CAT 2020 Reading Comprehension Solution 01

[PASSAGE]

Direction for Reading Comprehension: The pass ages given here are followed by some questions that have four answer choices; read the passage carefully and pick the option whose answer best aligns with the passage

In the late 1960s, while studying the northern-elephant-seal population along the coasts of Mexico and California, Burney Le Boeuf and his colleagues couldn’t help but notice that the threat calls of males at some sites sounded different from those of males at other sites. . .. That was the first time dialects were documented in a nonhuman mammal. . ..

All the northern elephant seals that exist today are descendants of the small herd that survived on Isla Guadalupe [after the near extinction of the species in the nineteenth century]. As that tiny population grew, northern elephant seals started to recolonize former breeding locations. It was precisely on the more recently colonized islands where Le Boeuf found that the tempos of the male vocal displays showed stronger differences to the ones from Isla Guadalupe, the founder colony.

In order to test the reliability of these dialects over time, Le Boeuf and other researchers visited Año Nuevo Island in California—the island where males showed the slowest pulse rates in their calls—every winter from 1968 to 1972. “What we found is that the pulse rate increased, but it still remained relatively slow compared to the other colonies we had measured in the past” Le Boeuf told me.

At the individual level, the pulse of the calls stayed the same: A male would maintain his vocal signature throughout his lifetime. But the average pulse rate was changing. Immigration could have been responsible for this increase, as in the early 1970s, 43 percent of the males on Año Nuevo had come from southern rookeries that had a faster pulse rate. This led Le Boeuf and his collaborator, Lewis Petrinovich, to deduce that the dialects were, perhaps, a result of isolation over time, after the breeding sites had been recolonized. For instance, the first settlers of Año Nuevo could have had, by chance, calls with low pulse rates. At other sites, where the scientists found faster pulse rates, the opposite would have happened—seals with faster rates would have happened to arrive first.

As the population continued to expand and the islands kept on receiving immigrants from the original population, the calls in all locations would have eventually regressed to the average pulse rate of the founder colony. In the decades that followed, scientists noticed that the geographical variations reported in 1969 were not obvious anymore. . . . In the early 2010s, while studying northern elephant seals on Año Nuevo Island, [researcher Caroline] Casey noticed, too, that what Le Boeuf had heard decades ago was not what she heard now. . . . By performing more sophisticated statistical analyses on both sets of data, [Casey and Le Boeuf] confirmed that dialects existed back then but had vanished. Yet there are other differences between the males from the late 1960s and their great-great-grandsons: Modern males exhibit more individual diversity, and their calls are more complex. While 50 years ago the drumming pattern was quite simple and the dialects denoted just a change in tempo, Casey explained, the calls recorded today have more complex structures, sometimes featuring doublets or triplets. . . .


Question: 1

From the passage it can be inferred that the call pulse rate of male northern elephant seals in the southern rookeries was faster because:

  1. a large number of male northern elephant seals from Año Nuevo Island might have migrated to the southern rookeries to recolonise them.
  2. a large number of male northern elephant seals migrated from the southern rookeries to Año Nuevo Island in the early 1970s.
  3. the male northern elephant seals of Isla Guadalupe with faster call pulse rates might have been the original settlers of the southern rookeries.
  4. the calls of male northern elephant seals in the southern rookeries have more sophisticated structures, containing doublets and triplets.
Option: 3
Solution:

Some questions of this passage are very difficult. We have tried our best to answer the questions for which we found convincing evidence in the passage.

This question is an inference question and asks us to mark the option that suggests why the call pulse rate of male northern elephant seals in the southern rookeries was faster. The evidence for this can be seen in the last part of the second last paragraph. In that paragraph we have “this led Le Boeuf to deduce that dialects were a result of isolation over time...for instance, the first settlers of Ano Nuevo could have had, by chance, calls with low pulse rates. At other sites, where scientists found faster pulse rates the opposite would have happened-seals with faster rates would have happened to arrive first”.  So if the pulse rate of the elephant seals in southern rookeries was faster, it was because the seals with faster call pulse rates might have been the original settlers (or might have arrived there first). Thus C is the best choice. Option A goes out because if that were the case, then the pulse rates of the seals in southern rookeries would have been slower, not faster. Option B also goes because here the question is migration to southern rookeries and not from southern rookeries. For choice D, there is no evidence whatsoever.


Question: 2

Which one of the following conditions, if true, could have ensured that male northern elephant seal dialects did not disappear?

  1. The call tempo of individual immigrant male seals changed to match the average tempo of resident male seals in the host colony.
  2. Besides Isla Guadalupe, there was one more founder colony with the same average male call tempo from which male seals migrated to various other colonies.
  3. The call tempo of individual male seals in host colonies changed to match the average call tempo of immigrant male seals.
  4. Besides Isla Guadalupe, there was one more surviving colony with the same average male call tempo from which no migration took place.
Option: 1
Solution:

This might look a little difficult, but we have a clear evidence that helps us arrive at the right answer. We must read the first sentence of the last paragraph “as the population continued to expand and the islands kept on receiving immigrants from the original population, the calls in all locations would have eventually regressed to the average pulse rate of the founder colony”. This is a simple concept of average. Now the question is which of the following could have ensured (it means it is asking us for a hypothetical situation) that male northern elephant seals dialects did not disappear. It disappeared because the average changed because of migrant seals. As more and more seals came, the average regressed to “the pulse rate of the founder colony”. To make the situation opposite, the call tempo of the individual immigrant seal should have changed to match the average tempo of resident male seals of the “host colony.” If option A had happened, the male northern seals dialect would not have disappeared. Option C is the exact opposite of A. We must remember here that the islands kept on receiving immigrants from the original population, and the average pulse rate changed to match the founder colony, not the host colony. That’s why the host colony’s dialects disappeared. Had option A been true, this would not have happened.


Question: 3

Which one of the following best sums up the overall history of transformation of male northern elephant seal calls?

  1. The calls have transformed from exhibiting simple composition, great individual variety, and less regional variety to complex composition, less individual variety, and great regional variety.
  2. Owing to migrations in the aftermath of near species extinction, the average call pulse rates in the recolonised breeding locations exhibited a gradual increase until they matched the tempo at the founding colony.
  3. The calls have transformed from exhibiting simple composition, less individual variety, and great regional variety to complex composition, great individual variety, and less regional variety.
  4. Owing to migrations in the aftermath of near species extinction, the calls have transformed from exhibiting complex composition, less individual variety, and great regional variety to simple composition, less individual variety, and great regional variety.
Option: 3
Solution:

This is the only easy question of this passage. The last sentence of the passage says “modern males exhibit more individual diversity, and their calls are more complex...sometimes featuring doublets or triplets”. So to capture the overall history of transformation, we must capture this last part of the passage. There is more of individual variety, but less regional variety. You must be wondering why! The passage clearly tells us that “in the decades that followed, scientists noticed that the geographical variations reported in 1969 were not obvious anymore...”. C is the best choice. A and D go out because they mention “great regional variety”.


Question: 4

All of the following can be inferred from Le Boeuf’s study as described in the passage EXCEPT that:

  1. male northern elephant seals might not have exhibited dialects had they not become nearly extinct in the nineteenth century.
  2. the average call pulse rate of male northern elephant seals at Año Nuevo Island increased from the early 1970s till the disappearance of dialects.
  3. the influx of new northern elephant seals into Año Nuevo Island would have soon made the call pulse rate of its male seals exceed that of those at Isla Guadalupe.
  4. changes in population and migration had no effect on the call pulse rate of individual male northern elephant seals.
Option: 3
Solution:

This is a difficult question but option elimination can help us arrive at the right answer. We have to mark the answer that cannot be inferred, as it is an EXCEPT question. A can be inferred because the seals exhibited dialects because the population was isolated. This isolation was a result of the seal population being almost on the verge of extinction. Since their numbers were very small, the isolation happened.  As the population grew there was immigration to different places and this resulted in disappearance of the dialects. Thus we can infer A. Option B also can be inferred from the para that talks about Ano Nuevo seals. It clearly suggests that the average pulse rate increased from 1970s till the dialects disappeared. Option C is certainly a wrong inference because the influx might have resulted in pulse rate of the seals averaging to that of Isla Guadalupe, but not exceeding. The word “exceeding” makes this a wrong inference, and therefore the right answer. Option D is exactly true to what the passages, as a whole, discusses. The individual call rate did not change throughout, but the immigration made all the difference, by ensuring influx of seals with higher pulse rate, thus increasing the average pulse rate.


CAT 2020 RC passage with solution