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Neanderthals and Modern Humans Reading Answers
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Rituparna Nath

Content Writer at Study Abroad Exams | Updated On - Mar 17, 2022

The IELTS reading exam tests the reading and problem-solving ability of the candidates in which they are given a passage on the basis of which some questions are asked like - fill in the blanks, find the synonym of, etc. This IELTS reading sample- Neanderthals and Modern Humans Reading Answers is an academic topic. In this article, a sample passage is given along with some questions and their potential answers, keywords, and supporting statements. Candidates face similar topics in IELTS reading practice papers. This passage contains question type:

  1. Choose the correct heading
  2. Choose the correct letter
  3. No More Than Three Words

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Section 1

Read the Passage to Answer the Following Questions

Neanderthals and Modern Humans Reading Answers

A The evolutionary processes that have made modern humans so different from other animals are hard to determine without an ability to examine human species that have not achieved similar things. However, in a scientific masterpiece, Svante Paabo and his colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, in Leipzig, have made such a comparison possible. In 2009, at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, they made public an analysis of the genome [1] of Neanderthal man.
B Homo neanderthalensis, to give its proper name, lived in Europe and parts of Asia from 400,000 years ago to 30,000 years ago. Towards the end of this period it shared its range with interlopers in the form of Homo sapiens [2], who were spreading out from Africa. However, the two species did not settle down to a stable cohabitation. For reasons which are as yet unknown, the arrival of Homo sapiens in a region was always quickly followed by the disappearance of Neanderthals.
C Before 2009, Dr Paabo and his team had conducted only a superficial comparison between the DNA of Neanderthals and modern humans. Since then, they have performed a more thorough study and, in doing so, have shed a fascinating light on the intertwined history of the two species. That history turns out to be more intertwined than many had previously believed.
D Dr Paabo and his colleagues compared their Neanderthal genome (painstakingly reconstructed from three bone samples collected from a cave in Croatia) with that of five living humans from various parts of Africa and Eurasia. Previous genetic analysis, which had only examined DNA passed from mother to child in cellular structures called mitochondria, had suggested no interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans. The new, more extensive examination, which looks at DNA in the cell nucleus rather than in the mitochondria, shows this conclusion is wrong. By comparing the DNA in the cell nucleus of Africans (whose ancestors could not have crossbred with Neanderthals, since they did not overlap with them) and various Eurasians (whose ancestors could have crossbred with Neanderthals), Dr Paabo has shown that Eurasians are between one percent and four percent Neanderthal.
E That is intriguing. It shows that even after several hundred thousand years of separation, the two species were inter-fertile. It is strange, though, that no Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA has turned up in modern humans, since the usual pattern of invasion in historical times was for the invaders’ males to mate with the invaded females. One piece of self-knowledge, then - at least for non-Africans - is that they have a dash of Neanderthal in them. But Dr Paabo’s work also illuminates the differences between the species. By comparing modern humans, Neanderthals, and chimpanzees, it is possible to distinguish genetic changes which are shared by several species of humans in their evolution away from the great-ape lineage, from those which are unique to Homo sapiens.
F More than 90 percent of the ‘human accelerated regions’ [3] that have been identified in modem people are found in Neanderthals too. However, the rest are not. Dr Paabo has identified 212 parts of the genome that seem to have undergone significant evolution since the species split. The state of genome science is still quite primitive, and it is often unclear what any given bit of DNA is actually doing. But an examination of the 20 largest regions of DNA that have evolved in this way shows that they include several genes which are associated with cognitive ability, and whose malfunction causes serious mental problems. These genes therefore look like good places to start the search for modern humanity’s essence.
G The newly evolved regions of DNA also include a gene called RUNX2, which controls bone growth. That may account for differences in the shape of the skull and the rib cage between the two species. By contrast an earlier phase of the study had already shown that Neanderthals and moderns share the same version of a gene called FOXP2, which is involved in the ability to speak, and which differs in chimpanzees. It is all, then, very promising - and a second coup in quick succession for Dr Paabo. Another of his teams has revealed the existence of a hitherto unsuspected species of human, using mitochondrial DNA found in a little-finger bone. If that species, too, could have its full genome read, humanity’s ability to know itself would be enhanced even further.
[1] an individual’s complete set of genes
[2] the scientific name for modem humans
[3] parts of the human brain which evolved very rapidly

Question 1:

Answer: Both Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens
Supporting Sentence: Homo neanderthalensis, to give its proper name, lived in Europe and parts of Asia. Towards the end of this period, it shared its range with interlopers in the form of Homo sapiens
Keywords: Lived, years ago, interlopers
Keyword Location: Para B(Line 1 to 2)
Explanation: In the given supporting statement it is clear that both Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens lived in Europe and some parts of Asia but at different times.

Question 2:

Answer: Homo sapiens
Supporting Sentence: “Homo sapiens, who were spreading out from Africa”
Keywords: Originated, spread, species
Keyword Location: Para B(Line 2 to 3)
Explanation: Homo sapiens started spreading out from Africa which indicates that the species originated there and then migrated to other regions.

Question 3:

Answer: Homo neanderthalensis
Supporting Sentence: The arrival of Homo sapiens in a region was always quickly followed by the disappearance of Neanderthals.
Keywords: Species, extinction, survival, disappearance
Keyword Location: Para B(Line 2 to 4)
Explanation: Homo neanderthalensis could not survive for a long time after the arrival of Homo sapiens.

Question 4:

Answer: Both Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens
Supporting Sentence: “It shows that even after several hundred thousand years of separation, the two species were inter-fertile”.
Keywords: Species, genes
Keyword Location: Para E(Line 1 to 2)
Explanation: The supporting statement suggests that both the species (Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens) are Interbred with each other.

Question 5:

Answer: Homo neanderthalensis
Supporting Sentence: “It is strange, though, that no Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA has turned up in modern humans.”
Keywords: Species, DNA, genes
Keyword Location: Para B(Line 2 to 4)
Explanation: It is observed that even after so many years and mutations, no mitochondria of Homo neanderthalensis have passed to any human.

Question 6 to 10
Which paragraph from the passage contains the following information (A to G):-

  1. an account of the rejection of a theory
  2. reference to an unexplained link between two events
  3. the identification of a skill-related gene common to both Neanderthals and modern humans
  4. the announcement of a scientific breakthrough
  5. an interesting gap in existing knowledge

Question 6:

Answer: D
Supporting Sentence: “Previous genetic analysis, which had only examined DNA passed from mother to child in cellular structures called mitochondria, had suggested no interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans.”
Keywords: Analysis, genetics, theory, conclusion, contradiction
Keyword Location: Para D(Line 2 to 4)
Explanation: In paragraph D it is shown that a new theory contradicts the conclusions of the previous one. Hence, an account for rejection.

Question 7:

Answer: B
Supporting Sentence: “For reasons which are as yet unknown, the arrival of Homo sapiens in a region was always quickly followed by the disappearance of Neanderthals.”
Keywords: Unknown, unexplained, reference
Keyword Location: Para B(Line 1 to 2)
Explanation: Paragraph B talks about the mysterious disappearance of Homo Neanderthals.

Question 8:

Answer: G
Supporting Sentence: “Neanderthals and moderns share the same version of a gene called FOXP2, which is involved in the ability to speak.”
Keywords: Genes, different, skill, ability
Keyword Location: Para G(Line 1 to 3)
Explanation: As the paragraph suggests, both Homo Neanderthals and modern humans share the same skill-related gene called FOXP2.

Question 9:

Answer: A
Supporting Sentence: “In a scientific masterpiece, Svante Paabo and his colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, in Leipzig, have made such a comparison possible.”
Keywords: Announcement, breakthrough, scientific, colleagues
Keyword Location: Para A(Line 2 to 3)
Explanation: In the year 2009, Svante Paabo and his colleagues made a scientific breakthrough when they announced the analysis of the genome of Neanderthal man.

Question 10:

Answer: E
Supporting Sentence: “That is intriguing. It shows that even after several hundred thousand years of separation, the two species were inter-fertile.”
Keywords: Knowledge, species, interrelated
Keyword Location: Para E(Line 1 to 2)
Explanation: Paragraph E tells that there is a gap in the existing knowledge of the relations between Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens.

Question 11 to 13
Complete the summary of passage by filling in the blanks with no more than 3 words:
First, despite the length of time for which Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis had developed separately, 11) ____________ did take place. Secondly, genes that evolved after modern humans split from Neanderthals are connected with cognitive ability and skeletal 12) ____________. The potential for this line of research to shed light on the nature of modern humans was further strengthened when analysis of a 13) ____________ led to the discovery of a new human species.

Question 11:

Answer: Inter-breeding
Supporting Sentence: “It shows that even after several hundred thousand years of separation, the two species were inter-fertile”
Keywords: Breeding, species, interrelated
Keyword Location: Para E (Line 1 to 2)
Explanation: The phenomenon is still unexplained that despite developing separately, Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis bred together.

Question 12:

Answer: Growth
Supporting Sentence: “The newly evolved regions of DNA also include a gene called RUNX2, which controls bone growth”
Keywords: Genes, growth, promotes, required, DNA
Keyword Location: Para G (Line 1 to 3)
Explanation: A new gene was found in modern humans after evolving from Neanderthals that promotes skeletal growth.

Question 13:

Answer: Little finger bone
Supporting Sentence:
“It is all, then, very promising - and the second coup in quick succession for Dr. Paabo. Another of his teams has revealed the existence of a hitherto unsuspected species of human, using mitochondrial DNA found in a little-finger bone.”
Keywords: DNA, gene, species, discovery
Keyword Location: Para G (Line 1 to 3)
Explanation: A colleague of Dr. Paabo discovered the existence of a new species of humans using mitochondrial DNA found in the Little finger bone.

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