Basic Tree Thinking Assessment*

This quiz includes a number of multiple-choice questions you can use to test yourself on your
ability to accurately interpret evolutionary trees. Insofar as real biological examples have
been used they are accurate based on current knowledge.

*After D.A. Baum, S.D. Smith and S.S. Donvan


1. By reference to the tree given, which of the following is an accurate statement of relationships?

a) A green alga is more closely related to a red alga than to a moss
b) A green alga is more closely related to a moss than to a red alga
c) A green alga is equally related to a red alga and a moss
d) A green alga is related to a red alga, but is not related to a moss


2. By reference to the tree above, which of the following is an accurate statement of relationships?

a) A crocodile is more closely related to a lizard than to a bird
b) A crocodile is more closely related to a bird than to a lizard
c) A crocodile is equally related to a lizard and a bird
d) A crocodile is related to a lizard, but is not related to a bird


3. By reference to the tree above, which of the following is an accurate statement of relationships?

a) A seal is more closely related to a horse than to a whale
b) A seal is more closely related to a whale than to a horse
c) A seal is equally related to a horse and a whale
d) A seal is related to a whale, but is not related to a horse


4. Which of the five marks in the tree above corresponds to the most recent common ancestor of a mushroom and a sponge?


5. If you were to add a trout to the phylogeny shown above, where would its lineage attach to the rest of the tree?