The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication Trivia Questions and Answers

Which of these animals did Darwin believe were likely descended from multiple wild species?

  • Horses
  • Dogs
  • Sheep
  • All of the above

Correct Answer: All of the above

Correct Answer Explanation: Darwin believed that many domesticated species, including dogs, pigs, and cattle, likely originated from multiple wild species, which were then crossed and further modified by artificial selection.

What phenomenon did Darwin describe as the tendency for offspring to exhibit traits from their grandparents or more distant ancestors?

  • Atavism
  • Prepotency
  • Bud-variation
  • Sexual Selection

Correct Answer: Atavism

Correct Answer Explanation: Darwin identified reversion (or atavism) as a crucial mechanism in the formation of new varieties. He demonstrates how offspring can exhibit traits from their grandparents or even more distant ancestors, a phenomenon particularly evident in the appearance of blue plumage with characteristic markings in crossed pigeons.

Darwin argued that the increased use of organs, like muscles, strengthens them, while disuse weakens them. This concept is known as:

  • Atavism
  • Natural Selection
  • Use and Disuse
  • Bud-variation

Correct Answer: Use and Disuse

Correct Answer Explanation: Darwin posits that the increased use of organs, like muscles, strengthens them, while disuse weakens them. He explores the evidence of this phenomenon in domesticated animals, particularly those with reduced organs of flight due to their confinement.

Which of these is NOT a key finding in Darwin’s “Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication”?

  • Domesticated animals and plants often revert to ancestral traits.
  • Artificial selection is a powerful force that can shape the characteristics of organisms.
  • Natural selection is the primary driver of evolution in domesticated species.
  • The use and disuse of organs can lead to evolutionary changes.

Correct Answer: Natural selection is the primary driver of evolution in domesticated species.

Correct Answer Explanation: While natural selection is a powerful force in evolution, Darwin’s book focuses on artificial selection, the intentional selection by humans to breed for desired traits. While natural selection plays a role, Darwin’s primary focus is on how human intervention can shape the evolution of domesticated species.

What is the most likely ancestor of the domestic pigeon?

  • The rock pigeon
  • The mourning dove
  • The wood pigeon
  • The carrier pigeon

Correct Answer: The rock pigeon

Correct Answer Explanation: All domestic pigeons are descended from the rock pigeon, Columba livia, or its closely-related sub-species.

Which of these breeds of pig has undergone significant changes in head shape in less than 30 years?

  • Berkshire
  • Duroc
  • Yorkshire
  • Hampshire

Correct Answer: Yorkshire

Correct Answer Explanation: The Yorkshire breed of pig has undergone significant changes in head shape in less than 30 years. The presence of just 1/32 of Sus indicus blood can noticeably alter the skull of Sus scrofa.

What is the average weight of a sweet orange?

  • 1 ounce
  • 1 pound
  • 5 pounds
  • 10 pounds

Correct Answer: 5 pounds

Correct Answer Explanation: The average weight of a sweet orange can be more than 2000 times the weight of the smallest variety.

Which of these plants is NOT believed to be descended from a single species?

  • Wheat
  • Cabbage
  • Maize
  • Grapes

Correct Answer: Cabbage

Correct Answer Explanation: The varieties of cabbage are highly variable in their leaves and stems but show little variation in their flowers, seed-pods, and seeds. It is believed that multiple species may have contributed to the diversity of cabbage.

What is the most likely ancestor of the domestic goat?

  • Capra ægagrus
  • Ovis aries
  • Bos taurus
  • Equus caballus

Correct Answer: Capra ægagrus

Correct Answer Explanation: Domestic goats likely originated from Capra ægagrus, possibly crossed with the Indian Capra falconeri.

Which of these is NOT a type of artificial selection?

  • Methodical Selection
  • Unconscious Selection
  • Natural Selection
  • Sexual Selection

Correct Answer: Natural Selection

Correct Answer Explanation: Natural selection is the process by which organisms better adapted to their environment survive and reproduce more successfully, leading to the gradual evolution of species. Artificial selection is the intentional breeding of organisms for specific traits, often without regard for their fitness in the wild.

Which of these is a key difference between domesticated dogs and wild canines?

  • Domestic dogs are much larger than wild canines.
  • Domestic dogs have a different number of chromosomes than wild canines.
  • Domestic dogs are more easily trained than wild canines.
  • Domestic dogs have a different social structure than wild canines.

Correct Answer: Domestic dogs are more easily trained than wild canines.

Correct Answer Explanation: Domestic dogs have been selectively bred for centuries to be more cooperative and responsive to human commands, leading to their increased trainability compared to wild canines.

Which of these is NOT a common example of a domesticated animal in Darwin’s book?

  • Horse
  • Chicken
  • Cat
  • Pig

Correct Answer: Cat

Correct Answer Explanation: While cats have been domesticated, Darwin’s book focuses on animals that were domesticated before the 1800s, and cats were not domesticated until later.

Which of these is NOT a common example of a domesticated plant in Darwin’s book?

  • Wheat
  • Cabbage
  • Potato
  • Rice

Correct Answer: Rice

Correct Answer Explanation: Darwin’s book covers the domestication of plants primarily in Europe and the Americas, and rice was domesticated independently in Asia.

What is the largest breed of domestic fowl?

  • Cochin
  • Brahma
  • Wyandotte
  • Rhode Island Red

Correct Answer: Cochin

Correct Answer Explanation: Cochin fowls can weigh up to 17 pounds. The comb of a Red-cap fowl can be more than 3 inches in breadth and 4 inches in length. The skull of a black-boned Silk fowl is twice as large as that of Gallus bankiva.

Which of these is a breed of sheep known for its extraordinarily large fat deposit on its tail?

  • Merino
  • Dorset
  • Texel
  • Fat-tailed

Correct Answer: Fat-tailed

Correct Answer Explanation: The fat-tailed sheep of the plains of India have an extraordinarily large mass of fat on their tails.

What is the most likely ancestor of the domestic turkey?

  • The wild turkey
  • The guinea fowl
  • The pheasant
  • The peacock

Correct Answer: The wild turkey

Correct Answer Explanation: The domestic turkey is derived from a Mexican wild species.

What is the name of the species that most European silkworms belong to?

  • Bombyx mori
  • Antheraea polyphemus
  • Hyalophora cecropia
  • Saturnia pyri

Correct Answer: Bombyx mori

Correct Answer Explanation: Several species of silkworms are domesticated, but most European silkworms are believed to be of the same species (Bombyx mori).

What is the name of the breed of cattle known for its exceptionally long horns?

  • Hereford
  • Angus
  • Brahman
  • Bechuana

Correct Answer: Bechuana

Correct Answer Explanation: The horns of Bechuana cattle can be as long as 8 ft 8 1/4 in. (measured in a straight line) and 13 ft 5 in. (measured along their curvature).

Which of these is a type of cabbage with an enlarged, turnip-like stem?

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Broccoli

Correct Answer: Kohlrabi

Correct Answer Explanation: The Kohlrabi or choux-raves are a type of cabbage with enlarged, turnip-like stems.

Which of these is a type of pea known for its thin pods that are eaten whole?

  • Snow peas
  • Sugar peas
  • Snap peas
  • English peas

Correct Answer: Sugar peas

Correct Answer Explanation: The Sugar peas have thin pods that are eaten whole.

What is the name of the variety of potato that grows its tubers in a pyramid shape with the apex downwards?

  • Gurken-kartoffeln
  • Purple Majesty
  • Yukon Gold
  • Red Bliss

Correct Answer: Gurken-kartoffeln

Correct Answer Explanation: The gurken-kartoffeln variety of potato grows its tubers in a pyramid shape with the apex downwards.

Which of these is NOT a common characteristic of domesticated animals compared to their wild counterparts?

  • Increased tameness
  • Reduced variation
  • Increased fertility
  • Reduced size

Correct Answer: Reduced fertility

Correct Answer Explanation: Domesticated animals often have increased fertility compared to their wild counterparts, as humans have selectively bred for individuals with higher reproductive rates.

What is the name of the breed of horse known for its striped legs and back, suggesting reversion to an ancestral trait?

  • Arabian
  • Thoroughbred
  • Clydesdale
  • Dun

Correct Answer: Dun

Correct Answer Explanation: The wild horse (Equus caballus) likely had stripes along its back, legs, and shoulders. Dun-coloured horses are most frequently striped, suggesting reversion to an ancestral trait.

Which of these is a type of canary bird known for its elongated body?

  • Border Fancy
  • Norwich
  • Gloster
  • Belgian

Correct Answer: Belgian

Correct Answer Explanation: A Belgian canary can be up to 8 inches in length, while the wild canary is only 5 and 1/4 inches long.

Which of these is NOT a factor that Darwin believed could influence the variability of domesticated animals and plants?

  • Climate
  • Nutrition
  • Use and Disuse
  • Pre-existing genetic mutations

Correct Answer: Pre-existing genetic mutations

Correct Answer Explanation: While genetic mutations are the source of new variation, Darwin focused on how factors like climate, nutrition, and use and disuse could influence the expression and inheritance of those mutations, leading to changes in domesticated species.

Which of these is NOT a type of domesticated animal mentioned in Darwin’s book?

  • Canary
  • Goldfish
  • Elephant
  • Duck

Correct Answer: Elephant

Correct Answer Explanation: While elephants have been used by humans for various purposes, they were not domesticated in the same way as the other animals mentioned, such as canaries, goldfish, and ducks.

Which of these is a key difference between domesticated plants and their wild counterparts?

  • Domesticated plants are generally smaller than their wild counterparts.
  • Domesticated plants are generally more resistant to disease than their wild counterparts.
  • Domesticated plants are generally more palatable than their wild counterparts.
  • Domesticated plants are generally more tolerant of harsh environments than their wild counterparts.

Correct Answer: Domesticated plants are generally more palatable than their wild counterparts.

Correct Answer Explanation: Through artificial selection, humans have bred plants for traits like increased fruit size, sweetness, and reduced bitterness, making domesticated plants more appealing to humans.

Which of these is a variety of mulberry known for its hardy leaves that are easily collected?

  • White mulberry
  • Black mulberry
  • Red mulberry
  • Roso mulberry

Correct Answer: Roso mulberry

Correct Answer Explanation: The roso variety of mulberry is valued for its hardy leaves, which are easily collected.

Which of these is a type of rose known for its double moss-like texture?

  • Damask rose
  • Tea rose
  • Moss rose
  • Hybrid tea rose

Correct Answer: Moss rose

Correct Answer Explanation: The double moss-rose was imported into England from Italy in 1735.

Which of these is a type of pansy known for its larger, flatter, and more symmetrical flowers?

  • Wild pansy
  • Garden pansy
  • Viola tricolor
  • Johnny-jump-up

Correct Answer: Garden pansy

Correct Answer Explanation: The pansy has been dramatically improved by selection, with its flowers now being much larger, flatter, and more symmetrical than those of the wild pansy.

Which of these is NOT a type of dahlia known for its diversity in color and shape?

  • Dinner plate dahlia
  • Cactus dahlia
  • Pompon dahlia
  • English daisy

Correct Answer: English daisy

Correct Answer Explanation: English daisies are a different type of flower and not a variety of dahlias. Dahlias are known for their diverse colors and shapes, including dinner plate, cactus, and pompon varieties.

Which of these is a type of hyacinth known for its diversity in shape, size, and color?

  • Dutch hyacinth
  • Roman hyacinth
  • Grape hyacinth
  • Spanish bluebell

Correct Answer: Dutch hyacinth

Correct Answer Explanation: The hyacinth has been cultivated for centuries, and its flowers have been greatly modified in shape, size, and color. The Dutch hyacinth is particularly known for its diversity in these traits.

Which of these is NOT a type of artificial selection described by Darwin?

  • Methodical Selection
  • Unconscious Selection
  • Natural Selection
  • Sexual Selection

Correct Answer: Natural Selection

Correct Answer Explanation: While Darwin explored natural selection in other works, “Variation of Animals and Plants under Domestication” focuses on artificial selection, the intentional breeding by humans for desired traits.

Which of these is a concept related to the idea that one parent can more strongly influence the traits of its offspring than the other parent?

  • Reversion
  • Prepotency
  • Sexual selection
  • Bud-variation

Correct Answer: Prepotency

Correct Answer Explanation: Prepotency of Transmission refers to the tendency for one parent to more strongly influence the traits of its offspring than the other parent.

Which of these is a type of variation that appears suddenly in a plant and is not inherited through seed but through a modification of a bud?

  • Bud-variation
  • Graft-hybrids
  • Atavism
  • Sexual selection

Correct Answer: Bud-variation

Correct Answer Explanation: Bud-variation is a type of variation that appears suddenly in a plant and is not inherited through seed but through a modification of a bud.

Which of these is a term used to describe the condition in which the anthers of a plant become shrivelled, brown, and tough, losing their ability to produce viable pollen?

  • Atavism
  • Prepotency
  • Contabescence
  • Peloria

Correct Answer: Contabescence

Correct Answer Explanation: Contabescence is a condition in which the anthers of a plant become shrivelled, brown, and tough, losing their ability to produce viable pollen.

Which of these is a term used to describe the abnormal development of a flower with symmetrical features, often resulting from an arrest of development or reversion to a primordial state?

  • Atavism
  • Prepotency
  • Contabescence
  • Peloria

Correct Answer: Peloria

Correct Answer Explanation: Peloria is the abnormal development of a flower with symmetrical features, which often results from an arrest of development or reversion to a primordial state.

What is the name of the breed of dog that was imported into England from Newfoundland and has been significantly modified since its introduction?

  • Labrador Retriever
  • Golden Retriever
  • Newfoundland
  • Bulldog

Correct Answer: Newfoundland

Correct Answer Explanation: The Newfoundland dog was imported into England from Newfoundland and has been significantly modified since its introduction.

Which of these is a breed of horse that was used by Lord Morton in his famous experiment, resulting in offspring that resembled a quagga, an extinct relative of the zebra?

  • Arabian
  • Thoroughbred
  • Clydesdale
  • Shire

Correct Answer: Arabian

Correct Answer Explanation: Lord Morton’s mare, a chestnut with Arabian blood, produced foals that resembled a quagga (an extinct relative of the zebra) even though the foals were sired by a black Arabian horse.

Which of these is a breed of pig that is an example of a breed that has undergone remarkable modification under domestication?

  • Yorkshire
  • Hampshire
  • Duroc
  • Japanese

Correct Answer: Japanese

Correct Answer Explanation: The Japanese pig is an example of a breed that has undergone remarkable modification under domestication.

Which of these is a breed of cattle that is known for its short, broad foreheads, protruding lower jaws, and a distinctive upturned nose?

  • Hereford
  • Angus
  • Brahman
  • Niata

Correct Answer: Niata

Correct Answer Explanation: The niata cattle of South America have short, broad foreheads, protruding lower jaws, and a distinctive upturned nose.

Which of these is a breed of sheep that is an example of a breed that has undergone remarkable variation under domestication?

  • Merino
  • Dorset
  • Texel
  • Fat-tailed

Correct Answer: Fat-tailed

Correct Answer Explanation: The fat-tailed sheep of the plains of India have an extraordinarily large mass of fat on their tails.

Which of these is a breed of goat that is known for its bilobed mammæ, different from the common goat?

  • Angora
  • Saanen
  • Toggenburg
  • Syrian

Correct Answer: Syrian

Correct Answer Explanation: The goats of Syria and Nubia have bilobed mammæ, different from the common goat.

Which of these is a breed of rabbit that is an example of a new breed created through intercrossing?

  • Himalayan
  • Dutch
  • Lionhead
  • Rex

Correct Answer: Himalayan

Correct Answer Explanation: The Himalayan rabbit, with its white body and dark ears, nose, feet, and tail, is an example of a new breed created through intercrossing.

Which of these is a breed of pigeon that is one of the most striking examples of artificial selection?

  • Fantail
  • Tumbler
  • Pouter
  • Jacobin

Correct Answer: Tumbler

Correct Answer Explanation: The short-faced tumbler pigeon, with its tiny beak and globular head, is one of the most striking examples of artificial selection.

Which of these is a breed of fowl that is a large breed with fluffy plumage, short wings, and a distinctive crow?

  • Cochin
  • Brahma
  • Wyandotte
  • Rhode Island Red

Correct Answer: Cochin

Correct Answer Explanation: The Cochin fowl is a large breed with fluffy plumage, short wings, and a distinctive crow.

Which of these is a breed of duck that walks with an extremely erect body and has elongated femur and metatarsus bones?

  • Mallard
  • Indian Runner
  • Muscovy
  • Penguin

Correct Answer: Penguin

Correct Answer Explanation: The Penguin duck walks with an extremely erect body and has elongated femur and metatarsus bones.

Which of these is a breed of goose that is known for its curled and spirally twisted scapular feathers?

  • Canadian Goose
  • Graylag Goose
  • Sebastopol Goose
  • Snow Goose

Correct Answer: Sebastopol Goose

Correct Answer Explanation: The Sebastopol goose is a breed with curled and spirally twisted scapular feathers.

Which of these is a variety of peacock that is rare and is known for its black shoulders?

  • Black-shouldered peacock
  • Indian peafowl
  • Green peafowl
  • White peafowl

Correct Answer: Black-shouldered peacock

Correct Answer Explanation: The black-shouldered peacock is a rare variety of the common peacock.

Which of these is a breed of turkey that breeds true and is known for its copper color?

  • Bronze Turkey
  • Bourbon Red Turkey
  • Copper-coloured or Cambridge turkey
  • White Holland Turkey

Correct Answer: Copper-coloured or Cambridge turkey

Correct Answer Explanation: The Copper-coloured or Cambridge turkey is a breed that breeds true.

Which of these is a variety of wheat that was created through the careful selection of plants from the grains of the same ear?

  • Major Hallett’s Pedigree Wheat
  • Red Fife Wheat
  • Hard Red Winter Wheat
  • Soft Red Winter Wheat

Correct Answer: Major Hallett’s Pedigree Wheat

Correct Answer Explanation: Major Hallett’s Pedigree Wheat is a variety that was created through the careful selection of plants from the grains of the same ear.

Which of these is a variety of maize that is known for its curiously wrinkled seeds?

  • Sweet corn
  • Dent corn
  • Popcorn
  • Flint corn

Correct Answer: Sweet corn

Correct Answer Explanation: The “sweet corn” variety of maize has curiously wrinkled seeds.

Which of these is NOT a type of selection that can influence the variation of animals and plants?

  • Methodical Selection
  • Unconscious Selection
  • Sexual Selection
  • Vegetative Selection

Correct Answer: Vegetative Selection

Correct Answer Explanation: While vegetative propagation techniques like grafting and cuttings play a role in plant breeding, they are not considered a type of selection in the same way as methodical, unconscious, or sexual selection.

Which of these is NOT a way that Darwin believed that artificial selection could be used to improve domesticated animals and plants?

  • Selecting for individuals with desired traits
  • Crossing different varieties or species
  • Creating new breeds or varieties through genetic engineering
  • Selecting for individuals with desirable combinations of traits

Correct Answer: Creating new breeds or varieties through genetic engineering

Correct Answer Explanation: Darwin was writing before the development of genetic engineering, so he could not have considered this as a method of artificial selection. He focused on traditional breeding methods like selecting for desirable traits, crossing varieties, and selecting for combinations of traits.

Which of these is NOT a concept related to inheritance and variation discussed by Darwin?

  • Reversion
  • Prepotency
  • Genetic drift
  • Bud-variation

Correct Answer: Genetic drift

Correct Answer Explanation: Genetic drift is a concept that was developed later in the field of population genetics and is not directly discussed by Darwin. Darwin focused on concepts like reversion, prepotency, and bud-variation to explain the patterns of inheritance and variation he observed in domesticated animals and plants.

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