The Story of the Living Machine Trivia Questions and Answers

What is the central argument of The Story of the Living Machine?

  • The living body is a complex machine.
  • The cell is the fundamental unit of life.
  • Evolution is a gradual process.
  • All of the above.

Correct Answer: All of the above.

Correct Answer Explanation: The Story of the Living Machine presents a comprehensive perspective on the living body as a complex machine. It delves into the intricate workings of the cell, highlighting its vital role in life’s processes. It also examines the theory of evolution, emphasizing the gradual development of complex organisms from simpler ones.

What analogy does H.W. Conn use to explain how the living body functions?

  • A clock
  • A steam engine
  • A computer
  • A bicycle

Correct Answer: A steam engine

Correct Answer Explanation: Conn draws a comparison between the living body and a steam engine, both of which transform energy from one form to another. The steam engine burns fuel to generate mechanical energy, while the body oxidizes food to fuel its various functions.

According to Conn, what are the three key components of the cell?

  • Protoplasm, nucleus, and centrosome
  • Cell wall, cytoplasm, and nucleus
  • Nucleus, mitochondria, and Golgi apparatus
  • Ribosomes, endoplasmic reticulum, and lysosomes

Correct Answer: Protoplasm, nucleus, and centrosome

Correct Answer Explanation: Conn identifies protoplasm, nucleus, and centrosome as the essential components of the cell. Protoplasm is the substance of life, the nucleus contains the hereditary material, and the centrosome plays a role in cell division.

What is the primary driving force behind the evolution of life according to Conn?

  • Natural selection
  • Genetic drift
  • Mutation
  • All of the above

Correct Answer: All of the above

Correct Answer Explanation: Conn emphasizes the combined roles of natural selection, genetic drift, and mutations in shaping the evolution of life. Natural selection favors organisms with traits that enhance their survival and reproduction. Genetic drift introduces random changes in gene frequencies. And mutations provide the raw material for evolution by altering genetic sequences.

How does Conn explain the evolution of complex organisms?

  • The accumulation of variations and the selection of the fittest traits
  • The inheritance of acquired characters
  • The sudden emergence of new species
  • A combination of divine intervention and natural processes

Correct Answer: The accumulation of variations and the selection of the fittest traits.

Correct Answer Explanation: Conn argues that evolution is a gradual process where small variations accumulate over time, and those traits that provide an advantage in survival and reproduction are more likely to be passed on to future generations. This process of natural selection shapes the development of complex organisms from simpler ones.

What is the significance of the cell’s ability to reproduce?

  • It allows for the creation of new organisms.
  • It enables the repair and growth of tissues.
  • It perpetuates life by passing on genetic information.
  • All of the above.

Correct Answer: All of the above.

Correct Answer Explanation: The cell’s ability to reproduce is crucial for various reasons. It enables the creation of new organisms, facilitates tissue repair and growth, and ensures the perpetuation of life by passing on genetic information from one generation to the next.

What is the primary function of the nucleus in the cell?

  • To provide energy for the cell.
  • To store genetic information.
  • To regulate the flow of materials in and out of the cell.
  • To manufacture proteins.

Correct Answer: To store genetic information.

Correct Answer Explanation: The nucleus acts as the cell’s control center, housing the chromosomes, which carry the genetic information necessary for the cell’s functions and for passing on traits to future generations.

What is the difference between congenital variations and acquired variations?

  • Congenital variations are inherited, while acquired variations are developed during an individual’s lifetime.
  • Congenital variations are acquired from the environment, while acquired variations are inherited from parents.
  • Congenital variations are harmful, while acquired variations are beneficial.
  • Congenital variations are rare, while acquired variations are common.

Correct Answer: Congenital variations are inherited, while acquired variations are developed during an individual’s lifetime.

Correct Answer Explanation: Conn distinguishes between two types of variations: congenital variations, which are inherited from parents, and acquired variations, which result from the individual’s experiences and interactions with the environment. For example, congenital variations might include eye color or hair color, while acquired variations might include muscle growth from exercise or scars from injuries.

How does migration affect the evolution of species?

  • It can lead to the isolation of populations, which can result in the development of new traits.
  • It allows organisms to adapt to new environments and develop new features.
  • It can increase genetic diversity by introducing new genes into a population.
  • All of the above.

Correct Answer: All of the above

Correct Answer Explanation: Migration plays a crucial role in evolution by facilitating the separation of populations, allowing organisms to adapt to new environments, and increasing genetic diversity. When populations are isolated, they may develop unique traits due to different selection pressures and genetic drift. Migration can also introduce new genes into a population, enhancing its genetic diversity and potential for adaptation.

How does the environment directly influence the evolution of organisms?

  • Changes in the environment can lead to variations in organisms.
  • It can select for traits that enhance survival in specific environments.
  • It can force organisms to adapt to new conditions and develop new features.
  • All of the above.

Correct Answer: All of the above

Correct Answer Explanation: Conn emphasizes the direct influence of the environment on evolution. Changes in the environment, such as climate shifts or the introduction of new predators, can lead to variations in organisms, select for traits that enhance survival in specific environments, and force organisms to adapt to new conditions and develop new features.

How does consciousness influence evolution?

  • It can lead to social behaviors and adaptations that influence the selection of certain traits.
  • It enables organisms to make conscious choices that shape their evolution.
  • It allows organisms to anticipate changes in the environment and adapt accordingly.
  • All of the above.

Correct Answer: It can lead to social behaviors and adaptations that influence the selection of certain traits.

Correct Answer Explanation: Conn recognizes the indirect influence of consciousness on evolution. While organisms cannot consciously direct their evolution, their consciousness can lead to social behaviors and adaptations that influence the selection of certain traits. For example, the antelope’s consciousness of danger can lead to the development of running speed as a survival adaptation.

What is the primary source of evidence for the history of life on Earth?

  • Fossils
  • Genetic analysis
  • Direct observation of evolution in action
  • All of the above.

Correct Answer: Fossils

Correct Answer Explanation: Fossils provide the most direct evidence for the history of life on Earth. They allow scientists to trace the evolution of organisms over millions of years, revealing the gradual changes in their form and structure.

How does embryological development provide insights into evolution?

  • Embryological development often mirrors evolutionary history.
  • It shows how organisms develop from a single cell into complex individuals.
  • It reveals the similarities and differences between the embryos of different species.
  • All of the above.

Correct Answer: All of the above.

Correct Answer Explanation: Embryological development provides a window into evolutionary history. The stages of embryonic development often mirror the evolutionary history of organisms, revealing similarities and differences between the embryos of different species. This parallelism supports the concept of common ancestry and provides evidence for the gradual evolution of complex organisms from simpler ones.

What do homologies reveal about the evolutionary relationships between species?

  • Homologies indicate shared ancestry and common evolutionary origins.
  • They highlight the similarities in the structure of different species.
  • They show how organisms adapt to different environments.
  • All of the above.

Correct Answer: All of the above

Correct Answer Explanation: Homologies, similarities in the structure of organisms, provide evidence for shared ancestry and common evolutionary origins. They reveal the underlying relationships between different species, indicating that they descended from a common ancestor. This evidence supports the concept of evolution and the gradual diversification of life.

What is the fundamental difference between protoplasm and a machine?

  • Protoplasm is a living substance, while a machine is inanimate.
  • Protoplasm is a simple chemical compound, while a machine is a complex assembly of parts.
  • Protoplasm is a static substance, while a machine is dynamic and constantly changing.
  • Protoplasm is a homogeneous substance, while a machine is heterogeneous.

Correct Answer: Protoplasm is a living substance, while a machine is inanimate.

Correct Answer Explanation: While Conn argues that the body can be understood as a machine, he acknowledges the fundamental difference between protoplasm, the substance of life, and a machine. Protoplasm possesses the properties of life, including the ability to reproduce, grow, and adapt. A machine, in contrast, is inanimate and lacks these inherent qualities.

What is the significance of the conservation of energy in the context of the living body?

  • It explains why the body requires food to function.
  • It demonstrates that the body cannot create energy but only transforms it.
  • It highlights the similarity between the body’s energy conversion and that of a steam engine.
  • All of the above.

Correct Answer: All of the above

Correct Answer Explanation: The principle of the conservation of energy is central to Conn’s argument about the living body as a machine. The body, just like a steam engine, cannot create energy but only transforms it from one form to another. This explains why the body requires food as a source of energy and highlights the similarities between the body’s energy conversion processes and those of machines.

What is the main reason why the origin of life remains a mystery?

  • The first living cells were incredibly simple and lacked any defining features.
  • The earliest fossils have been destroyed by geological processes.
  • The conditions on early Earth were too hostile for life to emerge.
  • Scientists have not yet been able to recreate the conditions that existed at the time life arose.

Correct Answer: Scientists have not yet been able to recreate the conditions that existed at the time life arose.

Correct Answer Explanation: While significant progress has been made in understanding the mechanisms of life, the origin of the first living cell remains a fundamental mystery. Scientists have not yet been able to recreate the conditions that existed on early Earth, making it difficult to definitively understand how life arose.

What is the simplest known form of life?

  • A bacterium
  • A virus
  • A cell
  • A molecule

Correct Answer: A cell

Correct Answer Explanation: The cell is considered the simplest known form of life, capable of carrying out all the essential functions of living organisms. While viruses are incredibly complex, they are not considered living organisms because they lack the capacity for independent reproduction and metabolism.

What percentage of the energy in coal is converted into motive power in a steam engine?

  • 1/15th
  • 1/10th
  • 1/5th
  • 1/2

Correct Answer: 1/15th

Correct Answer Explanation: Conn highlights the inefficiency of man-made machines compared to the body’s energy conversion. He notes that only 1/15th of the energy in coal is converted into motive power in a steam engine, while the body is remarkably efficient in transforming energy from food into various forms of work, heat, and other functions.

How many offspring can a single unicellular organism produce in 24 hours?

  • 16 million
  • 16 thousand
  • 16 hundred
  • 16

Correct Answer: 16 million

Correct Answer Explanation: The remarkable reproductive capacity of living organisms is illustrated by the fact that a single unicellular organism can produce 16 million offspring in just 24 hours. This exponential growth potential underscores the power of reproduction in driving the evolution and diversification of life.

If allowed to breed unhindered for 750 years, how many offspring could an elephant produce?

  • 19 million
  • 19 thousand
  • 19 hundred
  • 19

Correct Answer: 19 million

Correct Answer Explanation: Conn uses the example of the elephant to illustrate the exponential nature of reproduction and its impact on population growth. If allowed to breed unhindered for 750 years, an elephant could produce a staggering 19 million offspring. This illustrates the power of reproduction in shaping the size and distribution of populations over time.

What is the significance of the constant number of chromosomes in the cells of a species?

  • It ensures that offspring inherit the same number of chromosomes as their parents.
  • It provides a mechanism for genetic diversity.
  • It allows for the development of new traits in a species.
  • It explains why different species have different numbers of chromosomes.

Correct Answer: It ensures that offspring inherit the same number of chromosomes as their parents.

Correct Answer Explanation: The constant number of chromosomes in the cells of a species is a crucial aspect of heredity. It ensures that offspring inherit the same number of chromosomes as their parents, maintaining the genetic integrity of the species.

Where do the chromosomes in a fertilized egg come from?

  • They are derived from both parents.
  • They are created anew by the egg.
  • They are inherited only from the mother.
  • They are inherited only from the father.

Correct Answer: They are derived from both parents.

Correct Answer Explanation: During fertilization, the egg and sperm each contribute half of the chromosomes to the offspring. This ensures that genetic material from both parents is inherited, contributing to the unique genetic makeup of each individual.

What is the role of protoplasm in the cell?

  • It is the substance of life, containing all the essential components for cell function.
  • It provides structure and support for the cell.
  • It regulates the flow of materials in and out of the cell.
  • It manufactures proteins for the cell.

Correct Answer: It is the substance of life, containing all the essential components for cell function.

Correct Answer Explanation: Conn describes protoplasm as the substance of life, containing the intricate machinery necessary for the cell’s functions. It is not simply a homogeneous substance but a complex and dynamic entity that enables the cell to carry out all the processes essential for life.

What is the function of the nucleus in the cell?

  • It controls the cell’s activities and stores genetic information.
  • It provides energy for the cell.
  • It manufactures proteins for the cell.
  • It regulates the flow of materials in and out of the cell.

Correct Answer: It controls the cell’s activities and stores genetic information.

Correct Answer Explanation: The nucleus is the cell’s control center, containing the chromosomes, which carry the genetic information that determines the cell’s functions and traits. It also plays a crucial role in regulating the cell’s activities and ensuring the proper functioning of the organism.

What is the function of the centrosome in the cell?

  • It plays a role in cell division.
  • It provides energy for the cell.
  • It manufactures proteins for the cell.
  • It regulates the flow of materials in and out of the cell.

Correct Answer: It plays a role in cell division.

Correct Answer Explanation: The centrosome is a small organelle in the cell that plays a crucial role in cell division. It helps to organize the microtubules that form the spindle fibers, which are essential for separating the chromosomes during cell division.

What is the process by which a cell replicates?

  • Cell division
  • Mitosis
  • Meiosis
  • All of the above

Correct Answer: All of the above

Correct Answer Explanation: Cell division is the process by which a cell replicates, resulting in two daughter cells. This process is essential for growth, repair, and reproduction in living organisms. The two main types of cell division are mitosis and meiosis.

What is the meaning of the term “evolution”?

  • The gradual process of change in organisms over time.
  • The sudden appearance of new species.
  • The inheritance of acquired characters.
  • The development of organisms from inanimate matter.

Correct Answer: The gradual process of change in organisms over time.

Correct Answer Explanation: Evolution is a fundamental concept in biology, referring to the gradual process of change in organisms over time. This change occurs through various mechanisms, including natural selection, genetic drift, and mutation.

What is the role of natural selection in evolution?

  • It favors organisms with traits that enhance their survival and reproduction.
  • It drives the random changes in gene frequencies.
  • It creates new variations in a population.
  • It ensures that all organisms are equally fit for their environment.

Correct Answer: It favors organisms with traits that enhance their survival and reproduction.

Correct Answer Explanation: Natural selection is a key force in evolution, favoring organisms with traits that make them better adapted to their environment. These organisms are more likely to survive, reproduce, and pass on their advantageous traits to future generations, leading to the gradual evolution of species.

What is the meaning of the term “heredity”?

  • The transmission of traits from parents to offspring.
  • The development of new traits in an organism.
  • The process of cell division.
  • The direct influence of the environment on an organism.

Correct Answer: The transmission of traits from parents to offspring.

Correct Answer Explanation: Heredity is the process by which traits are passed from parents to offspring. It is the foundation of genetics and explains the similarities between parents and their children.

What is the meaning of the term “variation”?

  • Differences in traits between organisms within a species.
  • The gradual process of change in organisms over time.
  • The development of new species.
  • The transmission of traits from parents to offspring.

Correct Answer: Differences in traits between organisms within a species.

Correct Answer Explanation: Variation refers to the differences in traits between organisms within a species. These variations are the raw material for evolution, providing the differences that natural selection can act upon.

What is the meaning of the term “homology”?

  • Similarities in the structure of organisms that indicate shared ancestry.
  • Differences in traits between organisms within a species.
  • The gradual process of change in organisms over time.
  • The development of new species.

Correct Answer: Similarities in the structure of organisms that indicate shared ancestry.

Correct Answer Explanation: Homologies are similarities in the structure of organisms that indicate shared ancestry. They provide evidence for the common descent of different species and support the concept of evolution.

How does the steam engine serve as an analogy for the living body?

  • It illustrates the mechanical nature of the body’s functions, such as energy conversion.
  • It shows how the body can use different types of fuel to generate energy.
  • It highlights the importance of complex machinery for the body’s operation.
  • All of the above.

Correct Answer: All of the above.

Correct Answer Explanation: Conn uses the steam engine as a model to illustrate the mechanical nature of the body’s functions. He compares the burning of fuel in the engine to the oxidation of food in the body, and the engine’s mechanism to the body’s complex systems for energy conversion. This analogy emphasizes the shared principles of energy transformation and the importance of complex machinery in both man-made and biological systems.

How does the cell serve as an example of a complex machine within the body?

  • It highlights the specialized parts and their roles in vital processes.
  • It illustrates the importance of complex machinery for the body’s operation.
  • It demonstrates the dynamic nature of living systems.
  • All of the above.

Correct Answer: All of the above.

Correct Answer Explanation: Conn uses the cell as a prime example of a complex machine within the body, highlighting its specialized parts and their roles in vital processes. He emphasizes the intricate machinery within the cell, including protoplasm, nucleus, and centrosome, and their contributions to vital functions such as cell division, reproduction, and energy conversion.

How does the fertilized egg serve as an example of the mechanics of heredity?

  • It shows how genetic material from both parents is combined to form the offspring.
  • It illustrates the process of cell division and the creation of new cells.
  • It demonstrates the importance of the nucleus for storing genetic information.
  • All of the above.

Correct Answer: All of the above

Correct Answer Explanation: The fertilization of the egg is used to illustrate the mechanics of heredity, showing how genetic material from both parents is combined to form the offspring. It also highlights the process of cell division and the creation of new cells, as well as the importance of the nucleus for storing genetic information.

How does the evolution of the horse’s toes serve as an example of the influence of use and disuse on the development of organisms?

  • It shows how the reduction of toes was advantageous for running on open grasslands.
  • It illustrates how the environment can select for specific traits in a species.
  • It demonstrates the gradual nature of evolutionary change.
  • All of the above.

Correct Answer: All of the above

Correct Answer Explanation: Conn uses the evolution of the horse, with its gradual reduction of toes, as evidence for the influence of use and disuse on the development of organisms. He argues that the reduction of toes was advantageous for running on open grasslands, and this trait was selected for by the environment. This example illustrates the gradual nature of evolutionary change, where small variations accumulate over time to produce significant changes in a species.

How does the example of the antelope and the lion illustrate the indirect influence of consciousness on the selection of traits?

  • It shows how the antelope’s consciousness of danger led to the development of running speed.
  • It highlights how predator-prey interactions can drive evolutionary change.
  • It demonstrates the importance of social behaviors for survival.
  • All of the above.

Correct Answer: All of the above

Correct Answer Explanation: This example shows how consciousness can indirectly influence the selection of traits. The antelope’s consciousness of danger leads to the development of running speed as a survival adaptation. This demonstrates how predator-prey interactions can drive evolutionary change, as well as the importance of social behaviors for survival.

How does the blacksmith’s arm serve as an example of the effect of use on the size and strength of muscles?

  • It shows how specific activities can lead to the development of specialized traits.
  • It illustrates the plasticity of the body and its ability to adapt to different demands.
  • It demonstrates the importance of exercise for muscle growth and development.
  • All of the above.

Correct Answer: All of the above

Correct Answer Explanation: This example demonstrates the effect of use on the size and strength of muscles. The blacksmith’s arm, strengthened by constant use, illustrates how specific activities can lead to the development of specialized traits, highlighting the plasticity of the body and its ability to adapt to different demands. It also emphasizes the importance of exercise for muscle growth and development.

How does the example of a population of organisms with a specific trait migrating to a new area explain the role of migration and isolation in evolution?

  • It shows how migration can lead to the fixation of new traits in a population.
  • It highlights the importance of geographic isolation for the development of new species.
  • It demonstrates how new environments can select for different traits.
  • All of the above.

Correct Answer: All of the above

Correct Answer Explanation: Conn uses the example of a population of organisms with a specific trait migrating to a new area to explain how these factors can lead to the fixation of new traits. Migration can separate populations, leading to different selection pressures and genetic drift, which can result in the fixation of new traits. This example also highlights the importance of geographic isolation for the development of new species, as isolated populations can evolve independently and accumulate distinct traits.

How does the printing press serve as an analogy for the importance of heredity in preserving variations and allowing for progress in evolution?

  • It shows how printing allows for the transmission of knowledge from generation to generation.
  • It highlights the importance of preserving and transmitting information for progress.
  • It demonstrates how variations can be passed on and accumulated over time.
  • All of the above.

Correct Answer: All of the above

Correct Answer Explanation: This analogy highlights the importance of heredity in preserving variations and allowing for progress in evolution. Just as printing allows for the transmission of knowledge from generation to generation, heredity ensures the transmission of traits. This allows for the accumulation of variations over time, leading to the development of new features and adaptations in a species.

How does the concept of a city serve as an illustration of the organization of cells in multicellular organisms?

  • It compares the various functions of the city to the specialized roles of cells in the body.
  • It highlights the importance of communication and coordination between different parts of the organism.
  • It demonstrates the hierarchical organization of cells in a multicellular organism.
  • All of the above.

Correct Answer: All of the above

Correct Answer Explanation: Conn compares the various functions of the city to the specialized roles of cells in the body. This analogy highlights the importance of communication and coordination between different parts of the organism, as well as the hierarchical organization of cells in a multicellular organism.

How does the example of the hunter and the metropolis clarify the difference between individual cells and the organization of cells in a multicellular organism?

  • It shows that the egg contains the potential for the full organism, just as a single hunter does not contain the entirety of a metropolis within himself.
  • It emphasizes the complexity of multicellular organisms and the need for specialized cells.
  • It highlights the importance of cooperation and coordination between different cells in a multicellular organism.
  • All of the above.

Correct Answer: All of the above

Correct Answer Explanation: Conn argues that the egg contains the potential for the full organism, just as a single hunter does not contain the entirety of a metropolis within himself. This example clarifies the difference between individual cells and the organization of cells in a multicellular organism, emphasizing the complexity of multicellular organisms and the need for specialized cells that cooperate and coordinate to form a functional whole.

What is the main takeaway from The Story of the Living Machine?

  • The living organism is a complex, intricate machine.
  • Evolution is a gradual process shaped by natural selection and other forces.
  • The cell is the fundamental unit of life and its origin remains a mystery.
  • All of the above.

Correct Answer: All of the above.

Correct Answer Explanation: The Story of the Living Machine offers a groundbreaking perspective on the living organism as a complex, intricate machine. Conn masterfully weaves together the principles of evolution, the conservation of energy, and the intricate workings of the cell to present a compelling picture of life. While acknowledging the limitations of our understanding, Conn emphasizes the remarkable progress made in biology, particularly in the understanding of the cell and its role in reproduction and heredity. He also underscores the enduring mystery surrounding the origin of life and the challenges of explaining the fundamental properties of the living machine. This book serves as a testament to the enduring quest to understand the nature of life through the lens of scientific inquiry.

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