GRE RC Select Many Sample Questions
‘Dead as a dodo’ has become an evocative phrase in the English language. Here was a bird that became geographically confined to the islands of Mauritius, Reunion and Rodrigues in the Indian Ocean, just east to Africa. Long before men set foot and settled in numbers there, these isles were the Garden of Eden for the dodo. Food was in plenty, there were no predators and life was paradise. These islands were formed as a result of volcanic eruptions, and thus, were rich in mineral and nutrients. This led to the flourishing of vegetation and insect life. The dodo did not have to exert at all; it just had to totter along, eat to heart’s content and procreate. As a result, the bird in time grew in size and lost its need and ability to fly. To establish lineage, we can study the DNA of the genes. The Dutch colonised Mauritius in 1638, followed by the French and the British, and before we knew it, the colonizers wiped the bird out of existence. The dead may tell no tales but their DNA can be telltale. Fortunately, DNA is a rugged molecule that withstands the ravages of time reasonably well. Researchers have undertaken to compare the DNA sequences of the dodo and the solitaire birds; with those of 35 species of pigeons and doves. Where did they get the DNA of the dodo? From the head, leg and foot remains of a dodo donated to the University’s Natural History Museum in 1638. This was the specimen that inspired Lewis Carroll to write about the bird in his
`Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’
thus: ‘When they had been running half an hour or so, the dodo suddenly called out ‘The race is over’ and they all crowded round it, panting and asking ‘But who has won?’ ‘ poignant and prescient words from the bird about ‘race’.
Consider each of the choices separately and select all that apply.
1. The Dodo did not fly because
- A. there was no need for it to fly
- B. it became too huge to fly
- C. no other creature in the islands preyed on the Dodo
- D. of a reason not specified in the passage
- E. of colonisation
The correct answers are A, B and C.
The Dodo grew in size as there was plenty of vegetation for it to feed upon. Moreover, it did not have to travel long distances in search of food. There were no predators and so the Dodo did not have to attempt to outrun the predators when being stalked. As the Dodo did not have to exert at all, it lost the need to fly. In view of the above, it is evident that D and E are incorrect and A, B and C are thecorrect answers.
2. The passage suggests that the phrase ‘Dead as dodo’ has become
- A. a reminiscent phrase
- B. an oblivious phrase
- C. a suggestive phrase
- D. a phrase that is evolutionary in nature
- E. a phrase that suggests evulsions
The correct answers are A and C.
The author refers to the phrase, ‘Dead as a dodo’ as an evocative phrase. The term evocative is used to refer to something that is suggestive of something else in the past. The terms reminiscent and suggestive carry the same meaning. The term oblivious means to be ignorant or unaware. The words evolutionary and evulsions are not even close to the meaning of the word, evocative. Therefore, it is evident that B, D and E are incorrect and A and C are the correct answers.
3. The author describes the usage of the word, ‘race’ by the dodo as
- A. foolish
- B. foresighted
- C. irrational
- D. heartbreaking
- E. imprudent
The correct answers are B and D
It has been brought out that the usage of the word ‘race’ by the dodo is poignant and prescient. Out of all the given answer options, foresighted and heartbreaking mean the same as prescient and poignant respectively. All the other answer options do not imply the same meaning as suggested in the passage. Therefore, A, C and E are incorrect and B and D are the correct answers.
4. Despite the dodo being wiped out of existence, researchers have been able to study the lineage of the dodo because
- A. DNA is known to survive for ages
- B. partial body remains of a dodo were available
- C. solitaire birds are not yet extinct
- D. pigeons and doves are morphologically linked to the dodo
- E. it is known that the dodo thrived in the islands of Mauritius
The correct answers are A and B
It has been brought out in the passage that the dead cannot provide any information but their DNA can be a source of information as the DNA molecule can survive the ravages of time. The researchers were able to study the lineage of the dodo because of this reason and also because they had access to the remains of a dodo from a museum. This implies that C, D and E are incorrect and A and B are the correct answers.
5. What is poignant about the words ‘The race is over’?
- A. They all had been running and were now tired
- B. It could not be ascertained who the winner was
- C. The word ‘race’ has two connotations and both were over
- D. The dodo had decided that the race needed to be stopped
- E. The bird saying the words is extinct
C and E
The word ‘race’ has two connotations. Firstly, it can refer to a sport where the contestants attempt to outrun each other; secondly, it can be used to refer to a breed or ethnic group. The dodo is now extinct and it was the dodo who had called out that the race was over. Although in the literal sense, the bird meant that the running was over, but it also has a deeper meaning which is poignant as the race to which the dodo belongs is also over or extinct. Therefore, in view of the above, it is evident that C and E are the correct answers.
GRE RC Select Many Sample Questions