Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What kind of paradigm does Gould believe has not been communicated to the public?

2. What comprises the first 4 billion years of Earth's history?

3. According to Gould, what kind of insight does the Burgess Shale offer into the nature of life and the evolution of life forms?

4. When does the old story have Walcott miraculously stumble upon the Burgess Shale?

5. How many new arthropod designs does The Burgess Shale contain?

Short Essay Questions

1. Why did Gould write this book as an homage to the Burgess Shale?

2. What did people think Opabinia was and what did Whittington choose to believe about this idea?

3. What was the difference between Simon Conway Morris and Whittington in the way that they worked?

4. Why are the Burgess Shale's arthropod designs odd?

5. How is the Precambrian Era defined?

6. Why is the Burgess Shale acknowledged as the most significant collection of fossils yet discovered?

7. How does Gould begin Chapter 2: A Background for the Burgess Shale?

8. Why do paleontologists find Opabinia unbelievable and fascinating?

9. What evidence favors Opabinia's uniqueness?

10. What did Leif Størmer decide to do in contrast to Walcott?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Since a team controls research data, it's important that each member function in unison. Answer the following question: Is the diversity of Whittington's team a strength or a weakness? Discuss three ways in which their diversity is a strength or a weakness. Use material from the entire book to support your examples.

Essay Topic 2

Chapter 3 examines the levels of the taxonomy of life. Describe four of these levels with examples from each and then explain the system of classification that Whittington used for the Burgess Shale animals. Answer why it is important for paleontologists to classify specimens. Support your argument with at least two logical examples.

Essay Topic 3

How is the Burgess Shale a significant discovery for fossils and for the history of human development? Explain the author's reasoning using two examples from the book. Support your case with solid logic and either defend or oppose Gould's position.

(see the answer keys)

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