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Term Test 1 - 4 February 2003
answers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

Instructions: Please read all seven questions. You must answer questions 1-3, but you may answer your choice of three of questions 4-7. If you can answer all seven you can earn extra credit.

Please use your time effectively by reading the questions carefully, and answering only what is asked in each one.

1. (10 marks) Indicate whether the following statements are true (T) or false (F).

T   a. Andreas Cesalpino (1519-1603) wrote that plant classifications should be easy to use.

F   b. You can tell that leaves are opposite if they have stipules.

F   c. "Life-form" is a taxonomic category recognized by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN).

T   d. Alternation between a gametophyte generation and a sporophyte generation occurs in all vascular plants.

F   e. Bernard de Jussieu (1699-1777) believed that a successful classification of plants could be arrived at only by following the theories of Linnaeus.

T   f. The fact that the unicellular and colonial organisms known as "green algae" share chlorophylls a and b with the Embryophyta is evidence that vascular plants have a green algal ancestor.

F   g. Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) believed that members of class Pentandria were evolutionarily more advanced than members of classes with more stamens. [This seems to have been a hard one, but consider that the classes in Linnaeus' sexual system were considered by Linnaeus himself as artificial groups. Even the natural groups that Linnaeus recognized he perceived as being related to one another like islands in an archipelago (some close together, others far apart) rather than related in an ancestor-descendant sense (cf. Judd et al. 2002, Fig. 3.1). Finally, evolutionary thought really dates from the work of Darwin and Wallace in the 1840s and 1850s, 70 or more years after the death of Linnaeus.]

F   h. Identification can only be carried out by means of binary keys.

T   i. Both rhizomes and stolons are prostrate stems.

T   j. The hawthorn, Crataegus suksdorfii (Sargent) Kruschke, was named originally as a variety of C. douglasii by C. S. Sargent before being raised to a species by Emil P. Kruschke.

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2. (15 marks) Use the space below to arrange the following names into the hierarchy of folk taxonomic categories. Use any method you find convenient (e.g. Venn diagram, indented table, etc.) as long as the hierarchical relationships between the categories are maintained. Make your best guess as to the category to which each name belongs based on your knowledge of the meanings of the words in English. You should name the unique beginner yourself, according to what you know of the meaning of these names. Can you find any examples of polysemy? Can you detect any generics that are present but not actually included in the list of names? If so, please underline their names (here, bolded). Can you detect any other features often found in folk taxonomies? sugar maple, sweet-scented marigold, roses, moss, cherry tree, maples, grapevine, flowers, himalayan musk rose, damask rose, trees, red maple, dog-strangling vine, big marigold, sunflower.

Plants (the unique beginner in this case)

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3. (10 marks) Sketch the leaves that are described as follows.

Leaf imparipinnately compound, the leaflets obovate, serrate, obtuse.

Leaf palmately lobed, entire, primary veins diverging at the base, the lobes mucronate.

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4. (5 marks) What are the taxonomic ranks of the following names? Please circle the ranks considered to be required (if only implicitly) for every species.

a. Theophrastaceae


f. Sanguisorbeae


b. Coix lachryma-jobii


g. Chlorobionta


c. Mimosoideae


h. Poales


d. Tracheophyta


i. Crataegus


e. Zingiberanae


j. Magnoliopsida


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5. (5 marks) Which of the following classifications of nine words, A or B, is most like an artificial classification of living organisms? ______  Which is most like a natural classification of living organisms? ______


tough  enough  dear  bare

stuff  puff

deer  bear



stuff  puff

tough  enough

deer  dear


bear  bare

My answer to this question is that (A) represents a natural classification, while (B) represents an artificial one. As one class member suggested, the words in the groups in (A) " not sound the same but all share a broader association (adjectives, animals, drink, etc.). ... This reminded me of Adanson's system." The same person went on to say that "B is most like an artificial system since it is determined by the fact that the words grouped together sound the same. It is based on one characteristic like Linnaeus' system."

However, another class member pointed out that (B) was more like a natural system because "...words grouped together share very similar spelling and pronunciation, and are thus likely to have descended from a common ancestor if they were living organisms." Unfortunately this person had a less strong argument for (A) being an artificial classification.

In fact this question was set up so as to reflect the contrast between emic and etic classifications that anthropologists speak about. Emic classifications can be seen as resembling natural classifications because they are based on features intrinsic to the objects or to a culture's understanding of the objects. On the other hand, etic classifications are based on features that are extrinsic to the objects and their significance within a culture.

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6. (5 marks) It has been suggested that there is a solid psychological basis for binomial nomenclature, and that the nomenclatural reforms of Linnaeus and others during the 18th century brought the scientific naming of plants into conformity with the way in which people think and speak. Evaluate this suggestion on the basis of what you have learned so far in this course.

[excerpts re key ideas]

"The folk taxonomies of the past and present are based upon two names, a noun qualified by an adjective."

"...names used before the time of Linnaeus' reforms were descriptive, but far too long for the common individual to remember. Linnaeus' system of genus and species is close in some respect to folk taxonomy, which would use binomial names to refer to organisms in the environment."

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7. (5 marks) Based on the material covered so far in this course, and on your preparation for this test, what non-trivial question (if any) is missing? Support your answer with one or two sentences, and then provide the best answer you can to your question.

"What is the significance of taxonomic ranks?"

"What is the purpose of taxonomy?"

[paraphrased] "Compare identification using a binary key with that using a polyclave."

and others, about taxonomic evidence, Linnaeus, and life cycles, among other things.

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