You should expect questions to be worded in a specific way so that there is no confusion about what the questions are asking. Some of the following questions do not meet that standard, but they should direct your attention to particular topics that will probably be covered on the exam. The exam will total 70 points and will have 5-7 questions, with choices among some questions.

Using a specific example from lab of a vertebrate morphological or behavioral characteristic as illustration, discuss the action of natural selection in the evolution of adaptation.

You should expect something about systematics.

Briefly describe (don't just list) the five unifying synapomorphies of the Phylum Chordata.

Why are hagfish referred to as "honorary vertebrates"?

Briefly describe the role of the visceral skeleton in the evolution of jaws, jaw supports, and braincase elements.

Briefly distinguish between protostomes and deuterostomes.

Here is an example of what you will likely find at the beginning of the exam:

There are five essays, of variable point value (stated with each question; 70 points total).  Answer either question 1 or  2, question 3, either question 4 or question 5, and any two of questions 6, 7, or 8. Please write clearly and concisely, using proper grammar and scientific vocabulary. Be as specific as possible in your answers, and answer only the questions asked, with a minimum of superfluous information. Be aware that because of constraints on your time, many important points are not addressed on this exam -- do not answer questions that I do not ask. Also please avoid redundancy in your answers -- in general, there is no overlap between the questions. I expect essays that are series of statements strung together into a logical and cohesive unit; each essay requires you to make specific points for full credit. You may use labeled sketches or outlines where specified. Some essays ask for interpretations or speculation in addition to factual information. You should justify your interpretations using factual information about morphology, ecology, or other phenotypic characteristics.