Vertebrate Paleontology practice questions,Exam2

Practice exam questions written by Timothy H. Heaton,
Professor of Earth Sciences, University of South Dakota

Click the circle by an answer with the mouse, then click on the Submit button to get a response. You will be told if your answer is correct or not and will be given some comments.

  1. What is the correct order of the epochs of the Cenozoic Era?
    Paleocene, Eocene, Miocene, Pliocene, Oligocene, Pleistocene, Holocene.
    Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pleistocene, Pliocene, Holocene.
    Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene, Holocene.
    Paleocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Eocene, Pleistocene, Pliocene, Holocene.
    Paleocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Eocene, Pliocene, Pleistocene, Holocene.

  2. During which geologic period did Archaeopteryx live?
    Cretaceous.
    Jurassic.
    Permian.
    Tertiary.
    Triassic.

  3. What kind of reptiles did birds likely arise from?
    Lizards.
    Ornithischian dinosaurs.
    Saurischian dinosaurs.
    Sphenodonts.
    Thecodonts.

  4. In what way is Archaeopteryx like a modern bird?
    Feathers.
    Fused clavicles.
    Keeled sternum.
    Pygostyle.
    All of the above.

  5. In what ways is Archaeopteryx like a reptile, and in what ways is it like a bird?

  6. Describe in detail the differences in wing specializations in birds, pterosaurs, and bats as well as differences in their size, body characteristics, and sense organs, and use this information to speculate about how their life habits differ.

  7. Match each group of aquatic reptiles with the reptilian order or subclass that it belongs to.
    Aquatic reptiles Reptile group
    Hovasaurs.
    Ichthyosaurs.
    Mesosaurs.
    Mosasaurs.
    Placodonts.
    Plesiosaurs.
    Pleurosaurs.
    Thalattosaurs.
    Eosuchians.
    Euryapsids.
    Primitive anapsids.
    Primitive diapsids.
    Sphenodonts.
    Squamatans.

  8. Which marine reptiles have small tails for guidance but large feet for powerful paddling?
    Ichthyosaurs.
    Mosasaurs.
    Placodonts.
    Plesiosaurs.
    Pleurosaurs.

  9. Which marine reptiles were sedentary shellfish eaters?
    Ichthyosaurs.
    Mosasaurs.
    Placodonts.
    Plesiosaurs.
    Pleurosaurs.

  10. Which marine reptiles fed on ammonoids?
    Ichthyosaurs.
    Mosasaurs.
    Placodonts.
    Plesiosaurs.
    Pleurosaurs.

  11. During which geologic period did mosasaurs swim the oceans?
    Cretaceous.
    Jurassic.
    Permian.
    Tertiary.
    Triassic.

  12. What living reptiles still have two distinct temporal openings?
    Crocodiles.
    Lizards.
    Snakes.
    Tuataras.
    Turtles.

  13. What living reptiles have lost the bars to both temporal openings?
    Crocodiles.
    Lizards.
    Snakes.
    Tuataras.
    Turtles.

  14. Which bone of rattlesnakes is hinged and contains the fangs?
    Dentary.
    Frontal.
    Maxilla.
    Nasal.
    Premaxilla.

  15. Match each cusp with its position on the primitive therian molar.
    Cusp Position
    Entoconid.
    Hypocone.
    Hypoconid.
    Hypoconulid.
    Metacone.
    Metaconid.
    Metaconule.
    Paracone.
    Paraconid.
    Protocone.
    Protoconid.
    Protoconule.
    Anterior and labial.
    Anterior and lingual.
    Anterior and medial.
    Central and lingual.
    Posterior and labial.
    Posterior and lingual.
    Posterior and medial.

  16. During which geologic period did mammals arise?
    Cretaceous.
    Jurassic.
    Permian.
    Tertiary.
    Triassic.

  17. Which character matches reptiles rather than mammals?
    Bones of pelvis fused.
    Complex heterodont teeth.
    Enlarged braincase.
    Multiple lower jaw bones.
    Single middle ear bone.

  18. Match each primitive or reptilian bone with its mammalian counterpart.
    Mammalian bone Primitive bone
    Incus.
    Malleus.
    Stapes.
    Tympanic.
    Angular.
    Articular.
    Hyomandibular.
    Quadrate.

  19. Which early mammalian group has three molar cusps in a straight line?
    Docodonts.
    Eutherians.
    Metatherians.
    Multituberculates.
    Symmetrodonts.
    Triconodonts.

  20. Which early mammalian group has a diastema and an enlarged last lower premolar?
    Docodonts.
    Eutherians.
    Metatherians.
    Multituberculates.
    Symmetrodonts.
    Triconodonts.

  21. Which group includes the first mammalian herbivores?
    Docodonts.
    Eutherians.
    Metatherians.
    Multituberculates.
    Symmetrodonts.
    Triconodonts.

  22. Which group of mammals is an ancestor of both marsupials and placentals?
    Docodonts.
    Eutherians.
    Metatherians.
    Multituberculates.
    Symmetrodonts.
    Triconodonts.

  23. Which group do the marsupial mammals belong to?
    Docodonts.
    Eutherians.
    Metatherians.
    Multituberculates.
    Symmetrodonts.
    Triconodonts.

  24. Which group do the placental mammals belong to?
    Docodonts.
    Eutherians.
    Metatherians.
    Multituberculates.
    Symmetrodonts.
    Triconodonts.

  25. Which group of living mammals has epipubic bones?
    Chiropterans.
    Edentates.
    Insectivores.
    Marsupials.
    Monotremes.

  26. Which group of living mammals retains the reptilian cloaca?
    Chiropterans.
    Edentates.
    Insectivores.
    Marsupials.
    Monotremes.

  27. In which group of living mammals is syndactyly found?
    Chiropterans.
    Edentates.
    Insectivores.
    Marsupials.
    Monotremes.

  28. On what continent do marsupials appear to have originated?
    Antarctica.
    Australia.
    Eurasia.
    North America.
    South America.

  29. On what continent do placentals appear to have originated?
    Antarctica.
    Australia.
    Eurasia.
    North America.
    South America.

  30. Which group of placental mammals is most like typical Mesozoic mammals?
    Chiropterans.
    Edentates.
    Insectivores.
    Lagomorphs.
    Rodents.

  31. Which group of placental mammals is able to fly?
    Chiropterans.
    Edentates.
    Insectivores.
    Lagomorphs.
    Rodents.

  32. Which group of placental mammals tends to have simple peg-like teeth and poorly-developed thermoregulation?
    Chiropterans.
    Edentates.
    Insectivores.
    Lagomorphs.
    Rodents.

  33. Outline the primitive and specialized characters of the Order Primates and give examples of the various evolutionary steps.

  34. From rocks of which geologic period have the oldest primate fossils been found?
    Cretaceous.
    Jurassic.
    Permian.
    Quaternary.
    Tertiary.

  35. During which epoch of the Cenozoic Era did Dryopithecines and Ramapithecines live?
    Eocene.
    Miocene.
    Oligocene.
    Paleocene.
    Pleistocene.
    Pliocene.

  36. Which of the following human species was most robust?
    Australopithecus afarensis.
    Australopithecus africanus.
    Australopithecus boisei.
    Homo erectus.
    Homo habilis.

  37. What is the tooth formula of most Old World monkeys, apes, and humans?
    I2 C1 P2 M2.
    I2 C1 P2 M3.
    I2 C1 P3 M2.
    I2 C1 P3 M3.
    I2 C1 P4 M3.

  38. Which rodent skull type is most primitive?
    Hystricomorph.
    Myomorph.
    Protrogomorph.
    Sciuromorph.

  39. Which skull type is found in South American rodents?
    Hystricomorph.
    Myomorph.
    Protrogomorph.
    Sciuromorph.

  40. Which character is possessed by lagomorphs but not rodents?
    Diastema.
    Elongate skull.
    Ever-growing incisors.
    Fenestrated skull.
    Primitive number of phalanges.

Please report any problems or errors to Dr. Heaton.