GMAT-Reading Comprehension


The next question(10)is also based on this passage.


Our knowledge of the evolution of primate brains comes from two sources: the fossil record and comparisons between the brains of the various kinds of living primates. The fossil record of primate brains consists of casts of the insides of fossil braincases, called endocranial casts, or endocasts. These casts reproduce details of the surface of the brain, including the patterns of cerebral convolutions. Thus, fossil endocasts provide direct evidence of brain evolution, but the information they provide is only external. Comparative studies of the brains of living primates, on the other hand, while they can provide an enormous amount of information, can only be considered indirect evidence of brain evolution. Although it is tempting to arrange living species in a series of presumed primitive to advanced stages, a series of this sort may be misleading if they are taken to represent evolutionary lineages, because each species is specialized for its own ecological niche, and most species combine primitive and advanced features.

[The difficult words in this passage are primates (family of living beings consisting of apes, monkeys and human beings), cerebral convolutions (folds in the brain), lineage (ancestry) and ecological niche (place in nature)]


9. According to the passage, the evolutionary biologist studying the brains of living primates must avoid

(A) misinterpreting the patterns of cerebral convolutions

(B) making unwarranted inferences about evolutionary sequences

(C) underestimating the importance of precise cranial measurements

(D) oversimplifying the fossil record of related animals

(E) using broad generalizations to define specific ecological phenomena


This is also a ‘specific fact’ question, in which the key phrase is ‘evolutionary biologist must avoid ….’. The last sentence warns the scientists against drawing wrong inferences about the evolutionary sequence merely from a study of the brains of the living primates because ‘such a study can be misleading’. So, (B) is the answer.


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