Directions: Read the following passage and answer the questions that follows.
The menopause is a puzzle. Why do women, unlike most female mammals, stop reproducing decades before they die? Analysing birth and death records shows that the assistance they give in bringing up grandchildren does have a measurable effect on those grandchildren’s survival. But that does not prove such assistance is more valuable in evolutionary terms than continued fertility would be.
Two other mammals undergo a menopause, however. These are killer whales and short-finned pilot whales. And a long-term analysis of killer-whale populations, by Darren Croft of the University of Exeter, in England, and his colleagues, just published in Current Biology, suggests the missing part of the explanation may be that the menopause not only frees a female to help raise the grandoffspring, but also reduces competition between her and her gravid and nursing daughters.
Dr Croft’s killer whales swim off the coasts of British Columbia, in Canada, and its southern neighbour, the American state of Washington. They have been monitored by marine biologists every year since 1973. They live in pods of 20-40 animals and are now so well known that individual animals can be identified by the shapes of their fins, the patterns of their saddle patches and from scratches that they have picked up in the rough and tumble of oceanic life. Their sexes are known, too. Though killer whales’ genitalia are not visible from the outside, distinctive pigmentation patterns around their genital slits distinguish males from females. And which calves belong to which mothers can be deduced by seeing who spends most time with whom.
The data thus collected let Dr Croft analyse the lives of 525 calves born into three of the pods. He found that if an elderly female gave birth at around the same time as a youngster, her calf was, on average, 1.7 times more likely to die before the age of 15 than the youngster’s was. This was not caused directly by the mother’s age. In the absence of such coincidence of birth, the calves of elderly mothers were just as likely to live to 15 as those of young mothers. But when it came to head-to-head arrogation of resources for offspring, the youngsters out-competed their elders, and their offspring reaped the benefits.
Plugging these numbers into his model, Dr Croft showed that the diminution of fecundity in elderly females that this intergenerational competition creates, combined with the fact that the youngsters an elderly female is competing with are often her own daughters (so it is her grand offspring that are benefiting), means it is better for her posterity if she gives up breeding altogether, and concentrates her efforts on helping those daughters. Whether women once gained the same sorts of benefits from the menopause as killer whales do remains to be determined. But it is surely a reasonable hypothesis.
- Q: Which of the following is true about Dr Croft?
a. he analysed that the offsprings of his killer whales reaped the benefits
b. marine biologists moniter his killer whales since 1973
c. he published his analysis in Current BiologyOnly bOnly a & cOnly b & cOnly cAll are correctOption C
- Why do women, unlike most female mammals, stop reproducing decades before they die?
the menopause not only frees a female to help raise the grandoffspring, but also reduces competition between her and her gravid and nursing daughters.it is better for her posterity if she gives up breeding altogether, and concentrates her efforts on helping those daughters.the youngsters an elderly female is competing with are often her own daughtersgenitalia are not visible from the outside, distinctive pigmentation patterns around their genital slits distinguish males from females.Not mentioned in the passageOption E
- What is the most appropriate synonym of “gravid”:
expectantfertilepreggersenceinteAll are correctOption E
gravid = carrying eggs or young; pregnant.
- How do the marine biologists determine which calves belong to which mothers?
by the patterns of their saddle patchesby seeing who spends most time with whomby the same sorts of benefits they gain from each otherby competing between her and her nursing daughtersAll are correctOption B
- What is the hypothesis of Dr. Croft?
killer whales compete for resources with their offspringsthe assistance they give in bringing up grandchildren does have a measurable effect on those grandchildren’s survival.killer whales gives up breeding to help their daughters to nurture.Both a & cAll are correctOption C
- What is the meaning of phrase swim-off?
to move along in watera distance or stretch of waterto race in waterBoth a & cAll are correctOption D
- What is the most appropriate antonym of “fecundity”:
abundancyaridnesscreativityprolificacyAll are correctOption B
- Who among the following undergo menopause?
Short-finned pilot whalesKiller whalesHuman femalesNone of theseAll are correctOption E
- What is the tone of the passage?
AnalyticalCausticContemptousApatheticAll are correctOption A
- What is the most appropriate title of the passage?
Whales versus FemalesReproduction in whalesA whale of a tailFemales & WhalesAll are correctOption C
15 Thoughts to “English: Reading Comprehension Set 36”
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