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Which of the following elements in the debate over the origin of Varanus is NOT provided in the passage?

Experts have differed about where the genus Varanus (monitor lizards) originated. Because most existing species live in Australia, early researchers concluded that Varanus originated in Australia and subsequently island hopped westward along the Indo-Australian archipelago. Herpetologist Robert Mertens later argued that Varanus probably originated in the archipelago. Chromosomal analysis has since supported Mertens’ contention, and in addition, geologic evidence points to a collision between the archipelago and the Australian landmass after Varanus evolved—a fact that could account for the genus’ present distribution.

A related puzzle for scientists is the present distribution of Varanus’ largest surviv-ing species, the Komodo dragon. These carnivores live only on four small islands in the archipelago where, scientists note, the prey base is too small to support mammalian carnivores. But the Komodo dragon has recently been shown to manage body tem-perature much more efficiently than do mammalian carnivores, enabling it to survive on about a tenth of the food energy required by a mammalian carnivore of comparable size.

Which of the following elements in the debate over the origin of Varanus is NOT provided in the passage?
A) The evidence that led Mertens to argue that Varanus originated in the Indo-Australian archipelago
B) The evidence that led early researchers to argue that Varanus originated in Australia
C) A possible explanation of how Varanus might have spread to the Indo-Australian archipelago if it had originated in Australia
D) A possible explanation of how Varanus might have spread to Australia if it had originated in the Indo-Australian archipelago
E) An indication of the general present-day distribution of Varanus species between Australia and the Indo-Australian archipelago

So the question asks which of the following elements in the debate over the origin of Varanus is NOT provided in the passage. I considered (A) as possible, which states, "The evidence that led Mertens to argue that Varanus originated in the Indo-Australian archipelago". However, I determined it was not correct as the passage states, "Herpetologist Robert Mertends later argued that Varanus probably originated in the archipelago. Chromosomal analysis has since supported Mertens' contention, and in addition, geologic evidence points to a collision between the archipelago and the Australian landmass..." (A) seems that it cannot be correct as it suggest that the evidence LED Mertens to argue that Varanus originated on that landmass, whereas the passage states that the evidence (chromosomal analysis and geologic evidence) arose after Mertens' argued his hypothesis, "has since supported".

Does anyone have any thoughts here? Am I missing something?

Author
Jacob Elder

Posted Feb 12, 2016

1 Explanation

1

Adam

Hi Jacob,

The question asks which is NOT in the passage.

"Herpetologist Robert Mertens later argued that Varanus probably originated in the archipelago. Chromosomal analysis has since supported Mertens’ contention..."

So, this tells us that Mertens argued that Varanus probably originated in the archipelago, but it never tells us WHY Mertens argued this. What led Mertens to argue this? The passage never says. That's why (A) is correct: The passage never provides "the evidence that led Mertens to argue that Varanus originated in the Indo-Australian archipelago."

"Chromosomal analysis has since supported Mertens’ contention" shows us that Mertens was right. But this is not the evidence that led Mertens to make this contention in the first place. Therefore (A) is not provided in the passage and is the correct answer.

Feb 16, 2016 • Comment

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