycle the materials to make the fuel.


2.  Which confounding factor would be most associated with

___A___                    a.  Experimenter bias                                   b.  Statistical error

c.  Outside interference                                  d.  Null hypothesis

                                                e.   One with a post in it (but a modern one)

                        ...culture, upbringing is often where bias comes from.


3. Which is an example of spontaneous generation?

____D_____              a.  Baby snakes hatching from eggs

                        b.  Amebas dividing

c.  A scar forming where a wound was

d.  Snails forming from rocks on a stream bottom

                                    e.  I just know that my paycheck does something like the opposite...

               things from nonliving objects.


4. In modern university science, peer review usually involves

___B___                   a.  Research supervisors                              b.  Journal editors

c.  Laboratory colleagues                            d.  Fellow students

                                                                        e.  Bad habits

                        ...the review happens when trying to publish the results.


5. Which relationship “chain” is correct?

___D___                    a.  Tissues are in cells which are in organs

b.  Organs are in cells which are in tissues

c.  Organs are in tissues which are in cells

d.  Cells are in tissues which are in organs

                                    e.  Is it okay if I run screaming from the room?

                        ...that's just the order of complexity.


6.  Which would be a direct observation?

___B___                    a.   You see a cell through a microscope

                        b.   You hear a bird but can’t see it

c.   You read about a bright light seen in the sky last night

                                   d.   You listen to a friend’s story about how a skunk smells

                                    e.   You meet Quentin Tarantino?

               involves your own senses, and you did hear it.


7.   Which term is applied as “your idea is wrong”?

___C___                    a.   Negative proof                           b.  Confounding factor

c.   Null hypothesis                          d.  Anti-conclusion

                                                e.  A slap upside the head

                        ...match the term with the definition.


8.  In a test of new drugs, all test groups get the same basic treatment

in order to figure in the

___D___                    a.  Double blind                                b.  Treatment effect             

                                    c.  Patient effect                                d.  Placebo effect

                                                e.  Most ways to divert money  

                        ...the act of treating is what produces the effect.


9.  ATP is

___A___                    a.  An energy-carrying molecule   b.  A light-capturing molecule

            c.  A genetic coding molecule        d. All of these

                                               e.  Something new from Charmin-?

                        ...used virtually everywhere - stable enough to move around,
                              unstable enough to give energy up easily.


10.  Two isotopes of the same element would have

___B___                    a.  Different proton numbers but the same neutron numbers

b.  Different neutron numbers but the same proton numbers

c.  The same neutron and proton numbers

d.  Different neutron and proton numbers

                                    e.  The amazing ability to annoy everybody

                        ...can't change the protons and have the same element,
                             isotope comes only from shift in neutron number.


11. If an experiment requires subjects to rank the strength of a memory

                        from 1 to 5, they're being asked for

____D_____              a.  Qualitative data only

                                    b.  Quantitative data only
                                    c.  Quantitative data made into qualitative data

                                    d.  Qualitative data made into quantitative data

                                    e.  Some pretty silly stuff

                        ...forcing numbers onto something that doesn't naturally have that.


 12.  All of the energy-using chemical reactions in an organism are

                         combined in its

____C_____              a.  Overall weight                 b.  Respiration                 c.  Metabolism

                                    d.  Waste production                       e.  Icky, sticky messiness

                        ...match the definition to the term.


SHORT ANSWER.   Answer any eight of the following questions for 4 Points Each.

            Note:  if you answer more than eight, only the first eight will be corrected.

            You can get partial credit on these answers.


1.  What is the current, most generally accepted definition of what makes a group a species?   Group that only reproduces within that group under natural conditions.




2.  What are two basic categories of experimental models?

 Cell cultures



Computer Simulations 


3.  If a scientist believes that a group is not classified properly -

What are        Shift the classification

they easily             level.

allowed to do?

What are they      Change the

generally not      group's name.

allowed to do?



4.  Put this list in order so that each level contains the previous one - community, ecosystem, population.


1  Population


2  Community




5.  What are the energy sources for -






6.  What defines a colonial organism (unicellular or otherwise)?

      Species where individuals can live on their own but don't - they live in groups where different individuals do different jobs. 



7.  Briefly, why are radicals so potentially damaging in cells?

    They have empty spots in their (unfilled) outer electron orbits, which makes them unstable and really really reactive. 



8.  In cladistics, what determines the “splits” in family trees?


 Appearance of some defining feature.



9.  Put the following groups in order from the largest to the smallest:  Class, Family, Genus, Kingdom, Order, Phylum, Species, Suborder, Superclass.


1  Kingdom


4  Class


7  Family


2  Phylum


5  Order


8  Genus


3  Superclass


6  Suborder


9  Species

10.   What does “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” mean?

    An embryo during development (ontogeny) replays / relives (recapitulates) its evolutionary family tree (phylogeny).



11.  What has the strongest driving influence on Natural Selection? (What part of “Nature”?  Conditions, especially changing conditions.



12.  What gets compared to do the measurements of a molecular clock?

             Point mutations, little "spot" changes in DNA.



13.  Why does carbon dating not work reliably on things over 60,000 years old?

         It looks for remaining radioactive carbon, and by then there isn't enough left to reliably measure. 



14.  In an experiment, what is an artifact?


       It's a result not from your variable but from some piece of how you set the test up - it's a bad thing.



15.  What, technically, is a gene?


     A stretch of DNA that codes for a particular protein.


16.  What are two ways to lower the effects that pure chance will have on a experiment's results?


 Many test subjects



Repeat the test many times






Answer any four of the following questions for Eight Points Each.

Note:  if you answer more than four, only the first four will be corrected.

            You can get partial credit on these answers.

1.  Answer for sexual reproduction -

BASIC                     Offspring are a genetic mix from 2 sources
           (Does not require 2 parents or male-female mating)

STRENGTH            Much more variation in offspring
(COMPARED          (Good when responding to changing conditions)

WEAKNESS           Can't actually make copies of well-adapted individuals
(COMPARED           (Not actually reproduction)


2.  Give two different rules that apply to each specifically in binomial nomenclature:


The Genus name

Always capitalized


Means nothing
by itself

Never capitalized


Considered "foreign" -
italicized or underlined

Abbreviated with first
initial and second word





3.  All for the most common isotope –

How many protons?

19 - matches Atomic Number




Number 19

Column 1


How many neutrons?
20 - rounded-off weight minus the protons


How many

electrons? (Uncharged form)
19 - Balances out protons by charge

Typical ion form?

+1 for column 1

(dumps off "extra" electron)


4.  When biologists are trying to decide whether viruses are truly alive, these are important:



Two traits viruses have IN COMMON with all living things.



Organization, Reproduction, Evolution







Two traits all living things should have that all viruses do not.



Cells, interact with environment, metabolism, growth and development







5.  What are four basic features that all living things are supposed to have?



 See list for viruses (oops).












2.  For four of the six basic Kingdoms of Life, give the name of the Kingdom and enough features to clearly set that Kingdom's members apart from those of the other five.


Prokaryotes found in most "normal" environments


Prokaryotes found mostly in "extreme" environments


Eukaryotes, single-celled or very simple multicelled algae


Eukaryotes, multi-celled photosynthesizers

Eukaryotes, multi-celled, digest and absorb from internal spaces.  Usually can move.

Eukaryotes, usually multi-celled, digest and absorb across outer surface.  Usually a network of thin fibers.






7.  Answer the following about classic Scientific Method:



Two features a good

hypothesis should have


 Predictive / you can make predictions with it


Testable (using your predictions) 



Role served by the

experimental variable


 It's what's being tested, changes between tests to puzzle out what it's doing.



Purpose of the control



 Comparison test with the variable altered, should have corresponding difference in results.


BONUS QUESTIONS.  Answer as many as you are able.  Wrong answers will not result in points being lost from the main exam.   You can get partial credit on these answers.


Why should having had COVID (the actual virus) be more immunologically protective than getting the current vaccines?  Three Points.




Diseases that have just moved into humans generally start out really nasty but get much milder over time.  Why?  Three Points.




How does sexual selection happen with asexual reproducers?  Three Points.




Briefly, what is wrong with saying that your results proved your hypothesis?




What’s the important change in a classic control test?  Three Points.




What used to be the common language of science?  Three Points.



What was Linnaeus’ field of study, other than classification?  Three Points.



Give an example of convergent evolution.  Three Points.



The older 5-Kingdom System used as an introduction has been replaced with a newer 6-Kingdom System.  What’s the new one?  Three Points.



Mendeleev, the Periodic Table guy – where was he from?  Three Points.


SCI 135 

Michael McDarby