SSAT Upper Level Reading Comprehension Practice Test 2

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As recently as the 1860s, most people believed that the earth, and humanity with it, was created a mere 6,000 to 7,000 years ago. For centuries, beautifully worked flints were regarded as the work of elves, a notion once far more plausible than the idea that humans roamed the world's wildernesses in small bands long before the days of the Greek and Roman Empires. Even when these stones were accepted as man-made tools, they were attributed to the Romans or Early Britons.

Today, we think in wider terms, but the older ideas about humanity's beginnings faded slowly. During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, excavators, mainly enthusiastic amateurs, began to associate fossil remains of men and extinct animals with the stone tools. Still, most geologists continued to think in Biblical terms, maintaining that these associations were merely coincidental. They believed the Flood had mixed the bones of ancient animals with the tools and remains of recent humans. These theories finally crumbled as archaeologists began to find bones and tools together in unflooded, undisturbed deposits, including a number of important sites on the banks of the Sommes River. British investigators came to check the French deposits, were convinced that the bones and tools had not collected as a result of flooding, and announced their conclusions in 1859. This was the same year that Darwin published On the Origin of Species, the date that marks the beginning of modern research into human evolution.

1. All of the following types of archaeological evidence were mentioned EXCEPT

  • A. carbon dating.
  • B. fossils.
  • C. extinct animal remains.
  • D. man-made objects.
  • E. flint.

2. The turning point in scientific theories about the age of humanity's existence on earth was

  • A. the discovery in France of the remains of extinct animals and humans together in an unflooded area.
  • B. the publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species.
  • C. new theological research of the Bible.
  • D. new theories about the Flood and its effects on humanity.
  • E. evidence left by the Greeks, Romans, and early Britons.

3. In the early nineteenth century

  • A. elves made flints in caves.
  • B. small bands of Romans roamed the earth.
  • C. geologists dated humanity's early existence to 1859.
  • D. stones were accepted as ancient tools and artifacts of 20,000-year-old man.
  • E. most people believed that humanity's existence was 6,000 to 7,000 years old.

Next morning, I saw for the first time an animal that is rarely encountered face to face. It was a wolverine. Though relatively small, rarely weighing more than 40 pounds, he is, above all animals, the one most hated by the Indians and trappers. He is a fine tree climber and a relentless destroyer. Deer, reindeer, and even moose succumb to his attacks. We sat on a rock and watched him come, a bobbing rascal in blackish-brown. Because the male wolverine occupies a very large hunting area and fights to the death any male that intrudes on his domain, wolverines are always scarce, and in order to avoid extinction need all the protection that humans can give. As a trapper, Henry wanted me to shoot him, but I refused, for this is the most fascinating and little known of all our wonderful predators. His hunchback gait was awkward and ungainly, lopsided yet tireless.

4. Wolverines are very scarce because

  • A. they suffer in the survival of the fittest.
  • B. they are afraid of all humankind.
  • C. they are seldom protected by man.
  • D. trappers take their toll of them.
  • E. their food supply is limited.

5. The author of this selection is most probably a(n)

  • A. conscious naturalist.
  • B. experienced hunter.
  • C. inexperienced trapper.
  • D. young Indian.
  • E. farmer.

6. The word succumb means

  • A. outmaneuver.
  • B. surrender.
  • C. overcome.
  • D. invite.
  • E. repel.