A Guide to the GRE/Reading Practice 1

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Reading Practice 1[edit]

“Tiktaalik” is one of the most famous ancient fossils ever discovered due to its status as a transitional species - a fish which also walked on land. It is perhaps 5 this great reverence of the creature which has led many to ignore its significance quite independent of its place in the evolutionary record. The fossil has also been greatly illuminative due to its status 10 as an ancient fish, and thus, its capacity as a fossil to speak to the physiology of such ancient fish and their differences from their contemporaries. Combined with other fossils, Tiktaalik forms a piece of 15 the puzzle in tracking the development of modern fishes from their pre-Cambrian ancestors.




2. As used in the passage, “reverence” (line 5) most nearly means

(A) indifference (B) exaltation (C) criticism (D) proliferation (E) extinguishment 1. According to the passage, “tiktaalik” is most commonly referenced or discussed because

(A) it dates back to the pre-Cambrian period (B) it has many significant physiological differences from other ancient fish (C) it is the oldest transitional fossil ever found (D) it is an example of an amphibious fish (E) it is not the only fossil from its era of a land-walking fish


3. According to the passage, the author believes which one of the following about tiktaalik?

(A) Prior to its discovery, there were no fossils linking ancient pre-Cambrian fish to modern fish. (B) Its basic physiology is not substantially different from modern fishes today. (C) It spent most of its life in the water despite its terrestrial abilities. (D) It is scientifically valuable due to its status as an ancient fish notwithstanding any capacity to walk on land. (E) It is inconsistent with many other fossils from the era, spurring the need for more research.


3.11 Reading Practice Passage 1

Answers to Practice Questions[edit]

1. (D)

This comes from the first sentence in lines 1-4. Tiktaalik is most famous because it was a fish that could walk on land.

While the pre-Cambrian period of choice (A) is mentioned, it is not mentioned as the era of tiktaalik. Moreover, there are not “many” physiological differences between tiktaalik and other ancient fish according to the passage - the passage only discusses their similarities. Choice (C) is incorrect because nothing claims that tiktaalik is the oldest transitional fossil. (All fossils are arguably transitional fossils) Choice (E) is similarly not supported because the passage at no point says tiktaalik is the only land-walking fish.

2. (B)

“Reverence” refers to holding something in high regard, which is also the meaning of “exaltation.”

“Indifference” is the lack of any strong opinion on a given matter, while “criticism” is the expression of negative feelings on a matter - the opposite of reverence. “Proliferation” refers to the spreading or multiplying of something, while “extinguishment” means the cessation or expiration of something.

3. (D)

This is arguably the main point of the passage. This passage is stating that while the fossil tiktaalik is primarily remembered for is amphibious characteristic, it nonetheless stands on its own as an example of a prehistoric fish.

Choice (A) is incorrect because, while the author claims tiktaalik links ancient fish to modern fish, the author doesn't claim that it is the only fossil that does this. Choice (B) is incorrect because nothing in the passage compares the physiology of tiktaalik to that of modern fish - tiktaalik is only compared to its contemporaries. Answer (C) is incorrect because nothing in the passage describes how much time tiktaalik spent in the water, and choice (E) is incorrect because there is no such “inconsistency” discussed between tiktaalik and other fossils of the era.