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Chapter 7 Evolution

Mystery yet to understand who came first? Egg or hen likewise who is the first man on the earth and so on. But there is certain evidence that explains the evolution of organisms into another. This is due to a change in environment which was best explained by Charles Drawin in his theory of Natural selection. Evolution, which is a slow and gradual change that leads into this modern era is explained by a few examples in this chapter.

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Exercise 1

  • Q1 Explain antibiotic resistance observed in bacteria in light of Darwinian selection theory.
    Ans:

    Darwinian selection theory states that individuals with favourable variations are better adapted than individuals with less favourable variation. It means that nature selects the individuals with useful variation as these individuals are better evolved to survive in the existing environment. An example of such selection is antibiotic resistance in bacteria. When bacterial population was grown on an agar plate containing antibiotic penicillin, the colonies that were sensitive to penicillin died, whereas one or few bacterial colonies that were resistant to penicillin survived. This is because these bacteria had undergone chance mutation, which resulted in the evolution of a gene that made them resistant to penicillin drug. Hence, the resistant bacteria multiplied quickly as compared to non-resistant (sensitive) bacteria, thereby increasing their number. Hence, the advantage of an individual over other helps in the struggle for existence.


    Q2 Find out from newspapers and popular science articles any new fossil discoveries or controversies about evolution.
    Ans:

    Fossils of dinosaurs have revealed the evolution of reptiles in Jurassic period. As a result of this, evolution of other animals such as birds and mammals has also been discovered. However, two unusual fossils recently unearthed in China have ignited a controversy over the evolution of birds.Confuciusornis is one such genus of primitive birds that were crow sized and lived during the Creataceous period in China.


    Q3 Attempt giving a clear definition of the term species
    Ans:

    Species can be defined as a group of organisms, which have the capability to interbreed in order to produce fertile offspring and do not breed with members of other species.


    Q4 Try to trace the various components of human evolution (hint: brain size and function, skeletal structure, dietary preference, etc.)
    Ans:

    The various components of human evolution are as follows.

    (i) Brain capacity

    (ii) Posture

       iii.            Food / dietary preference and other important features

     

    Name

    Brain capacity

    Posture

    Food

    Features

    1.

    Dryopithecus africans

    ---

    Knuckle walker,

    walked similar to gorillas and chimpanzees (was more ape-like)

    Soft fruit and leaves

    Canines large, arms and legs are of equal size

    2.

    Ramapithecus

    ---

    Semi-erect (more man-like)

    Seeds, nuts

    Canines were small while molars were large.

    3.

    Australopithecus africanus

    450 cm3

    Full erect posture, height (1.05 m)

    Herbivorous (ate fruits)

    Hunted with stone weapons, lived at trees, canines and incisors were small

    4.

    Homo habilis

    735cm3

    Fully erect posture, height (1.5 m)

    Carnivorous

    Canines were small. They were first tool makers.

    5.

    Homo erectus

    800-1100 cm3

    Fully erect posture, height(1.5-1.8 m )

    Omnivorous

    They used stone and bone tools for hunting games.

    6.

    Homo neanderthalnsis

    1300-1600 cm3

    Fully erect posture, height (1.5-1.66 m)

    Omnivorous

    Cave dwellers, used hides to protect their bodies, and buried their dead

    7.

    Homo sapiens fossilis

    1650 cm3

    Fully erect posture with height (1.8 m)

    Omnivorous

    They had strong jaw with teeth close together. They were cave dwellers, made paintings and carvings in the caves. They developed a culture and were called first modern men.

    8.

    Homo sapiens sapiens

    1200-1600 cm3

    Fully erect posture, height (1.5-1.8 m )

    Omnivorous

    They are the living modern men, with high intelligence. They developed art, culture, language, speech, etc. They cultivated crops and domesticated animals.

     


    Q5 Find out through internet and popular science articles whether animals other than man have self-consciousness.
    Ans:

    There are many animals other than humans, which have self consciousness. An example of an animal being self conscious is dolphins. They are highly intelligent. They have a sense of self and they also recognize others among themselves and others. They communicate with each other by whistles, tail-slapping, and other body movements. Not only dolphins, there are certain other animals such as crow, parrot, chimpanzee, gorilla, orangutan, etc., which exhibit self-consciousness.


    Q6 List 10 modern-day animals and using the internet resources link it to a corresponding ancient fossil. Name both.
    Ans:

    The modern day animals and their ancient fossils are listed in the following table.

    Animal

    Fossil

    1.

    Man

    Ramapithecus

    2.

    Horse

    Eohippus

    3.

    Dog

    Leptocyon

    4.

    Camel

    Protylopus

    5.

    Elephant

    Moerithers

    6.

    Whale

    Protocetus

    7.

    Fish

    Arandaspis

    8.

    Tetrapods

    Icthyostega

    9.

    Bat

    Archaeonycteris

    10.

    Giraffe

    Palaeotragus

     


    Q7

    Practise drawing various animals and plants.

    Ans:

    You can draw image of any animals of your wish.


    Q8 Describe one example of adaptive radiation.
    Ans:

    Adaptive radiation is an evolutionary process that produces new species from a single, rapidly diversifying lineage. This process occurs due to natural selection. An example of adaptive radiation is Darwin finches, found in Galapagos Island. A large variety of finches is present in Galapagos Island that arose from a single species, which reached this land accidentally. As a result, many new species have evolved, diverged, and adapted to occupy new habitats. These finches have developed different eating habits and different types of beaks to suit their feeding habits. The insectivorous, blood sucking, and other species of finches with varied dietary habits have evolved from a single seed eating finch ancestor.


    Q9 Can we call human evolution as adaptive radiation?
    Ans:

    No, human evolution cannot be called adaptive radiation. This is because adaptive radiation is an evolutionary process that produces new species from a single, rapidly diversifying lineage, which is not the case with human evolution. Human evolution is a gradual process that took place slowly in time. It represents an example of anagenesis.


    Q10 Using various resources such as your school library or the internet and discussions with your teacher, trace the evolutionary stages of any one animal say horse.
    Ans:

    The evolution of horse started with Eohippus during Eocene period. It involved the following evolutionary stages.

    (i) Gradual increase in body size

    (ii) Elongation of head and neck region

    (iii) Increase in the length of limbs and feet

    (iv) Gradual reduction of lateral digits

    (v) Enlargement of third functional toe

    (vi) Strengthening of the back

    (vii) Development of brain and sensory organs

    (viii) Increase in the complexity of teeth for feeding on grass

    The evolution of horse is represented as

    evolution of horse

    (i) Eohippus

    It had a short head and neck. It had four functional toes and a splint of 1 and 5 on each hind limb and a splint of 1 and 3 in each forelimb. The molars were short crowned that were adapted for grinding the plant diet.

    (ii) Mesohippus

    It was slightly taller than Eohippus. It had three toes in each foot.

    (iii) Merychippus

    It had the size of approximately 100 cm. Although it still had three toes in each foot, but it could run on one toe. The side toe did not touch the ground. The molars were adapted for chewing the grass.

    (iv) Pliohippus

    It resembled the modern horse and was around 108 cm tall. It had a single functional toe with splint of 2nd and 4th in each limb.

    (v) Equus

    Pliohippus gave rise to Equus or the modern horse with one toe in each foot. They have incisors for cutting grass and molars for grinding food.


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