Thursday, January 1, 2009

Results of RGE New Year quiz and competition

Happy New Year to all blog readers!

Well, I am pleased to announce that Glenn Branch of the NCSE achieved the highest score in the quiz with 71 correct answers out of 75. Glenn will receive a signed copy of The Rough Guide to Evolution (NB readers should take a look at the piece by Glenn and Eugenie Scott on creationism in the special Scientific American issue on evolution).

Here are the answers, with stack loads of hypertext annotations to inform and entertain you this New Year's Day! As I pointed out before, all of the answers can be found in The Rough Guide to Evolution, illustrating the unique breadth of coverage of this concise but wide-ranging volume.

  1. What Darwin descendant died fighting with the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War? John Cornford, poet and partisan: take a look at this cool image of the man!
  2. What did English schoolboy Roger Mason discover in the Charnwood Forest in 1957? Charnia masoni, a key early example of the Precambrian Ediacaran biota.
  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"? A turkey cock.
  4. What colour eyes did Darwin have?
    grey blue
  5. What is the subject of Isaac Asimov's short story The Ugly Little Boy? time travel involving a Neanderthal boy.
  6. Which American creationist and founder of the organisation Creation Science Evangelism is currently in prison on tax offences? Kent Hovind
  7. Which husband and wife exponents of evolutionary psychology claim that "our modern skulls house stone-age minds"? Leda Cosmides and John Tooby
  8. Which American lawyer wrote the 1991 book Darwin on Trial despite a lack of any formal education in biology? Philip johnson
  9. What living land mammal is most closely related to a whale? hippopotamus;
  10. Which nerdcore artist has released a track "F*#k the creationists"? MC Hawking

  11. Which physician-scientist who headed the human genome project proposes a theistic evolutionary view he calls BioLogos? Francis Collins
  12. Who was chief plaintiff in the Dover, Pennsylvania trial? Tammy Kitzmiller

  13. In which city is the cathedral from which Stephen Jay Gould borrowed the term "spandrel"? Venice: Saint Mark's Basilica
  14. What is best-known creation of concerned Kansas citizen, Bobby Henderson? Flying Spaghetti Monster
  15. Who coined the phrase "survival of the fittest"? Herbert Spencer
  16. Which Darwin descendant stars in the Chronicles of Narnia films? Skandar Keynes
  17. What was Megalonyx jeffersonii? extinct North American ground sloth
  18. What ceremony occurred for the first time in the Australian federal government building on Darwin's 199th birthday? Welcome to Country ceremony:

  19. What did German archaeologists Ralf Schmitz and Jürgen Thissen re-discover in the late 1990s? original site where type specimens of Neanderthal Man discovered in 1856
  20. What did Darwin learn from John Edmonstone? taxidermy:
  21. Where is the likely resting place of the hull of Darwin's HMS Beagle Near Potton Island in the Essex marshes
  22. What shop now occupies the site of Darwin's first lodgings in Cambridge? Boots the Chemist
  23. Why was John Maynard Smith's poor eyesight a selective advantage? Prevented him from serving in the military: "it stopped me getting shot"!
  24. What kind of animal was "Mr Arthrobalanus"? a barnacle, this phrase used by Darwin here:; name later changed to Cryptophialus. Note Darwin's excited use of exclamation mark to describe length of its penis!
  25. Where is Darwin's daughter Annie buried? In the churchyard of Great Malvern Priory in Great Malvern. About a mile from where I am now sitting.
  26. Which Polish-born Jew wrote to Darwin in Hebrew, praising The Origin of Species? Naphtali Halevi
  27. Which German taxonomist is buried in a mountain cemetery in Tübingen? Willi Hennig
  28. Why did ALH84001 hit the headlines in the mid-1990s? meteorite; because it may contain Martian microfossils.
  29. What did Scottish bus driver Mike Newman discover in 2004? 428 million-year-old millipede Pneumodesmus newman
  30. Which German philologist pioneered the phylogenetic approach to manuscript research known as stemmatics? August Schleicher
  31. Whose landmark 1970 book, The Origins of Eukaryotic cells, breathed new life into the endosymbiotic theory of mitochondrial origins? Lynn Margulis
  32. What did Lars Ramsköld and Hou Xianguang do to Hallucigenia? inverted it, interpreting the tentacles, which they believe to be paired, as walking structures and the spines as protective.
  33. Which zoologist who attended Marx's funeral also corresponded with Darwin? Sir E. Ray Lankester;col1
  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? Theology of Species
  35. To what phylum do conodonts belong? Chordata
  36. What is the more accurate name for sea scorpions? eurypterids
  37. How did the Beagle's captain Robert FitzRoy die? cut his own throat with a razor.
  38. What was the shortest distance, by road, in miles, that ever separated Darwin and Mendel in life?  ~17-20 miles (depending on what route finder software you use); in July and August 1862, Mendel attended the London International Exhibition, while Darwin was home in Down with a sick child.

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  39. Which American founding father wrote an essay in 1751 on population growth that later influenced Malthus who in turn influenced Darwin? Benjamin Franklin (read it here: Franklin was a bit of a racist, like most men of his time!)
  40. Which Scottish fruit grower outlined the concept of natural selection in 1831, at least a decade ahead of Darwin? Patrick Matthew
  41. What is the name of the 1972 evolutionary progrock album by Italian rock band Banco del Mutuo Soccorso? Darwin!

  42. What divorce lawyer worked alongside Clarence Darrow defending John Scopes in Dayton Tennessee? Dudley Field Malone
  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"? Woodrow Wilson
  44. What term did Nobel laureate Walter Gilbert coin to describe a primordial biology that existed before DNA became the chief genetic material? RNA World
  45. What did John Fallon find in a mutant chicken? alligator-like teeth
  46. What happened to William Jennings Bryan five days after the end of the Scopes trial? he died in his sleep.
  47. What was discovered in Liang Bua? Homo floresiensis
  48. What black African tribe from Southern Africa claim Jewish ancestry and possess some genetic markers to support their claim? The Lemba
  49. Which Permian tetrapod is widely hailed as the first exponent of monogamy? Diictodon
  50. What is the silversword alliance and what evolutionary principle does it illustrate? Adaptive radiation of ~50 species of sunflower family in Hawaii derived from single ancestor.
  51. Which contemporary English novelist weaves Darwinian themes into his 2005 novel Saturday? Ian McEwan
  52. What is Coelurosauravus jaekeli famous for? First air-borne tetrapod; Rex in TV series Primeval.

  53. What new species of australopithecine did Meave Leakey describe in the mid-1990s? Australopithecus anamensis.
  54. Which Birmingham University anthropologist championed the hypothesis of ancestral arboreal bipedalism in 2007? Susannah Thorpe
  55. What gruesome end did the head of the Taung child come to? killed by eagle:
  56. In which species has Ted Garland bred hyperactivity? mice
  57. What predicted feature of Velociraptor was confirmed in 2007? feathers
  58. What is the olm and what evolutionary principle does it illustrate? blind cave salamander; loss of eyesight in cave animals
  59. What is the link between the eye of a squid and recovery from a human hangover? The omega-crystallin in squid eyes and photophores has been recruited from the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase, one of many examples of evolutionarily opportunistic recruitment of lens proteins from enzymes. Aldehyde dehydrogenase detoxifies the hangover-inducing acetaldehyde produced from ethanol by alcohol dehydrogenase.
  60. What nickname did JBS Haldane apply to Cambridge University's academic lawyers, who found him guilty of sexual impropriety? The sex weary (a pun on their Latin title, the sex viri or six men).
  61. Which American palaeontologist starred in a cameo role in The Simpsons? Stephen Jay Gould.
  62. Which Welsh song did Darwin commonly hum to himself? "Ar hyd y nos"
  63. If punctuated equilibrium is "evolution by jerks", what is the alternative, phyletic gradualism? "evolution by creeps"
  64. Which British astronomer gives humanity only a 50% chance of surviving the next century? Martin Rees
  65. What relic of the Carboniferous period did Howard Falcon-Lang discover in an Illinois coalmine? large fossilized forest
  66. Which American theoretical physicist has proposed a theory of cosmological natural selection? Lee Smolin
  67. Which nineteenth-century German linguist proposed a family tree theory of languages that paralleled Darwin's theory of common descent? August Schleicher
  68. Which Austrian-born philosopher wrote that "our theories... suffer in our stead in the survival of the fittest"? Karl Popper in
  69. To what species are the earliest European hominins from Atapuerca assigned by their discoverers? Homo antecessor
  70. Who or what were the rudists? Jurassic marine heterodont bivalves 
  71. Which English clergyman-scientist mentions Darwin, Huxley and Owen by name in his children's novel The Water-Babies? Charles Kingsley
  72. Where and what is the Chicxulub crater? Mexico (Yucatan peninsula), site of asteroid impact which killed dinosaurs and other species 65 mya.
  73. What common name is applied to the phorusrhacids? terror birds
  74. Which Victorian novelist, who attended Darwin's funeral, makes geologist Henry Knight the hero of his novel "A Pair of Blue Eyes"? Thomas Hardy
  75. What did Ahounta Djimdoumalbaye discover? cranium of Sahelanthropus tchadensis, nicknamed Toumaï

1 comment:

Michael D. Barton, FCD said...

Congratulations, Glenn. You got me by one correct answer!