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Despite its 1989 designation as a threatened species under the federal

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Despite its 1989 designation as a threatened species under the federal  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jun 2013, 14:39
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Despite its 1989 designation as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act, the desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizii, has declined in numbers by ninety percent since the 1980s. Although federal protection made it illegal to harm desert tortoises or remove them from the wild of the southwestern North American deserts, this measure has been insufficient to reverse the species’ decline, and further intervention is required.

Recovery has been slow, partly due to the desert tortoise’s low reproductive potential. Females breed only after reaching full size at fifteen to twenty years of age, and even then may only lay eggs when adequate forage is available. Although the number of eggs in each clutch varies, and each female might lay a few clutches in one season, the average mature female produces only a few eggs annually. From these precious eggs, hatchlings emerge wearing soft shells that will harden slowly into protective armor over the next five years. The vulnerable young are entirely neglected by adult tortoises, and only five percent ultimately reach adulthood.

Predators are blamed for most tortoise deaths; ravens, specifically, are estimated to cause more than half of the juvenile tortoise deaths in the Mojave Desert. Tortoise eggs and juveniles, with their delicate shells, can fall prey to many birds, mammals, and other reptiles. For protection from predators, as well as from desert temperature extremes, tortoises of all ages burrow into the earth. However, if rabbits and rodents are scarce, larger mammalian predators may dig tortoises out of their burrows, devouring even mature tortoises despite their hardened shells.

Even with current protections from human interference, the desert tortoise faces a tough recovery, so additional measures must be taken. First, the limited habitat of desert tortoises, with soil suitable for their burrows, must be protected from development. Next, urban expansion often has the unintended effect of increasing raven populations, so aggressive measures to control the birds are necessary to increase desert tortoise hatchling survival rates. Finally, released captive tortoises typically perish, and can pass upper respiratory tract disease into the wild population with devastating consequences, so continuing education of pet tortoise owners is essential.


1. It can be inferred from the passage that the desert tortoise mortality rate would be most likely to decrease if which of the following were true?

(A) Desert tortoise burrows were cooler.
(B) Male and female tortoises mated more frequently.
(C) Adult tortoises provided better care for their young.
(D) Forage plants were abundant in the habitat of the desert tortoise.
(E) Rabbits were abundant in the habitat of the desert tortoise.



2. The passage mentions each of the following as reasons that the desert tortoise is a threatened species EXCEPT

(A) expansion of urban areas near the desert tortoise habitat
(B) the low reproductive rate of desert tortoises
(C) desert temperature extremes
(D) predation by ravens
(E) the release of captive tortoises by pet owners



3. The primary intent of the passage is to do which of the following?

(A) Describe the lifecycle of a species
(B) Advocate future actions
(C) Discuss a problem
(D) Evaluate past actions
(E) Criticize the government



4. Previous efforts to protect the desert tortoise are regarded by the author with

(A) weary skepticism
(B) complete satisfaction
(C) implied opposition
(D) qualified approval
(E) overt disdain


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New post 05 Jun 2013, 10:36
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Sorry 3 out of 4 wrong. You have to deal with such tough passages if you want to aim a good score.

Moreover, believe or not this is not the toughest, is not the top notch passage in terms of difficulty/toughness

Here the answers. Ask if something remains unclear

1. The passage cites several factors that negatively impact the desert tortoise
population, mainly the threat of predators. The mortality rate would be most
likely to decrease if one of those reasons were eliminated.

(A) The passage states that tortoises burrow into the ground for protection from
“desert temperature extremes.” The passage does not state that tortoises are only
vulnerable to heat. The “desert temperature extremes” may also refer to extreme
cold, in which case tortoises burrow to keep warm. Thus, cooler burrows might
actually be harmful to the tortoises.

(B) The passage does not mention the mating frequency of desert tortoises.
Furthermore, while we might be able to infer that more frequent mating might
increase the number of desert tortoise hatchlings, we cannot infer that more frequent
mating would reduce the mortality rate of those tortoises.

(C) The vulnerability of hatchling and juvenile tortoises is mentioned, along with the
fact that adult tortoises provide no care for their offspring. However, there is nothing
in the passage to indicate that adult tortoises could have any positive effect on the
survival rate of young tortoises by providing better care for them. It is entirely
possible that adult tortoises are simply not equipped to protect the young from
predators; feeding and caring for the hatchlings may have no effect on the juvenile
survival rate.

(D) The passage states that females “may only lay eggs when adequate forage is
available.” If adequate forage were available, then females will be more likely to lay
eggs than they would when forage is scarce. However, the passage does not
indicate that the availability of abundant forage plants will make the desert tortoises
any more likely to survive once hatched.

(E) CORRECT. The passage states that larger mammalian predators eat desert
tortoises when rabbits and rodents are scarce. If rabbits were abundant, such predators would not seek out the desert tortoise, and the mortality rate would likely
decrease.

2. The passage discusses several reasons that the desert tortoise is a
threatened species. In the second paragraph, the tortoise’s reproductive cycle
is discussed, with an emphasis on its low reproductive rate. In the third
paragraph, predators such as ravens are discussed. In the final paragraph,
the author recommends additional measures to protect the desert tortoise
from harm caused by urban expansion and the release of captive tortoises.

(A) In the last paragraph, the author does mention that urban expansion has the
unintended effect of increasing the population of ravens, cited in the third paragraph
as the primary predator of juvenile tortoises.

(B) The second paragraph discusses the low reproductive rate of desert tortoises as
one reason for their population decline and slow recovery.

(C) CORRECT. Although desert temperature extremes are mentioned in the third
paragraph, they are cited as a reason that desert tortoises burrow into the earth, not
as a reason that the desert tortoise is a threatened species.

(D) The third paragraph discusses several predators of the desert tortoise,
specifically ravens.

(E) The release of captive tortoises by pet owners is mentioned in the last sentence
of the passage as a danger to the wild tortoise population.

3. To determine the author’s primary intent, we must look at the whole passage.
The first paragraph introduces a problem (the decline of the desert tortoise
species), and describes action taken by the government to address the
problem while also indicating the need for further steps. The second
paragraph explains why the species has been slow to recover. The third
paragraph discusses non-human threats to the desert tortoise. Finally, the last
paragraph advocates additional measures to protect the desert tortoise
species. The author is primarily interested in advocating future actions to
protect the desert tortoise (last paragraph), while the preceding paragraphs
serve as background information necessary to make this point.

(A) The lifecycle of the species is partially discussed in the second paragraph, but
this is not the primary intent of the entire passage.

(B) CORRECT. In the last paragraph, the author strongly states that “additional
measures must be taken,” then advocates several actions to be taken in the future.

(C) The passage does discuss a problem (the decline of the desert tortoise species),
but does not stop there. The author discusses a problem primarily to explain why
future actions are advocated.
(D) The designation of the desert tortoise as a threatened species is one past action
mentioned, but the passage does not evaluate it beyond saying that it is insufficient
to address the decline of the species.

(E) The government is mentioned briefly in the first paragraph, but the passage does
not criticize the government.

4.
The previous measure to protect the desert tortoise mentioned in the passage is the
designation of the species as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.
The author certainly agrees that the desert tortoise is a threatened species: the
second and third paragraphs discuss several problems faced by the species.
However, the author believes that the previous efforts have “been insufficient to
reverse the species’ decline” (last line of the first paragraph) and that “even with
current protections…the desert tortoise faces a tough recovery, so additional
measures must be taken” (first line of the last paragraph).

(A) The author is not skeptical of the previous efforts; rather the author agrees with
them but feels that they have not gone far enough.

(B) The author feels that the previous efforts to protect the desert tortoise have been
insufficient, so while the author may have regard for those efforts, “complete
satisfaction” is too strongly worded.

(C) The author does not imply opposition to the previous efforts to protect the desert
tortoise; the author agrees with those efforts, but feels that they have been
insufficient.

(D) CORRECT. The author does approve of the designation of the desert tortoise as
a threatened species, but qualifies that approval with the assertion that “additional
measures must be taken.”

(E) The author is not disdainful of the previous efforts to protect the desert tortoise;
the author supports those efforts, but feels that they have been insufficient.
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New post 05 Jun 2013, 04:52
1. It can be inferred from the passage that the desert
tortoise mortality rate would be most likely to
decrease if which of the following were true?

• Desert tortoise burrows were cooler. [cool burrows not necessarily dec mortality rate, what if The vulnerable
young are entirely neglected by adult tortoises]
• Male and female tortoises mated more frequently.[ what if The vulnerable young are entirely neglected by adult tortoises]
• Adult tortoises provided better care for their young.- Correct
• Forage plants were abundant in the habitat of the
desert tortoise. [ out of scope]
• Rabbits were abundant in the habitat of the desert
tortoise.[ this will incr moratility rate]
2. The passage mentions each of the following as
reasons that the desert tortoise is a threatened
species EXCEPT

• expansion of urban areas near the desert tortoise
habitat [one of the reasons]
• the low reproductive rate of desert tortoises [one of the reasons]
• desert temperature extremes [one of the reasons]
• predation by ravens [one of the reasons]
• the release of captive tortoises by pet owners –Correct
In this case I feel I’ve marked incorrect choice as E. It should be A because in E , the release of captive tortoise can spread infection, thereby, threatening the tortoise population.
3. The primary intent of the passage is to do which of
the following?

• Describe the lifecycle of a species [only describes in 2nd para]
• Advocate future actions [only discussed in last para]
• Discuss a problem - Correct
• Evaluate past actions- past actions are described but future course of action is also defined]
• Criticize the government –[Only described in 1st para]
4. Previous efforts to protect the desert tortoise are
regarded by the author with

• weary skepticism
• complete satisfaction
• implied opposition
• qualified approval[Although human intervention has tried but unable to stop the decline]
• overt disdain
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New post 05 Jun 2013, 10:57
Thanks carcass.. Definitely need to buckle up... However, what could be the helpful tip to solve a small detail question. For eg, temperature of burrows as metioned in passage
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New post 05 Jun 2013, 11:12
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1
The first times I studied RC my approach was: trying to spot the answer or to take notes and then related to the question; then I went up and down throughout the same, looking at my notes and so on.........basically I did nothing ggod, at all.

But with time, patience and reading each day Rc from whatsoever source I fixed it.

In my opinion for instance is useless to read from books and the economist because too difficult, it depends. From me is not a problem but for others maybe yes.

better to read something that is tough but also well written and also not so far from the scope of the gmat or lofty

These are fine and free of charge not like The New yorker or the economist (though I love them to read)

http://www.theatlantic.com/

http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/ (also downloadable in free pdf)

or this one also endorsed by GMAC

http://www.bizedmagazine.com/archives/2012/default.asp

In the end, now I read the passage in its entirely and often neither take notes and try to UNDERSTAND the passage, each phrase. Of course this take time but it is worth

;)
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New post 05 Jun 2013, 23:53
Carcass,
I've a question for you since 1st question asks what can be infered from the passage, what approach did u use? Because the whole passage talks abt the increase in the mortality rate of desert tortoise and the information is scattered, which is hard to retain these small details. I understand that inference question will be a restatement of information present in passage but solving it in within 2 mins and evaluating each statement in such a long passage seems bit unreasonable.

Any helpful tips???
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New post 06 Jun 2013, 00:47
1
Nothing but practice.

What you said is correct: generally inference question are a restate of somthing in the passage. true.

However, often inference is something that you draw from the passage as whole

Try to eliminate choices based on things such as: words too extreme, phrases that go too far from the passage and so on.

me too at the beginning these words suggested me nothing or little but with practice you figure out almost suddenly an answer that is or out of scope or too far and so forth.

When you hear story about one month of preparation and bingo: forget about it. real gmat is a long story that you can make more or less short, but basically it is a real story to tell,long
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New post 04 Jul 2015, 21:39
1
carcass wrote:
Sorry 3 out of 4 wrong. You have to deal with such tough passages if you want to aim a good score.

Moreover, believe or not this is not the toughest, is not the top notch passage in terms of difficulty/toughness

Here the answers. Ask if something remains unclear

1. The passage cites several factors that negatively impact the desert tortoise
population, mainly the threat of predators. The mortality rate would be most
likely to decrease if one of those reasons were eliminated.

(A) The passage states that tortoises burrow into the ground for protection from
“desert temperature extremes.” The passage does not state that tortoises are only
vulnerable to heat. The “desert temperature extremes” may also refer to extreme
cold, in which case tortoises burrow to keep warm. Thus, cooler burrows might
actually be harmful to the tortoises.

(B) The passage does not mention the mating frequency of desert tortoises.
Furthermore, while we might be able to infer that more frequent mating might
increase the number of desert tortoise hatchlings, we cannot infer that more frequent
mating would reduce the mortality rate of those tortoises.

(C) The vulnerability of hatchling and juvenile tortoises is mentioned, along with the
fact that adult tortoises provide no care for their offspring. However, there is nothing
in the passage to indicate that adult tortoises could have any positive effect on the
survival rate of young tortoises by providing better care for them. It is entirely
possible that adult tortoises are simply not equipped to protect the young from
predators; feeding and caring for the hatchlings may have no effect on the juvenile
survival rate.

(D) The passage states that females “may only lay eggs when adequate forage is
available.” If adequate forage were available, then females will be more likely to lay
eggs than they would when forage is scarce. However, the passage does not
indicate that the availability of abundant forage plants will make the desert tortoises
any more likely to survive once hatched.

(E) CORRECT. The passage states that larger mammalian predators eat desert
tortoises when rabbits and rodents are scarce. If rabbits were abundant, such predators would not seek out the desert tortoise, and the mortality rate would likely
decrease.

2. The passage discusses several reasons that the desert tortoise is a
threatened species. In the second paragraph, the tortoise’s reproductive cycle
is discussed, with an emphasis on its low reproductive rate. In the third
paragraph, predators such as ravens are discussed. In the final paragraph,
the author recommends additional measures to protect the desert tortoise
from harm caused by urban expansion and the release of captive tortoises.

(A) In the last paragraph, the author does mention that urban expansion has the
unintended effect of increasing the population of ravens, cited in the third paragraph
as the primary predator of juvenile tortoises.

(B) The second paragraph discusses the low reproductive rate of desert tortoises as
one reason for their population decline and slow recovery.

(C) CORRECT. Although desert temperature extremes are mentioned in the third
paragraph, they are cited as a reason that desert tortoises burrow into the earth, not
as a reason that the desert tortoise is a threatened species.

(D) The third paragraph discusses several predators of the desert tortoise,
specifically ravens.

(E) The release of captive tortoises by pet owners is mentioned in the last sentence
of the passage as a danger to the wild tortoise population.

3. To determine the author’s primary intent, we must look at the whole passage.
The first paragraph introduces a problem (the decline of the desert tortoise
species), and describes action taken by the government to address the
problem while also indicating the need for further steps. The second
paragraph explains why the species has been slow to recover. The third
paragraph discusses non-human threats to the desert tortoise. Finally, the last
paragraph advocates additional measures to protect the desert tortoise
species. The author is primarily interested in advocating future actions to
protect the desert tortoise (last paragraph), while the preceding paragraphs
serve as background information necessary to make this point.

(A) The lifecycle of the species is partially discussed in the second paragraph, but
this is not the primary intent of the entire passage.

(B) CORRECT. In the last paragraph, the author strongly states that “additional
measures must be taken,” then advocates several actions to be taken in the future.

(C) The passage does discuss a problem (the decline of the desert tortoise species),
but does not stop there. The author discusses a problem primarily to explain why
future actions are advocated.
(D) The designation of the desert tortoise as a threatened species is one past action
mentioned, but the passage does not evaluate it beyond saying that it is insufficient
to address the decline of the species.

(E) The government is mentioned briefly in the first paragraph, but the passage does
not criticize the government.

4.
The previous measure to protect the desert tortoise mentioned in the passage is the
designation of the species as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.
The author certainly agrees that the desert tortoise is a threatened species: the
second and third paragraphs discuss several problems faced by the species.
However, the author believes that the previous efforts have “been insufficient to
reverse the species’ decline” (last line of the first paragraph) and that “even with
current protections…the desert tortoise faces a tough recovery, so additional
measures must be taken” (first line of the last paragraph).

(A) The author is not skeptical of the previous efforts; rather the author agrees with
them but feels that they have not gone far enough.

(B) The author feels that the previous efforts to protect the desert tortoise have been
insufficient, so while the author may have regard for those efforts, “complete
satisfaction” is too strongly worded.

(C) The author does not imply opposition to the previous efforts to protect the desert
tortoise; the author agrees with those efforts, but feels that they have been
insufficient.

(D) CORRECT. The author does approve of the designation of the desert tortoise as
a threatened species, but qualifies that approval with the assertion that “additional
measures must be taken.”

(E) The author is not disdainful of the previous efforts to protect the desert tortoise;
the author supports those efforts, but feels that they have been insufficient.


Hi Carcass,

I have to say, I'm not so sure about QS 3(Ans B). I mean, in about 3/4 th of the passage ,we talk about the problems faced by the tortoise and it's even mentioned in the explanation for question 4, so we know we're talking about how the tortoise are an endangered species. Advocating further actions is present,but only as a conclusion for the problems faced.How is it then that we're ruling out ans C? It forms quite a big part of the passage actually,not that length it covers matters too much ,but the point it, the author went to great lengths to describe the problems.Kindly explain if you've got some time.Thanks in advance.
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New post 14 Jul 2016, 08:27
Despite its 1989 designation as a threatened species, the desert tortoise has declined in numbers by ninety percent since the 1980s. Although federal protection made it illegal to harm desert tortoises or remove them from the southwestern North American deserts, this measure has been insufficient to reverse the species’ decline. The lack of recovery is partly due to the desert tortoise’s low reproductive potential. Females breed only after reaching fifteen to twenty years of age, and even then may only lay eggs when adequate forage is available. The average mature female produces only a few eggs annually. From these precious eggs, hatchlings emerge wearing soft shells that will take five years to harden into protective armor. The vulnerable young are entirely neglected by adult tortoises, and only five percent ultimately reach adulthood.

Predators are blamed for a majority of tortoise deaths; ravens alone are estimated to cause more than half of the juvenile tortoise deaths in the Mojave Desert. Tortoise eggs and juveniles can also fall prey to mammals and other reptiles. For protection from predators, as well as from desert temperature extremes, tortoises of all ages burrow into the earth. However, if rabbits and rodents are scarce, larger predators may exhume tortoises from their burrows, devouring even mature tortoises despite their hardened shells. Further, tortoises are susceptible to a wide range of pathogens. The population decline is partly due to upper respiratory tract disease (URTD), characterized by nasal and ocular discharge and palpebral edema. In 2006, more than 80 percent of captive desert tortoises had anti-mycoplasma antibodies, seropositive indication of the disease. Released captive tortoises can rapidly spread URTD into the wild population with devastating consequences.

Though desert tortoises are well adapted to arid habitats, and adults can survive a year without access to water, they rely heavily on moisture in the vegetation consumed in spring, when they surface from their hibernal dormancy. The loss of native plants to grazing livestock and invasive plant species, then, may lessen the tortoise’s resistance to pathogens, though the tortoises do also dig precipitation basins in the soil and linger near one when rain is impending.

Q: The passage implies that precipitation in the desert tortoise’s habitat

(A) falls approximately once a year
(B) increases the tortoise’s resistance to pathogens
(C) falls mainly in the spring
(D) is consumed primarily by grazing livestock
(E) collected by the tortoises intentionally

OA: E

Can anybody help me understand why the answer choice (B) is incorrect given "The loss of native plants to grazing livestock and invasive plant species, then, may lessen the tortoise’s resistance to pathogens"?
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New post 15 Jul 2016, 02:30
passage 3'35-total 6'12

ECBA(E)
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New post 20 Jul 2016, 19:22
ssagar

We're wondering what's implied. The direct implication is that precipitation basins are dug by tortoises to collect precipitation. The connection between precipitation, native plants, and resistance to pathogens is way fuzzier, and it's too much of a step to draw that connection, especially when the precipitation basins are there.
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New post 02 Aug 2018, 02:40
1. It can be inferred from the passage that the desert tortoise mortality rate would be most likely to decrease if which of the following were true?
(A) Desert tortoise burrows were cooler. not discussed
(B) Male and female tortoises mated more frequently. this would likely lead to more hatchling, but the issue is that the survival rate is low
(C) Adult tortoises provided better care for their young. even adults are endangered by predators and are not immune to environmental disturbances
(D) Forage plants were abundant in the habitat of the desert tortoise. then we would expect that the females would lay eggs more often, but the the survival rate of hatchlings would be still low because of other reasons
(E) Rabbits were abundant in the habitat of the desert tortoise. "However, if rabbits and rodents are scarce, larger mammalian predators may dig tortoises out of their burrows, devouring even mature tortoises despite their hardened shells." so the opposite would help

2. The passage mentions each of the following as reasons that the desert tortoise is a threatened species EXCEPT
(A) expansion of urban areas near the desert tortoise habitat "First, the limited habitat of desert tortoises, with soil suitable for their burrows, must be protected from development. Next, urban expansion often has the unintended effect of increasing raven populations, so aggressive measures to control the birds are necessary to increase desert tortoise hatchling survival rates."
(B) the low reproductive rate of desert tortoises "Recovery has been slow, partly due to the desert tortoise’s low reproductive potential."
(C) desert temperature extremes correct, stated as a factor that might cause death, but not claimed to be a threat to endanger the tortoise
(D) predation by ravens "<...>ravens, specifically, are estimated to cause more than half of the juvenile tortoise deaths in the Mojave Desert."
(E) the release of captive tortoises by pet owners "Finally, released captive tortoises typically perish, and can pass upper respiratory tract disease into the wild population with devastating consequences,<...>"

3. The primary intent of the passage is to do which of the following? "<...>, this measure has been insufficient to reverse the species’ decline, and further intervention is required. <...> so additional measures must be taken. Firstly, <...>" so I believe its between B and C. B is correct because the intent is to call for action to protect the tortoise
(A) Describe the lifecycle of a species
(B) Advocate future actions
(C) Discuss a problem
(D) Evaluate past actions
(E) Criticize the government

4. Previous efforts to protect the desert tortoise are regarded by the author with
(A) weary skepticism skepticism - yes, 'weary' - unlikely
(B) complete satisfaction calls for further protections, so no
(C) implied opposition the author calls for better protection, so he or she does not oppose
(D) qualified approval true, as greater effort to protect the tortoise is needed
(E) overt disdain stronger than skepticism, so no
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Re: Despite its 1989 designation as a threatened species under the federal  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Aug 2018, 23:46
carcass wrote:
Despite its 1989 designation as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act, the desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizii, has declined in numbers by ninety percent since the 1980s. Although federal protection made it illegal to harm desert tortoises or remove them from the wild of the southwestern North American deserts, this measure has been insufficient to reverse the species’ decline, and further intervention is required.

Recovery has been slow, partly due to the desert tortoise’s low reproductive potential. Females breed only after reaching full size at fifteen to twenty years of age, and even then may only lay eggs when adequate forage is available. Although the number of eggs in each clutch varies, and each female might lay a few clutches in one season, the average mature female produces only a few eggs annually. From these precious eggs, hatchlings emerge wearing soft shells that will harden slowly into protective armor over the next five years. The vulnerable young are entirely neglected by adult tortoises, and only five percent ultimately reach adulthood.

Predators are blamed for most tortoise deaths; ravens, specifically, are estimated to cause more than half of the juvenile tortoise deaths in the Mojave Desert. Tortoise eggs and juveniles, with their delicate shells, can fall prey to many birds, mammals, and other reptiles. For protection from predators, as well as from desert temperature extremes, tortoises of all ages burrow into the earth. However, if rabbits and rodents are scarce, larger mammalian predators may dig tortoises out of their burrows, devouring even mature tortoises despite their hardened shells.

Even with current protections from human interference, the desert tortoise faces a tough recovery, so additional measures must be taken. First, the limited habitat of desert tortoises, with soil suitable for their burrows, must be protected from development. Next, urban expansion often has the unintended effect of increasing raven populations, so aggressive measures to control the birds are necessary to increase desert tortoise hatchling survival rates. Finally, released captive tortoises typically perish, and can pass upper respiratory tract disease into the wild population with devastating consequences, so continuing education of pet tortoise owners is essential.

1. It can be inferred from the passage that the desert tortoise mortality rate would be most likely to decrease if which of the following were true?

(A) Desert tortoise burrows were cooler.
(B) Male and female tortoises mated more frequently.
(C) Adult tortoises provided better care for their young.
(D) Forage plants were abundant in the habitat of the desert tortoise.
(E) Rabbits were abundant in the habitat of the desert tortoise.



2. The passage mentions each of the following as reasons that the desert tortoise is a threatened species EXCEPT

(A) expansion of urban areas near the desert tortoise habitat
(B) the low reproductive rate of desert tortoises
(C) desert temperature extremes
(D) predation by ravens
(E) the release of captive tortoises by pet owners



3. The primary intent of the passage is to do which of the following?

(A) Describe the lifecycle of a species
(B) Advocate future actions
(C) Discuss a problem
(D) Evaluate past actions
(E) Criticize the government



4. Previous efforts to protect the desert tortoise are regarded by the author with

(A) weary skepticism
(B) complete satisfaction
(C) implied opposition
(D) qualified approval
(E) overt disdain



Responding to a pm:

Q 4 Previous efforts to protect the desert tortoise are regarded by the author with

(A) weary skepticism
(B) complete satisfaction
(C) implied opposition
(D) qualified approval
(E) overt disdain

Notice the author's language:
...this measure has been insufficient to reverse the species’ decline, and further intervention is required.
...Even with current protections from human interference, the desert tortoise faces a tough recovery, so additional measures must be taken.

The author approves of current measures but says that they are incomplete.

"qualified" has many meanings - one of them is "partial or incomplete".
Hence, qualified approval is the answer here.

Why is it not (A)?
"skepticism" is doubt. The author does not doubt the previous efforts. He says "even with current protections ... additional are required". He just feels that more needs to be done.

Answer (D)
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Re: Despite its 1989 designation as a threatened species under the federal  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Aug 2018, 07:54
Hi I need help with question number 1. I chose C as the answer. Here is my analysis:

The question asks for a factor that would decrease the mortality rate of tortoises. That means on what ground can we consider the death of tortoises would decreases.

The passage clearly states "The vulnerable young are entirely neglected by adult tortoises, and only five percent ultimately reach adulthood.". This means that 95% of the possible tortoises population die before reaching adulthood. For clarity, lets imagine that there are 20 adults in an area and 100 juniles. If "Adult tortoises provided better care for their young.", there is a significant possibility that more number of juvenile toroises would reach adulthood and the number of tortoise deaths would come down. Now, of the 100 juveniles, 95 die before reaching adulthood. This means that the mortality of tortoises that area is 79% (95/120). Hence, I chose C.

I didnot choose E because, the passage states "However, if rabbits and rodents are scarce, larger mammalian predators may dig tortoises out of their burrows, devouring even mature tortoises despite their hardened shells." Even though larger mammalian predators kill both juvenile and adult tortoises if rabbits and roddents are scarce, there is a big possiblity that they would not be able to target some of the 20 adult tortoises and all 95 juvenile (basically more than 95 tortoises ), which would other survive if the adults took care of the young ones. Also, the orignal statement in the passage uses "may" which brings in a certain degree of unsurity.

Please let me know where is my analysis wrong.
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Re: Despite its 1989 designation as a threatened species under the federal  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Aug 2018, 07:56
KarishmaB wrote:
carcass wrote:
Despite its 1989 designation as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act, the desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizii, has declined in numbers by ninety percent since the 1980s. Although federal protection made it illegal to harm desert tortoises or remove them from the wild of the southwestern North American deserts, this measure has been insufficient to reverse the species’ decline, and further intervention is required.

Recovery has been slow, partly due to the desert tortoise’s low reproductive potential. Females breed only after reaching full size at fifteen to twenty years of age, and even then may only lay eggs when adequate forage is available. Although the number of eggs in each clutch varies, and each female might lay a few clutches in one season, the average mature female produces only a few eggs annually. From these precious eggs, hatchlings emerge wearing soft shells that will harden slowly into protective armor over the next five years. The vulnerable young are entirely neglected by adult tortoises, and only five percent ultimately reach adulthood.

Predators are blamed for most tortoise deaths; ravens, specifically, are estimated to cause more than half of the juvenile tortoise deaths in the Mojave Desert. Tortoise eggs and juveniles, with their delicate shells, can fall prey to many birds, mammals, and other reptiles. For protection from predators, as well as from desert temperature extremes, tortoises of all ages burrow into the earth. However, if rabbits and rodents are scarce, larger mammalian predators may dig tortoises out of their burrows, devouring even mature tortoises despite their hardened shells.

Even with current protections from human interference, the desert tortoise faces a tough recovery, so additional measures must be taken. First, the limited habitat of desert tortoises, with soil suitable for their burrows, must be protected from development. Next, urban expansion often has the unintended effect of increasing raven populations, so aggressive measures to control the birds are necessary to increase desert tortoise hatchling survival rates. Finally, released captive tortoises typically perish, and can pass upper respiratory tract disease into the wild population with devastating consequences, so continuing education of pet tortoise owners is essential.

1. It can be inferred from the passage that the desert tortoise mortality rate would be most likely to decrease if which of the following were true?

(A) Desert tortoise burrows were cooler.
(B) Male and female tortoises mated more frequently.
(C) Adult tortoises provided better care for their young.
(D) Forage plants were abundant in the habitat of the desert tortoise.
(E) Rabbits were abundant in the habitat of the desert tortoise.



2. The passage mentions each of the following as reasons that the desert tortoise is a threatened species EXCEPT

(A) expansion of urban areas near the desert tortoise habitat
(B) the low reproductive rate of desert tortoises
(C) desert temperature extremes
(D) predation by ravens
(E) the release of captive tortoises by pet owners



3. The primary intent of the passage is to do which of the following?

(A) Describe the lifecycle of a species
(B) Advocate future actions
(C) Discuss a problem
(D) Evaluate past actions
(E) Criticize the government



4. Previous efforts to protect the desert tortoise are regarded by the author with

(A) weary skepticism
(B) complete satisfaction
(C) implied opposition
(D) qualified approval
(E) overt disdain



Responding to a pm:

Q 4 Previous efforts to protect the desert tortoise are regarded by the author with

(A) weary skepticism
(B) complete satisfaction
(C) implied opposition
(D) qualified approval
(E) overt disdain

Notice the author's language:
...this measure has been insufficient to reverse the species’ decline, and further intervention is required.
...Even with current protections from human interference, the desert tortoise faces a tough recovery, so additional measures must be taken.

The author approves of current measures but says that they are incomplete.

"qualified" has many meanings - one of them is "partial or incomplete".
Hence, qualified approval is the answer here.

Why is it not (A)?
"skepticism" is doubt. The author does not doubt the previous efforts. He says "even with current protections ... additional are required". He just feels that more needs to be done.

Answer (D)



Hi Karishma, I need help with question number 1. I chose C as the answer. Here is my analysis:

The question asks for a factor that would decrease the mortality rate of tortoises. That means on what ground can we consider the death of tortoises would decrease.

The passage clearly states "The vulnerable young are entirely neglected by adult tortoises, and only five percent ultimately reach adulthood.". This means that 95% of the possible tortoises population die before reaching adulthood. For clarity, lets imagine that there are 20 adults in an area and 100 juniles. If "Adult tortoises provided better care for their young.", there is a significant possibility that more number of juvenile toroises would reach adulthood and the number of tortoise deaths would come down. Now, of the 100 juveniles, 95 die before reaching adulthood. This means that the mortality of tortoises that area is 79% (95/120). Hence, I chose C.

I didnot choose E because, the passage states "However, if rabbits and rodents are scarce, larger mammalian predators may dig tortoises out of their burrows, devouring even mature tortoises despite their hardened shells." Even though larger mammalian predators kill both juvenile and adult tortoises if rabbits and roddents are scarce, there is a big possiblity that they would not be able to target some of the 20 adult tortoises and all 95 juvenile (basically more than 95 tortoises ), which would other survive if the adults took care of the young ones. Also, the statement uses "may" which brings in a certain degree of unsurity as well.

Please let me know where is my analysis wrong.
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Despite its 1989 designation as a threatened species under the federal  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Aug 2018, 13:07
Regarding question number 3, almost the entire passage is about discussing the problem and just the last paragraph advocates future actions. Even though it is logical that the intent of the passage is (B), but the same logic would have rendered similar answer choice in other similar passages incorrect. This is confusing! Is main point the part that covers most of the passage or the logical, real-world understanding of the intent of the passage (as in this case)? Please help!
Despite its 1989 designation as a threatened species under the federal &nbs [#permalink] 17 Aug 2018, 13:07
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