During the Pleistocene epoch, several species of elephants isolated on islands underwent rapid dwarfing. This phenomenon was not necessarily confined to the Pleistocene, but may have occurred much earlier in the Southeastern Asian islands, although evidence is fragmentary. Several explanations are possible for this dwarfing. For example, islands often have not been colonized by large predators or are too small to hold viable predator populations. Once free from predation pressure, large body size is of little advantage to herbivores. Additionally, island habitats have limited food resources, a smaller body size and a need for fewer resources would thus be favored. Interestingly, the island rule is reversed for small mammals such as rodents, for which gigantism is favored under insular conditions.
1. The primary purpose of the passage is to
A. question the plausibility of one explanation sometimes offered for the dwarfing of certain species living on islands
B. argue that dwarfing of certain species living on islands occurred prior to the Pleistocene
C. cite evidence suggesting that dwarfing may have adverse consequences for some species living on islands
D. present some possible explanations for the dwarfing of certain species living on islandsE. contrast the effects of insular conditions on species with large body size and species with small body
2. According to the passage, which of the following statements about body size in mammals is true?
A. A large body is unfavorable to mammalian species’ survival under most conditions.
B. A large body tends to benefit small mammals living on islands.
C. For most herbivorous mammals, a large body size is easier to sustain in the absence of large predators.
D. Under most conditions, a small body is less beneficial to herbivorous mammals than to nonherbivorous mammals.
E. Among nonherbivorous mammals, a small body is more beneficial on an island than on a mainland.
Availability and management of water greatly influenced human settlement in the Maya Lowlands, and much of Mayan social innovation was centered on storing excess water for times of need. In northern Yucatan the permanent water table is sufficiently shallow that it can be accessed by natural wells known as cenotes. However, over much of the Maya Lowlands, the water table is too deep to have been available to the Maya. In response, they constructed artificial reservoirs to trap runoff. For example, Gallopin estimates that the reservoirs at Tikal (an ancient Mayan city) could have provided for the domestic needs of about 9,600 people for a period of 6 to 18 months. Even with elaborate water capture and management systems, the Maya were greatly dependent upon adequate rainfall over much of their empire and were thus susceptible to frequent or prolonged droughts that approached or exceeded the capacity of their reservoirs. In fact, evidence of droughts in the region based on studies of lake and shallow ocean sediments has led many researchers to suspect that climate was responsible for the Classic Maya collapse.
1. The author mentions “studies of lake and shallow ocean sediments” primarily in order to
A. describe the results of a novel study
B. identify the source of evidence that suggested a hypothesis
C. undermine a conventional explanation
D. highlight the importance of one type of evidence
E. clarify the value of a particular undertaking
2. The passage suggests which of the following about the reservoirs at Tikal?
A. They may have been designed by people from northern Yucatan.
B. They may have hastened the Classic Maya collapse.
C. They were insufficient to protect the Maya against some lingering droughts.
D. They were more effective than the cenotes found in northern Yucatan.
E. They formed a basis for certain Mayan cultural traditions.
3. The passage suggests which of the following about cenotes?
A. They allowed people in northern Yucatan to avoid dependence on artificial reservoirs.
B. They were less capacious than the artificial reservoirs found in the Maya Lowlands.
C. They helped protect people in the Maya Lowlands from prolonged droughts.
D. They allowed the Maya to store excess water for times of need.
E. They were an important Mayan social innovation.
A hoard of coins recently unearthed at an ancient Carthagian site bear an image of a face in profile with what appears to be a large mole on the cheek. Pointing out that an artist would be unlikely to include such a specific detail in a generalized portrayal of a face, some archaeologists have concluded that these coins portray an actual individual rather than an idealized type. However, this conclusion is unwarranted, since ______.
14. Which of the following most logically completes the argument?
A. archaeologists cannot determine the actual identity of the individual portrayed just from the likeness that appears on the coins
B. it cannot be established with certainty that Carthagian artists were on the whole less skillful at portraying human face than artists of other cultures
C. none of the other designs of Carthagian coins that have been discovered features a face with a mole on it
D. in ancient times it was quite common for the money circulated in a city or country to include coins that originated in other jurisdictions.
E. the relatively soft metal used for Carthagian coin molds sometimes resulted in the production of series of coins with unintended bumps