Example test questions: Early Classification

Multiple choice

  1. Who devised the Latin-based system of nomenclature that is used world-wide today?
  2. Why are Multituberculates notable?
  3. In what way does the reproductive biology of the Prototheria differ from all other living Subclasses of mammals?
  4. One of George Simpson’s major contributions to developing a classification scheme for the Class Mammalia was (a. dividing mammals up into three distinct subclasses based on reproductive characteristics, b. dividing mammals up into three groups based on mode of locomotion, c. recognizing that “viviparous quadruped” excludes many mammalian taxa, d. inventing cladistics)

Short answer

  1. In 1693 John Ray proposed that mammals included those animals that (1) had blood, (2) breathed with lungs, (3) had 2 ventricles in their heart and (4) were viviparous. Evaluate this definition based on your knowledge of mammalian characteristics. Is this definition effective in differentiating mammals from other vertebrates? Which (if any) parts of Ray's chosen characteristics are diagnostic of mammals? Which current mammalian taxa would be excluded from his definition (common names are okay)?
  2. In the first edition of Systema Naturae, Linnaeus defined mammals as being hairy, quadrupedal, viviparous and making milk. Evaluate this definition based on your knowledge of mammalian characteristics. Is this definition effective in differentiating mammals from other vertebrates? Which current mammalian orders would be excluded from his definition? Which (if any) parts of Linnaeus's chosen characteristics are diagnostic of mammals?