Directions (1-8): Read the given passage carefully and answer the questions that follow. Certain words are printed in bold to help you locate them while answering some of these.
Every now and then, a story pops up claiming that the population living on the planet today outnumbers everyone who’s ever died throughout the course of human history. That’s a pretty (staggering) claim, but is there any truth to it? Not really, but the fact has been repeated for a long time. The idea first showed up in the mid-1970s. It was claimed that 75 per cent of the people who had ever walked on the planet were alive then, and even though it’s true that we’re living longer than we ever have before, it’s far from true that the world’s birth rates are that high.
The Population Reference Bureau states that people looking to find out how many people have been alive on the planet is one of their most popular questions, and it’s one that’s just as (elusive) to answer. A little bit of reflection on the sheer number of people that have gone before us seems to make it clear that it can’t possibly be true, but in 1995 the PRB gave it a shot at proving the theory wrong once and for all. And it wasn’t as easy to do as you might think. For about 99 per cent of human history, there isn’t any data on things like birth and death rates. Even the number of years we’re looking at—research scholar Carl Haub picked 50,000 years as a likely starting point—is up for debate.
Taking into account estimated population sizes, birth rates, and death rates, Haub came up with around 107 billion people who had walked the Earth as of 2011. In the same year, the world’s population was 6.987 billion, so at 6.5 per cent of history’s inhabitants still living, we’re not even close to having that 1970s factoid become truth. There are, though, a huge number of variables that they came across as they were trying to estimate the world’s population. Figuring out how long mankind has been around was the first difficulty, with some early Homo sapiens ancestors showing up around 700,000 BC. Do those people count, or do we start with the appearance of more modern humans 50,000 years ago?
Just how many pockets of populations there were is up for debate, too, with a very rough estimate of a world population of five million at the time we were figuring out how agriculture worked. Throw in famines, plagues, natural disasters, and even rough winters that could wipe out an entire population and you’re looking at even more variables. By the time we hit the turning point from AD to BC, there’s a massive disagreement on how big the population was, mainly because of the Roman Empire. Estimates range from 45 million to 90 million, and when you’re figuring out birth rates for that many people, that leaves a lot of guesswork.
By around 1800, we have reliable data that makes coming up with population numbers at least semi-reliable. That’s about the time that organized countries and governments started taking a census and collecting taxes, giving us at least a ballpark figure for those years. But our idea of existence is being challenged with the emerging technology of social media. According to the BBC, there are about 30 million dead people on Facebook as of 2012—after it had been around for only eight years. Some estimates suggest that around 8,000 Facebook users die every day.
Which of the following parameters did the research scholar Carl Haub take into account in order to determine the number of people who had previously walked the Earth?
I. Population sizes
II. Birth rates
III. Death ratesBoth I and IIBoth II and IIIOnly IIIBoth I and IIIAll of theseOption E
The answer lies in the opening statement of the 3rd paragraph, ‘Taking into account estimated population sizes, birth rates, and death rates, Haub came up with around 107 billion people who had walked the Earth as of 2011.’
- What does the following sentence from the passage imply?
‘Throw in famines, plagues, natural disasters, and even rough winters that could wipe out an entire population, and you’re looking at even more variables’Natural disasters play a significant role in determining the death rate.One needs to consider a number of factors to determine the number of people who have walked the earth to date.Natural disasters cause people to migrate from one place to another.Only those natural disasters which have killed humans in the past are worthy of being considered while determining the population of a place.None of the aboveOption B
The passage or the author is not concerned about natural disasters . The reason behind mentioning the given sentence is to highlight the difficulties faced in reaching an exact figure of the number of people walked on the Earth to date. The claim on a mater like this cannot be made without taking into account a number of variables (factors) that must have affected the number of people who walked the earth. Only option B paraphrases this idea, making it the correct answer. All the other options are irrelevant.
- What is the meaning of the idiom ‘Ballpark figure’ as given in the passage?
A satisfactory resultA precise numberAn impractical estimationA rough numerical approximationA pre – decided ratioOption D
A ballpark figure means to have a rough numerical estimate or approximation. Ballpark figures are commonly used by accountants, salespersons and other professionals to estimate current or future results.
- Which among the following is/ are the most popular question(s) with respect to the Population Reference Bureau?
I. How many people have been alive on the planet?
II. What is the total number of humans who have died to date?
III. What has been the death toll so far, specifically caused by natural disasters?Both I and IIBoth II and IIIOnly IBoth I and IIIAll of the aboveOption C
The answer lies in the opening statement of the 2nd paragraph, ‘The Population Reference Bureau states that people looking to find out how many people have been alive on the planet is one of their most popular questions, and it’s one that’s just as elusive to answer.’
- Which of the following variable(s) has been discussed in the passage as a difficulty faced while trying to estimate the world’s population?
I. Figuring out how long mankind has been around.
II. Whether Homo sapiens count or does one only consider more modern humans.
III. The number of pockets of populations.Both I and IIBoth II and IIIOnly IOnly IIIAll of theseOption E
The answer can be found towards the conclusion of the 3rd paragraph and the opening statement of the 4th paragraph: ‘Figuring out how long mankind has been around was the first difficulty, with some early Homo sapiens ancestors showing up around 700,000 BC. Do those people count, or do we start with the appearance of more modern humans 50,000 years ago?… Just how many pockets of populations there were is up for debate, too, with a very rough estimate of a world population of five million at the time we were figuring out how agriculture worked.’
- Which of the following carries the opposite meaning of the statement given below?
“Every so often, a story pops up claiming that the population living on the planet today outnumbers everyone who’s ever died throughout the course of human history.”The history of the Earth has witnessed people dying at a rate higher than the registered mortality rate combined accommodates now.Claims have been made stating that the Earth at the present accommodates an exceptionally less number of people when compared to the cumulative number of those who have so far died in the history of the Earth.Astonishing claims regarding the population of humans across centuries have been made, stating that the population during the ancient and the medieval history was more than it is today, overlooked only because of a lack of a systematic census system.Astounding stories are population about the current population being higher than all the number of all the dead combined.The number of people who have taken birth and died in the nineteenth and the twentieth century exceeds the number of the dead in the previous two centuries.Option B
According to the given statement, the population on the Earth today is more than the number of all the dead (in the whole human history) combined. Thus, an opposite statement would claim that the number of the dead so far is more than the current population of the Earth. Option B states that the current population is way less than the total number of the dead. Thus, B is the correct answer. Option D carries the same meaning as the given statement.
- Which of the following words is the antonym of ‘elusive’ as used in the passage?
‘Elusive’ means difficult to find or achieve. Thus, option E is the synonym of the word. The antonym, therefore, would be “easy”.
- Which of the following words is the synonym of ‘staggering’ as used in the passage?
‘Staggering’ means deeply shocking or astonishing’. Thus, option A is the correct answer.
The young workers brought forth some sparkling new suggestions for ________________ our product.
III. alleviatingOnly IOnly IIOnly IIIBoth I & IIBoth I & IIIOption D
Improve means to make or become better.
Alleviate means to make pain or problems less severe.
Upgrade means to raise (something) to a higher standard, in particular improve (equipment or machinery) by adding or replacing components.
The verb in blank should be something that can be applicable on the “product”. Since products do not have “sufferings”, alleviate is not suitable for the blank. A product, however, can be improved or upgraded.
- His economic policies have won widespread praise for ________________ government debt.
III. pilingOnly IOnly IIOnly IIIBoth I & IIBoth I & IIIOption A
Reduce means to make smaller or less in amount, degree, or size.
Fund means to provide with money for a particular purpose.
Pile means to be stacked or loaded with.
The only action on debt that would garner a praise is “reduce”.
Directions(9-10): In the given question, a statement with a blank has been given, followed by three word out of which more than one can complete the sentence grammatically and contextually. Find the word (s) which can fill the blank and choose the option accordingly.