Can You Pass This Basic Biology Vocab Test?

Becky Stigall

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About This Quiz

Vocabulary is part of every biology course. However, we bet you've forgotten the meaning of many scientific terms. Take this quiz to test your knowledge.

The study of fossils.

Paleontology is the study of fossils. The suffix "paleo" means "old."

Afraid of water.

Hydrophobic means a lack of affinity for water. Oil is hydrophobic.

The set of relationships between living organisms in an environment.

An ecology is the set of relationships between living organisms in an environment. This term also refers to the study of living organisms and their environments.

A specific environment.

A biome is an interactive living environment. Rain forests are biomes.

A substance that causes a reaction.

A catalyst is a substance that initiates a reaction. A catalyst can also be an event.

Part of the brain.

The cerebellum is a structure of the brain. It is responsible for motor control and balance.

A substance used by plants to synthesize sunlight.

Chlorophyll is what plants use to convert sunlight to energy. Chlorophyll is what makes plants green.

The study of cells.

Cytology is the study of cells. This study might include their structure and the way cells function.

A jelly-like substance inside a cell.

Cytoplasm is the jelly-like substance inside a cell. The prefix "cyto-" means "cell."


Diffusion is another word for dispersion. To disperse something is to spread it around.

An internal skeleton

An endoskeleton is an internal skeleton. Humans have endoskeletons.

An external skeleton.

An exoskeleton is a skeleton that is outside of the body. Insects have exoskeletons.

The study of how organisms function.

Physiology is the study of how organisms function. There are various branches of physiology that study different organisms and functions.

The outer layer of skin.

The epidermis is the outer layer of skin. The thickest layer of epidermis is on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

A membrane covering the internal organs.

The epithelium is the membranous covering of the internal organs. This is also called epithelial tissue.

The programming part of DNA.

Genes contain the information that program our bodies. Genes control our physical aspects.

The time period during which an embryo develops.

An embryo develops during the gestational period. The word has Latin roots.

The study of plants.

Botany is the study of plants. There are subspecialties of botany that focus on plants in different biomes.

A resting state.

Hibernation is a resting state. Bears hibernate during the winter.

Metabolic equilibrium.

Homeostasis is a word for metabolic equilibrium. The body is constantly seeking a state of equilibrium.

A strand of genes.

A chromosome houses DNA strands. Most people have 23 pairs of chromosomes.

An unverified thought.

A hypothesis is a scientific insight that is not yet verified. It is informed by evidence but not proven.

A rich soil.

Loam is rich soil that is made up of sand, clay and other organic materials. Loam can also be used to make bricks.

A layer of the Earth's crust.

The mantle is a layer of the Earth's crust. The mantle sits between the outer crust and the core.

Thin tissue that surrounds cells.

A membrane surrounds most internal structures. Skin is a membrane, but the word is typically used to refer to the much thinner coating inside the body.

The process of cell division.

Mitosis is the process of cell division. Each new cell contains an exact number of chromosomes.

To change or alter.

A mutation is a change or alteration of a structure. Mutations can be either beneficial or harmful, or possibly have no effect at all.

A poison that targets the nervous system.

A neurotoxin is a natural poison that targets the nervous system. Lead is a neurotoxin.

An organism that lives on a host organism.

A parasite is an organism that lives on a host organism. Not all parasites are bad.

An agent that causes disease.

Pathogens are disease-causing agents. Bacteria and viruses are pathogens.

A whiplike appendage.

Flagella are whiplike appendages that help some organisms move. Human sperm cells have flagella.

Powdery substance from a flowering plant.

Pollen comes from flowering plants. It scatters in the wind, or it is carried by insects and animals, to promote plant reproduction. Pollen triggers allergies in some people.

The act of breathing.

Respiration is the act of breathing. Cells also perform a type of respiration.

Has mass and takes up space.

Matter has mass and occupies space. Scientifically speaking, everything is made up of matter.

A substance that aids in digestion.

Bile aids in the digestion of fat. Long ago, it was associated with anger.

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