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GRE - Reading Comprehension - Critical Reading - Reading Comprehension

Experts have differed about where the genus Varanus (monitor lizards) originated. Because most existing species live in Australia, early researchers concluded that Varanus originated in Australia and subsequently island hopped westward along the Indo-Aust

Experts have differed about where the genus Varanus (monitor lizards) originated. Because most existing species live in Australia, early researchers concluded that Varanus originated in Australia and subsequently island hopped westward along the Indo-Australian archipelago. Herpetologist Robert Mertens later argued that Varanus probably originated in the archipelago. Chromosomal analysis has since supported Mertens’ contention, and in addition, (6) geologic evidence points to a collision between the archipelago and the Australian landmass after Varanus evolved—a fact that could account for the genus’ present distribution.

A related puzzle for scientists is the present distribution of Varanus’ largest surviving species, the Komodo dragon. These carnivores live only on four small islands in the archipelago where, scientists note, the prey base is too small to support mammalian carnivores. But the Komodo dragon has recently been shown to manage body temperature much more efficiently than do mammalian carnivores, enabling it to survive on about a tenth of the food energy required by a mammalian carnivore of comparable size

Q1. It can be inferred from the passage that the geographical distribution of the Komodo dragon is

A. currently less restricted than it was at the time researchers first began investigating the origins of the genus Varanus
B. currently more restricted than it was at the time researchers first began investigating the origins of the genus Varanus
C. less restricted than is the distribution of the genus Varanus as a whole
D. more restricted than is the distribution of the genus Varanus as a whole
E. viewed as evidence in favor of the hypothesis that the genus Varanus originated in the Indo-Australian archipelago

Q2. Which of the following elements in the debate over the origin of Varanus is NOT provided in the passage?

A. The evidence that led Mertens to argue that Varanus originated in the Indo-Australian archipelago
B. The evidence that led early researchers to argue that Varanus originated in Australia
C. A possible explanation of how Varanus might have spread to the Indo-Australian archipelago if it had originated in Australia
D. A possible explanation of how Varanus might have spread to Australia if it had originated in the Indo-Australian archipelago
E. An indication of the general present-day distribution of Varanus species between Australia and the Indo-Australian archipelago

Q3. It can be inferred that which of the following is true of the “geologic evidence” (line 6)?

A. It was first noted by Mertens as evidence in favor of his theory about the origins of Varanus.
B. It cannot rule out either one of the theories about the origins of Varanus discussed in the passage.
C. It accounts for the present distribution of the Komodo dragon.
D. It has led to renewed interest in the debate over the origins of Varanus.
E. It confirms the conclusions reached by early researchers concerning the origins of Varanus.

A1. The geographical distribution of the Komodo dragon is compared to the genus of Varanus. According to the passage, the genus Varanus are distributed in Australia and Indo-Australian archipelago. While the Komodo are distributed on four small islands of the archipelago. This indicates that the distribution of Komoda is more restricted compared to genus Varanus as a whole. This is answer choice D.

 

A2. A. Correct answer as the evidence that led Mertens to argue that Varanus originated in the Indo-Australian archipelago is not mentioned anywhere in the passage. The passage just says that Mertens findings found support later through chromosomal analysis. His basis for the conclusion isn't mentioned by the author.

B. The first line of the paragraph says that researchers believe that Varanus originated in Australia as current species still live there.

C. The first paragraph says that the Varanus must have hopped westward towards the Indo-Australian archipelago.

D.The first paragraph mentions that the collision between the archipelago and Australian landmass have led to the spread of Varanus into the Indo-Australian archipelago.

E. The collision between the archipelago and the Australian landmass is an indication for the general present-day distribution of Varanus species.

A3. The passage gives evidence for both the theories of the origination of the genus Varanus. The last line of the first paragraph clearly shows that the collision between the archipelago and Australian landmass suggests that both the theories could be true. The evidence does not favor any one theory but shows that there is a possibility of both being correct. Hence, answer choice B is the correct one. Rest of the answer choices have no evidence in the passage to support them.