Monday, April 07, 2008

Test Your Evolutionary Knowledge

Time for a fun game here at the Bayblab to give you a break from the usual highly demanding intellectual content! The topic is evolution and the subject is the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. As you should know D. melanogaster has long been used as a model organism in biology and has been particularly instrumental in most of the important advances in genetics over the past century. It is now being extensively used by researchers to understand human diseases such as cancer and Parkinson's.

So today's game is simple enough. I'll list off a bunch of organisms, and you say whether each is more, less or equally related (biologically) to us human beings than the fruit fly pomace fly?, D. melanogaster. So, for example, if the organism were the chimpanzee, the answer would be "more", as we clearly have more in common with chimps than fruit flies.

Everyone, including Creationists, can play. But no cheating please! That means no Google, Wikipedia or textbooks, etc. We just want to get an idea of what the average, highly intelligent Bayblab reader thinks. There's no penalty for wrong answers, but cheaters' comments will be deleted, they will be banned from the Bayblab for life, banished to PZ Myer's dungeon and forced to read Greg Laden's blog for the rest of their days. And Larry Moran will call you mean names. The winner will become very famous and enjoy 100 years of good blogging karma. The correct answers will be posted in a few days. Good luck!

Here we go:

1) The Starfishes (Asteroidea)


2) The Spotted Salamander


3) Palau stingless jellyfish


4) The Common Snail


5) Trichoplax adhaerens


6) Cloud Sponge, Aphrocallistes vastus


7) The Tunicate, Botrylloides violaceus


8) The Lancelet or Amphoxius


9) The roundworm, Caenorhabditis elegans.


10) Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus Albacore)


11) Market Squid


40 comments:

Rebecca said...

1) more

2) more

3) less

4) equally

5) less

6) less

7) more

8) more

9) equally

10) more

11) less

Drew Yates said...

1) less
2) more
3) less
4) more
5) less
6) less
7) less
8) less
9) less
10) more
11) more

Sigh. I know some of these must be "tricks."

fkngstpd said...

1.less
2.more
3.less
4.less
5.less
6.less
7.less
8.less
9.less
10.less
11.more

The Doc said...

1) more
2) more
3) less
4) less
5) less
6) less
7) more
8) more
9) less
10) more
11) less

Bayman said...

Thanks for playing. Keep it coming people. The p values aren't going to be to good with only n=4. Only a day or two of contest left...

rob said...

I know jack about this kind of stuff. I'm just going off the top of my head. Gut instincts. Do I find them more or less attractive as a mate than a drosophila is my criteria.
1.less
2.more
3.less
4.less
5.umm equal
6.equal
7.more
8.more
9.less
10.O baby. more
11.less

TheBrummell said...

Pedantic Man Rides Again!

the fruit fly Drosophila Melanogaster

Species names are never capitalized. Lose the capital M.

And they're not fruit flies, they're pomace flies; fruit flies (family Tephritidae) are bigger and actually eat fruit, rather than the fungus growing on fruit.

And on to the test...
1. More
2. More
3. Equal
4. Less
5. Equal
6. Equal
7. More
8. More
9. Less
10. More
11. Less

And now a certain someone can visit and tell me how very very wrong I am.

Sander said...

Here's my attempt. Trying to think what (or when) the most recent common ancestor of any pair (x,human), (x,drosophila) and (human,drosophila) would be, which is quite difficult since I am not a biologist. :)
1. equally
2. more
3. equally
4. less
5. equally
6. equally
7. more
8. more
9. less
10. more
11. more

RPM said...

Is the branching order of arthropods, roundworms, molluscs, and vertebrates resolved?

kamel said...

Here are my picks.

1)Less
2)More
3)Less
4)Less
5)Equal
6)Equal
7)More
8)More
8)More
9)Less
10)More
11)Less

Adrian Thysse, FCD. said...

1.more
2.more
3.less
4.equal
5.less
6.less
7.more
8.more
9.equal
10.more
11.equal

This better not be too embarrassing...

James Goetz said...

1) The Starfishes (Asteroidea) more
2) The Spotted Salamander more
3) Palau stingless jellyfish equal
4) The Common Snail less
5) Trichoplax adhaerens equal
6) Cloud Sponge, Aphrocallistes vastus equal
7) The Tunicate, Botrylloides violaceus more
8) The Lancelet or Amphoxius more
9) The roundworm, Caenorhabditis elegans. less
10) Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus albacore) more
11) Market Squid less

Bayman said...

brummell,

Thanks for correcting my sloppy genetic grammar.

The fruit/pomace fly distinction seems like an interesting story...I'm reading up on this as we speak.

Bayman said...

Ok looks like we have a lot of contestants rolling in from the Sandwalk, so we're going to keep this running for another 24h or so. Last chance to put you two cents in. Check back here for the correct answers on Friday! (What else would you do on Friday anyway?)

Nimravid said...

1. more
2. more
3. equal
4. less
5. equal
6. equal
7. more
8. more
9. less
10. more
11. less

*crosses fingers*

Bayman said...

RPM asked,
Is the branching order of arthropods, roundworms, molluscs, and vertebrates resolved?

This is something I would ask somebody like yourself. I expect Friday's answers post to trigger some heated debate. So just post your damn guesses already and get your evidence together for then! :)

kamel said...

Brummell,
The NCBI calls Drosophila a fruit fly (as does my old Drosophila manual from when I worked in a fly lab). It's just from common use, I'm sure, but I'll defer to Bayman if he's doing more reading on the subject. For those interested, the name comes from Greek: Black-bellied dew-lover.

It also seems I answered #8 twice. I guess I felt strongly about it.

Thordr said...

1 less
2 more
3 less
4 less
5 less
6 less
7 less
8 less
9 less
10 more
11 less
there are reasons I'm a geologist and not a biologist

Dave said...

I'm not a scientist at all. But since this is an experiment, I'll embarrass myself for science:

1. less
2. more
3. less
4. less
5. less
6. less
7. less
8. less
9. less
10. less
11. less

Anonymous Coward said...

1 =
2 >
3 =
4 <
5 =
6 =
7 >
8 >
9 <
10 >
11 <

michaelf said...

more
more
less
equal
less
less
more
more
equal
more
equal

MartinC said...

1. Less
2. More
3. Less
4. Equal
5. Less
6. Less
7. More
8. More
9. Equal
10. More
11. Equal

Anonymous said...

1. more
2. more
3. equal
4. less
5. equal
6. equal
7. more
8. more
9. less
10. more
11. less

Neil said...

It appears several have hit the nail already but I'll try to throw my lot in with the others.

more
more
equal
less
equal
equal
more
more
less
more
less

Anonymous said...

(this is Shirakawasuna)

Here's my guesses, based on no particularly detailed knowldge:

1. less
2. more
3. more
4. more
5. less
6. less
7. less
8. more
9. less
10. more
11. less

Lim Leng Hiong said...

Oooh a game!

"I'll list off a bunch of organisms, and you say whether each is more, less or equally related (biologically) to us human beings than the fruit fly pomace fly?, D. melanogaster."

Sounds odd. I assume you mean share a closer (more) / more distant (less) phylogenetic relationship to human beings as compared with D. melanogaster. (I hope that's not the "trick" part of question!)

Here goes...

1. less
2. more
3. less
4. less
5. less
6. less
7. less
8. more
9. less
10. more
11. less

Now to wait for the answers...

*twiddle thumbs*

Nimravid said...

So if several of us win, do we all get 100 days good blogging karma, or do we have to split the karma among us?

Anonymous Coward said...

No you win a romantic date with Kamel.

Diego RiaƱo said...

Well, here is my try:

1)more
2)more
3)less
4)less
5)equal
6)equal
7)equal
8)more
9)less
10)more
11)less

windy said...

1. more
2. more
3. less
4. equal
5. less
6. less
7. more
8. more
9. equal
10. more
11. equal

windy said...

PS. I hear the cover story of today's (Thursdays) Nature throws much light on this question ;) (luckily I was too lazy to read it earlier today, and was still able to take the test in all innocence. But everyone check it tomorrow!)

Nimravid said...

For those without access to Nature I have the phylogenetic tree from that article blogged from when the article first came out. No peeking until you take the quiz, though!

Bayman said...

Freaking Nature. Always copying my ideas. Obviously trying to cash in on all the publicity the Bayblab is generating. Well they're a little behind the ball.

Thanks for pointing out the article.

allana said...

1.more
2.more
3.equal
4.less
5.equal
6.equal
7.more
8.equal
9.equal
10.more
11.less

allana said...

crap-i used equal too many times-flashback to undergrad when you check to make sure your scantron is balanced . . . shudder

Alexander said...

1)more
2)more
3)equally
4)less
5)equally
6)equally
7)more
8)more
9)less
10)more
11)less

BB said...

From a musicologist's p.o.v.; whether it's closer (more recent common ancestor) or farther from humans than the fly:

1) farther
2) closer
3) farther
4) closer
5) farther
6) farther
7) closer
8) closer
9) farther
10) closer
11) closer

Duae Quartunciae said...

I'll play, if its not too late.

(1) more
(2) more
(3) equal
(4) equal
(5) equal
(6) equal
(7) equal
(8) more
(9) equal
(10) more
(11) less

I'm guessing I get seven or eight out of eleven...

TheBrummell said...

Is the branching order of arthropods, roundworms, molluscs, and vertebrates resolved?

I guessed that early embryogenesis traits unites the chordates with the echinoderms, and that possession of a coelom unites arthropods, nematodes, molluscs, chordates and lots of other things together, but excludes ctenophores, cnidarians, helminths, etc. Thus my "equal" answers.

It's probably not good to base such decisions on such a small number of character-states.

Kamel said: The NCBI calls Drosophila a fruit fly (as does my old Drosophila manual from when I worked in a fly lab). It's just from common use, I'm sure, but I'll defer to Bayman if he's doing more reading on the subject. For those interested, the name comes from Greek: Black-bellied dew-lover.

Bah! You think I'll trust NCBI's opinion on such issues as insect common names? Bah again I say! Geneticists like Morgan took over the Drosophilidae from classical entomologists without really understanding what they were getting in to. And don't even get me started on what I've heard from molecular types about the ecology of Drosophila melanogaster and kin.

That Nature paper is pretty interesting, and the timing is good. But I'm wary of leaning too heavily on their results - for one thing, their phylogeny unites Daphnia in a clade with Drosophila that excludes other crustaceans. I find that particular conclusion difficult to accept without further corroborating evidence.

Steve said...

Here goes -
1 more
2 more
3 equal
4 less
5 equal
6 equal
7 more
8 more
9 equal
10 more
11 less