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Until recently, zoologists believed that all species of phocids (true

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Until recently, zoologists believed that all species of phocids (true  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jan 2015, 07:08
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Until recently, zoologists believed that all species of phocids (true seals), a pin-nipped family, use a different maternal strategy than do otariids (fur seals and sea lions), another pinniped family. Mother otariids use a foraging strategy. They acquire moderate energy stores in the form of blubber before arriving at breeding sites and then fast for 5 to 11 days after birth. Throughout the rest of the lactation (milk production) period, which lasts from 4 months to 3 years depending on the species, mother otariids alternately forage at sea, where they replenish their fat stores, and nurse their young at breeding sites. Zoologists had assumed that females of all phocids species, by contrast, use a fasting strategy in which mother phocids, having accumulated large energy stores before they arrive at breeding sites, fast throughout the entire lactation period, which lasts from 4 to 50 days depending on the species. However, recent studies on harbor seals, a phocids species, found that lactating females commenced foraging approximately 6 days after giving birth and on average made 7 foraging trips during the remainder of their 24-day lactation period.

The maternal strategy evolved by harbor seals may have to do with their small size and the large proportion of their fat stores depleted in lactation. Harbor seals are small compared with other phocids species such as grey seals, all of which are known to fast for the entire lactation period. Studies show that mother seals of these species use respectively 84 percent, 58 percent, and 33 percent of their fat stores during lactation. By comparison, harbor seals use 80 percent of their fat stores in just the first 19 days of lactation, even though they occasionally feed during this period. Since such a large proportion of their fat stores is exhausted despite feeding, mother harbor seals clearly cannot support all of lactation using only energy stored before giving birth. Though smaller than many other phocids, harbor seals are similar in size to most otariids. In addition, there is already some evidence suggesting that the ringed seal, a phocids species that is similar in size to the harbor seal, may also use a maternal foraging strategy.

1. It can be inferred from the passage that the females of all phocids species differ from the females of all otariid species in that the female phocids

A. have shorter lactation periods

B. consume more food during lactation

C. consume a higher proportion of fat stores

D. forage for food occasionally during their lactation periods

E. deplete a smaller percentage of their fat stores during their lactation periods



2.The primary purpose of the passage is to

A. present evidence that several phocids species use the maternal fasting strategy

B. explain why the maternal strategy typically used by phocids is different from the maternal strategy used by otariids

C. argue that zoologists 'current understanding of harbor seals' maternal strategy is incorrect

D. describe an unexpected behavior observed in harbor seals and propose an explanation that may account for the behavior

E. describe evidence concerning the maternal strategy of the harbor seal and suggest that the harbor seal belongs to the otariid rather than to the phocids family



3.According to the passage, until recently zoologists believed which of the following about all phocids mothers?

A. Their fasting periods after giving birth were typically shorter than those of otariids.

B. Their lactation periods were generally as long as those of comparably sized otariids.

C. They acquired only moderate energy stores in the form of blubber before arriving at breeding sites.

D. They depleted less than a third of their stored body fat during lactation.

E. The replenished their fat stores only after their lactation period ended.



4.The author of the passage mentions ringed seals most probably in order to

A. provide an example of a phocid species that fasts throughout its entire lactation period

B. provide an example of a phocid species whose maternal strategy is typical of phocid species

C. provide an example of a phocid species that may deplete an even higher proportion of its fat stores during lactation than harbor seals do

D. support the assertion that harbor seals are smaller than many other phocids

E. support the assertion that harbor seals' maternal strategy may be related to their small size.



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Re: Until recently, zoologists believed that all species of phocids (true  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2015, 17:56
4
For this passage, the answers are in the details. A good strategy, like with most GMAT RC passages, is to create an outline in your head, encapsulating the main points of the passage:

OTs forage throughout lactation period (last up to 3 yrs)
PH. are larger and were thought to fast during their much shorter lactation periods.

Harbor seal, PH., challenges this traditional view, since it forages during lactation.

Possible theory: the harbor seal is much smaller than average PH, which have lots of blubber and can fast,
and is similar in size to OT, which don't have much fat stores.

Size is connected to foraging behavior and lactation.

Now to the questions :)

1) Otariids have a lactation period that is "4 months to 3 years"; phocines have one that "lasts from 4 and 50 days. Therefore, (A).

2) Harbor seals feed during lactation, which is uncommon in phocines (the second passage contrasts the grey seal, a phocine, which fasts throughout lactation). The point of the passage is to account for this behavior (the theory is that size plays a major role in lactation and foraging). The first paragraph mainly provides context for the difference between the two seal species in this regard.

(C) shifts the focus to current theories on harbor seals and how these theories are incorrect. The point of the passage is that the harbor seal represents an instance that should lead experts to reconsider their views on phocine as a whole, when it comes to foraging and lactation.

(E) goes too far since the passage never implies that the harbor seals belongs to the otariids, just that its behavior is atypical for a phocine, and therefore that not all phocine follow a pattern similar to that of the grey seal.

3) The last part of the first paragraph points to the idea that zoologists thought that all phocines fast throughout lactation, "fasting strategy in which mother phocids, having accumulated large energy stores before they arrive at breeding sites, fast throughout the entire lactation period". The "however" clues us into the fact that the behavior of the harbor seal changes this view.

4) The last part of the second paragraph arrives at the conclusion that the foraging behavior of the harbor seal is related to its size. To further back up this claim, the passage mentions the "ring seal", another small phocine that has similar foraging behavior during lactation as the harbor seal. The phrase "maternal strategy" represents foraging and lactation behavior.


Hope that helps :)
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Re: Until recently, zoologists believed that all species of phocids (true  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2015, 22:55
Hi,

I'm pretty bad in answering "The primary purpose of the passage" type question.
Is there any approach I need to follow to answer such type of question?
Please help.

Thanks
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Re: Until recently, zoologists believed that all species of phocids (true  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2015, 00:33
3
Desi, the key to answering Main Point questions is to read for that point from the beginning. As you read, you should be asking yourself "Why did the author write this? What is the point?" Before you get to a single question, you should be able to state to yourself not only what the author's overall point is, but also how each paragraph relates to that point. ("The point here is that contrary to zoologists' previous beliefs, not all P's differ in strategy from O's. Harbor seals (P's) forage, just like O's do! The first paragraph explains the distinction and the previous belief, and reveals that harbor seals provide an exception. The second paragraph looks at possible explanations for this exception.")

What you don't have to do is memorize/digest all the technical detail. Read for the big picture and come back to the details as required by the questions. Even on passages that don't have a Main Point question, you'll benefit greatly from having a high-level understanding of the passage as a whole.
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Re: Until recently, zoologists believed that all species of phocids (true  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Mar 2015, 04:20
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Very interesting passage. Answered two incorrectly.
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Re: Until recently, zoologists believed that all species of phocids (true  [#permalink]

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New post 28 May 2016, 10:19
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Until recently, zoologists believed that all species of phocids (true seals), a pinniped family, use a different maternal strategy than do otariids (fur seals and sea lions), another pinniped family. Mother otariids use a foraging strategy. They acquire moderate energy stores in the form of blubber before arriving at breeding sites and then fast for 5 to 11 days after birth. Throughout the rest of the lactation (milk production) period,which lasts from 4 months to 3 years depending on the species,mother otariids alternately forage at sea,where they replenish their fat stores,and nurse their young at breeding sites. Zoologists had assumed that females of all phocid species, by contrast, use a fasting strategy in which mother phocids, having accumulated large energy stores before they arrive at breeding sites, fast throughout the entire lactation period, which lasts from 4 to 50 days depending on the species. However, recent studies on harbor seals, a phocid species, found that lactating females commenced foraging approximately 6 days after giving birth and on average made 7 foraging trips during the remainder of their 24-day lactation period. The maternal strategy evolved by harbor seals may have to do with their small size and the large proportion of their fat stores depleted in lactation.Harbor seals are small compared with other phocid species such as grey seals, northern elephant seals,and hooded seals, all of which are known to fast for the entire lactation period. Studies show that mother seals of these species use respectively 84 percent, 58
percent, and 33 percent of their fat stores during lactation. By comparison, harbor seals use 80 percent of their fat stores in just the first 19 days of lactation, even though they occasionally feed during this period. Since such a large proportion of their fat stores is exhausted despite feeding, mother harbor seals clearly cannot support all of lactation using only energy stored before giving birth. Though smaller than many other phocids, harbor seals are similar in size to most otariids. In addition, there is already some evidence suggesting that the ringed seal, a phocid species that is similar in size to the harbor seal, may also use a maternal foraging strategy.

1) It can be inferred from the passage that the females of all phocid species differ from the females of all otariid species in that the female phocids
A. have shorter lactation periods
B. consume more food during lactation
C. consume a higher proportion of fat stores
D. forage for food occasionally during their lactation periods
E. deplete a smaller percentage of their fat stores during their lactation periods



2) The primary purpose of the passage is to
A. present evidence that several phocid species use the maternal fasting strategy
B. explain why the maternal strategy typically used by phocids is different from the maternal strategy used by otariids
C. argue that zoologists’ current understanding of harbor seals’ maternal strategy is incorrect
D. describe an unexpected behavior observed in harbor seals and propose an explanation that may account for that behavior
E. describe evidence concerning the maternal strategy of the harbor seal and suggest that the harbor seal belongs to the otariid rather than to the phocid family



According to the passage, until recently zoologists believed which of the following about all phocid mothers?
A. Their fasting periods after giving birth were typically shorter than those of otariids.
B. Their lactation periods were generally as long as those of comparably sized otariids.
C. They acquired only moderate energy stores in the form of blubber before arriving at breeding sites.
D. They depleted less than a third of their stored body fat during lactation.
E. The replenished their fat stores only after their lactation period ended.



The author of the passage mentions ringed seals most probably in order to
A. provide an example of a phocid species that fasts throughout its entire lactation period
B. provide an example of a phocid species whose maternal strategy is typical of phocid species
C. provide an example of a phocid species that may deplete an even higher proportion of its fat stores during lactation than harbor seals do
D. support the assertion that harbor seals are smaller than many other phocids
E. support the assertion that harbor seals’ maternal strategy may be related to their small size



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Re: Until recently, zoologists believed that all species of phocids (true  [#permalink]

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New post 28 May 2016, 11:17
2
6 min 18 secs - Answered all questions correctly.

1) It can be inferred from the passage that the females of all phocid species differ from the females of all otariid species in that the female phocids

Lactation period of otarids - 4 months to 3 yrs
Lactation period of phocids - 4 days to 50 days

Answer: A

2) The primary purpose of the passage is to

The passage first distinguishes between the maternal strategy of otarids and phocids. Next, the passage takes up the example of harbor seals, a phocid which does not follow the phocid maternal strategy. The passage explains possible reasons for the behavior exhibited by harbor seals.

Answer: D

3) According to the passage, until recently zoologists believed which of the following about all phocid mothers?

Refer to the lines: "Zoologists had assumed that females of all phocid species, by contrast, use a fasting strategy in which mother phocids, having accumulated large energy stores before they arrive at breeding sites, fast throughout the entire lactation period, which lasts from 4 to 50 days depending on the species."

Answer: E

4) The author of the passage mentions ringed seals most probably in order to

Refer to the line: " In addition, there is already some evidence suggesting that the ringed seal, a phocid species that is similar in size to the harbor seal, may also use a maternal foraging strategy."

Answer: E
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Re: Until recently, zoologists believed that all species of phocids (true  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jul 2018, 06:32
DmitryFarber wrote:
Desi, the key to answering Main Point questions is to read for that point from the beginning. As you read, you should be asking yourself "Why did the author write this? What is the point?" Before you get to a single question, you should be able to state to yourself not only what the author's overall point is, but also how each paragraph relates to that point. ("The point here is that contrary to zoologists' previous beliefs, not all P's differ in strategy from O's. Harbor seals (P's) forage, just like O's do! The first paragraph explains the distinction and the previous belief, and reveals that harbor seals provide an exception. The second paragraph looks at possible explanations for this exception.")

What you don't have to do is memorize/digest all the technical detail. Read for the big picture and come back to the details as required by the questions. Even on passages that don't have a Main Point question, you'll benefit greatly from having a high-level understanding of the passage as a whole.

DmitryFarber, I feel overwhelmed by the amount of information in such passages. I also lose out on retaining a lot of information since there are so many technical terms ( + keywords). Would you recommend any particular strategy tackling such (scientific/technical) passages?

PS: I'm almost always stumped by passages on animals :/
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Re: Until recently, zoologists believed that all species of phocids (true  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Aug 2018, 10:38
This passage is great practice, especially because it is among the most boring things I have ever read.

Full of detail, difficult vocabular about a farily unexiciting topic... a great example of a challenging Gmat RC passage.
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Re: Until recently, zoologists believed that all species of phocids (true &nbs [#permalink] 14 Aug 2018, 10:38
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