History Quiz: Prehistory

Guess the answers to these questions about prehistory.
Quiz by MaxStickies
Last updated: February 28, 2020
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First submittedFebruary 28, 2020
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1. Dinosaurs first evolved during which period?
They evolved around 243 to 233.23 million years ago.
2. Which one of these isn't the name of a hominid?
Homo rudolfensis
Australopithecus garhi
Homo pupillam
Homo rudolfensis is a hominid that existed on the morphological boundary between the genera Homo and Australopithecus, on which Australopithecus garhi may have existed as well.
3. What type of reptile was Purussaurus?
It was a genus of giant caiman that lived in South America during the Miocene epoch. It is estimated to have reached 10.3 metres.
4. Which giant fish existed first?
It existed about 382-358 million years ago. Leedsichthys existed about 165-152 million years ago, and Xiphactinus existed about 112-66 million years ago.
5. Predator X belonged to which genus of plesiosaurs?
Its scientific name is Pliosaurus funkei. It was around 10-13 metres long.
6. Which of these measurements is the largest?
Length of the largest turtle to have ever existed
Length of the largest hippo to have ever existed
Length of the largest troodontid to have ever existed
The turtle, Archelon, measured up to 4.6 metres long (based on the largest specimen). Hippopotamus gorgops was the largest hippo, at an estimated length of 4.3 metres, while the largest troodontid, Latenivenatrix, was around 3-3.5 metres long.
7. What are the closest living relatives of Helicoprion (pictured in thumbnail)?
It is famous for having a tooth-whorl. While it was related to chimaeras, it looked somewhat like a shark.
8. Which of these rhinoceros was the largest?
Woolly Rhinoceros
One species, Elasmotherium caucasicum, could have reached five metres in length, while woolly rhinos only reached 3 to 3.8 metres. Teleoceras was much smaller.
9. Which of these was the most severe extinction event in Earth's history?
It killed up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of terrestrial vertebrates, and while it is not completely clear what caused it, the leading hypothesis is that massive volcanic eruptions played havoc with the environment. The Ordovician-Silurian extinction events (more than one event but typically grouped together) was the second most severe extinction event in Earth's history and is believed to have been caused by the oceans cooling (life on Earth back then lived primarily in the oceans and life had adapted to live in a warm climate) and the sea levels declining (as such eliminating the habitat of many species). A gramma-ray burst, volcanism and metal poisoning in the oceans may all have played a part as well. The Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event is commonly known for killing off the (non-avian) dinosaurs, but all in all 76% of all life on Earth became extinct.
10. Which taxonomic class did Cameroceras belong to?
It was a genus of particularly large nautiloids of the order Endocerida, with size estimates of 6-9 metres in length.
11. Which of these sites was founded in the Neolithic?
Mozu Tombs
Göbekli Tepe
Stonehenge (the ring of standing stones only)
It was founded during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic. While the Stonehenge complex dates back to the Neolithic, the standing stones that can be seen today were put up in the Bronze Age. The Mozu Tombs were created in Japan's Kofun Period, after the introduction of iron.
12. Which scientific name is the least accurate?
The name means "king lizard", which is not at all accurate since the animal was a whale (because of the appearance of the skeleton, people originally thought it was a reptile). Daeodon means "hostile teeth" or "dreadful teeth", and the animal was a predator with vicious-looking teeth. The latter part of Arsinoitherium, "-therium", means "beast", while the other part comes from Pharaoh Arsinoe I, after whom the Faiyum Oasis was called in Ptolemaic Egypt; this was where the fossils were found.
13. Which of these ornithopod dinosaurs was the largest?
Its length has been estimated to be as much as 16.6 metres and it weighed up to 16 tonnes. Iguanodon may have been as long as 13 metres and was, possibly, around 3.08 tonnes or more. Parasaurolophus grew to around 9.5 metres in length and weighed around 2.5 tonnes.
14. Which animal from the Americas did Homo sapiens definitely not encounter?
Titanis, one of the "terror birds", became extinct 1.8 million years ago, well before humans (just Homo sapiens) evolved. Smilodon only became extinct 10,000 years ago, by which point humans had arrived in the Americas, and Megatherium (a giant ground sloth) also became extinct around this time. Humans hunting the prey of the former has been proposed as one of the reasons why Smilodon became extinct, while direct predation by humans has been attributed to Megatherium's extinction.
15. Which of these wasn't a real dinosaur?
It was a forgery made up of pieces taken from different fossils, from China. Gigantoraptor was a giant oviraptorosaur, while Dakotaraptor belonged to the family Dromaeosauridae, which also includes Velociraptor and Deinonychus.
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