Essential species quiz

Here is a short multiple-choice quiz to test your knowledge of our fellow animals.

Instructions: Choose the species that best fit the descriptions below.

Note: Although some may share a few of the characteristics, they must meet all the criteria listed in order to qualify as a correct answer.

1. Which two species fit the following description?
Highly social
Live in established communities
Master planners and builders of complex, interconnected dwellings
Have a language
Can readily learn and invent words
Greet one another by kissing

A. Humans
B. Prairie Dogs
C. Dolphins
D. Penguins

Answer: A. and B

2. Which two species fit the following description?
Practice communal care of the youngsters on their block
Beneficial to others who share their turf
Essential to the health of their environment
Without them an ecosystem unravels
Have been reduced to a tiny portion of their original population

A. Humans
B. Prairie Dogs
C. Bison
D. Hyenas

Answer: B. and C.

3. Which two species fit the following description?
Out of control pest
Multiplying at a phenomenal pace
Physically crowding all other life forms off the face of the earth
Characterized by a swellheaded sense of superiority
Convinced they are of far greater significance than any other being
Nonessential in nature’s scheme

A. Humans
B. Prairie Dogs
C. Cockroaches
D. Sewer Rats

Answer: Sorry, trick question; the only species fitting the criteria is A.

If this seems a harsh assessment of the human race or a tad bit misanthropic, remember, we’re talking about the species that single-handedly and with malice aforethought blasted, burned and poisoned the passenger pigeon (at one time the most numerous bird on the entire planet) to extinction and has nearly wiped out the blue whale (by far the largest animal the world has ever known). Add to those crowning achievements the near-total riddance of the world’s prairie dogs, thereby putting the squeeze on practically all their grassland comrades, and you can start to see where this sort of disrelish might be coming from.

When the dust settles on man’s reign of terror, he will be best remembered as an egomaniacal mutant carnivorous ape who squandered nature’s gifts and goose-stepped on towards mass extinction, in spite of warnings from historians and scientists and pleas from the caring few…

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