Friday, December 26, 2008

RGE New Year Quiz and competition

In line with the festive spirit and to help rouse you from the intellectual torpor induced by too much food and drink, I have devised a New Year Quiz for you to complete before the start of 2009, Darwin's bicentenary year. 

And there is a prize! The first complete set of correct answers or the highest scoring set received before 00.00hrs on January 1st will receive a signed copy of The Rough Guide to Evolution. E-mail me your answers at

All the answers can be found within the pages of The Rough Guide to Evolution, so the quiz will also give you some idea of the wide-ranging eclectic flavour of the book. Answers will be posted here on New Year's Day.
  1. What Darwin descendant died fighting with the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War?
  2. What did English schoolboy Roger Mason discover in the Charnwood Forest in 1957?
  3. According to Darwin in his M Notebook, with what kind of animal did a "Shrewsbury gentleman" attempt an "unnatural union", only to be "restrained by remonstrances on him"
  4. What colour eyes did Darwin have?
  5. What is the subject of Isaac Asimov's short story The Ugly Little Boy?
  6. Which American creationist and founder of the organisation Creation Science Evangelism is currently in prison on tax offences?
  7. Which husband and wife exponents of evolutionary psychology claim that "our modern skulls house stone-age minds"?
  8. Which American lawyer wrote the 1991 book Darwin on Trial despite a lack of any formal education in biology?
  9. What living land mammal is most closely related to a whale?
  10. Which nerdcore artist has released a track "F*#k the creationists"?
  11. Which physician-scientist who headed the human genome project proposes a theistic evolutionary view he calls BioLogos?
  12. Who was chief plaintiff in the Dover, Pennsylvania trial?
  13. In which city is the cathedral from which Stephen Jay Gould borrowed the term "spandrel"?
  14. What is best-known creation of concerned Kansas citizen, Bobby Henderson?
  15. Who coined the phrase "survival of the fittest"?
  16. Which Darwin descendant stars in the Chronicles of Narnia films?
  17. What was Megalonyx jeffersonii?
  18. What ceremony occurred for the first time in the Australian federal government building on Darwin's 199th birthday?
  19. What did German archaeologists Ralf Schmitz and Jürgen Thissen re-discover in the late 1990s?
  20. What did Darwin learn from John Edmonstone?
  21. Where is the likely resting place of the hull of Darwin's HMS Beagle?
  22. What shop now occupies the site of Darwin's first lodgings in Cambridge?
  23. Why was John Maynard Smith's poor eyesight a selective advantage?
  24. What kind of animal was "Mr Arthrobalanus"?
  25. Where is Darwin's daughter Annie buried?
  26. Which Polish-born Jew wrote to Darwin in Hebrew, praising The Origin of Species?
  27. Which German taxonomist is buried in a mountain cemetery in Tübingen?
  28. Why did ALH84001 hit the headlines in the mid-1990s?
  29. What did Scottish bus driver Mike Newman discover in 2004?
  30. Which German philologist pioneered the phylogenetic approach to manuscript research known as stemmatics?
  31. Whose landmark 1970 book, The Origins of Eukaryotic cells, breathed new life into the endosymbiotic theory of mitochondrial origins?
  32. What did Lars Ramsköld and Hou Xianguang do to Hallucigenia?
  33. Which zoologist who attended Marx's funeral also corresponded with Darwin?
  34. According to the fantasy Darwin's Watch, what book does clergyman Darwin write after being prevented from travelling on the Beagle by the Discworld deities?
  35. To what phylum do conodonts belong?
  36. What is the more accurate name for sea scorpions?
  37. How did the Beagle's captain Robert FitzRoy die? 
  38. What was the shortest distance, by road, in miles, that ever separated Darwin and Mendel in life?
  39. Which American founding father wrote an essay in 1751 on population growth that later influenced Malthus who in turn influenced Darwin?
  40. Which Scottish fruit grower outlined the concept of natural selection in 1831, at least a decade ahead of Darwin?
  41. What is the name of the 1972 evolutionary progrock album by Italian rock band Banco del Mutuo Soccorso?
  42. What divorce lawyer worked alongside Clarence Darrow defending John Scopes in Dayton Tennessee?
  43. Which American President made an analogy between the US Constitution and Darwin's theory of evolution, stating that "living political constitutions must be Darwinian".
  44. What term did Nobel laureate Walter Gilbert coin to describe a primordial biology that existed before DNA became the chief genetic material?
  45. What did John Fallon find in a mutant chicken?
  46. What happened to William Jennings Bryan five days after the end of the Scopes trial?
  47. What was discovered in Liang Bua?
  48. What black African tribe from Southern Africa claim Jewish ancestry and possess some genetic markers to support their claim?
  49. Which Permian tetrapod is widely hailed as the first exponent of monogamy?
  50. What is the silversword alliance and what evolutionary principle does it illustrate?
  51. Which contemporary English novelist weaves Darwinian themes into his 2005 novel Saturday
  52. What is Coelurosauravus jaekeli famous for?
  53. What new species of australopithecine did Maeve Leakey describe in the mid-1990s?
  54. Which Birmingham University anthropologist championed the hypothesis of ancestral arboreal bipedalism in 2007?
  55. What gruesome end did the head of the Taung child come to?
  56. In which species has Ted Garland bred hyperactivity?
  57. What predicted feature of Velociraptor was confirmed in 2007?
  58. What is the olm and what evolutionary principle does it illustrate?
  59. What is the link between the eye of a squid and recovery from a human hangover?
  60. What nickname did JBS Haldane apply to Cambridge University's academic lawyers, who found him guilty of sexual impropriety?
  61. Which American palaeontologist starred in a cameo role in The Simpsons?
  62. Which Welsh song did Darwin commonly hum to himself?
  63. If punctuated equilibrium is "evolution by jerks", what is the alternative, phyletic gradualism?
  64. Which British astronomer gives humanity only a 50% chance of surviving the next century?
  65. What relic of the Carboniferous period did Howard Falcon-Lang discover in an Illinois coalmine?
  66. Which American theoretical physicist has proposed a theory of cosmological natural selection?
  67. Which nineteenth-century German linguist proposed a family tree theory of languages that paralleled Darwin's theory of common descent?
  68. Which Austrian-born philosopher wrote that "our theories... suffer in our stead in the survival of the fittest"?
  69. To what species are the earliest European hominins from Atapuerca assigned by their discoverers?
  70. Who or what were the rudists?
  71. Which English clergyman-scientist mentions Darwin, Huxley and Owen by name in his children's novel The Water-Babies?
  72. Where and what is the Chicxulub crater?
  73. What common name is applied to the phorusrhacids?
  74. Which Victorian novelist, who attended Darwin's funeral, makes geologist Henry Knight the hero of his novel "A Pair of Blue Eyes"?
  75. What did Ahounta Djimdoumalbaye discover?


Michael D. Barton, FCD said...

I sent you my answers. Only 2 I was unable to figure out...

Karen James said...

Too many questions... fatigue setting in... and now I see that Michael has put his in and there's pretty much no hope that I'll beat him. Though if I knew the two he couldn't get I could ask certain sources perhaps!