Cambridge 17 Reading Test 4

READING PASSAGE 1

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.

Bats to the rescue

How Madagascar’s bats are helping to save the rainforest

There are few places in the world where relations between agriculture and conservation are more strained. Madagascar’s forests are being converted to agricultural land at a rate of one percent every year. Much of this destruction is fuelled by the cultivation of the country’s main staple crop: rice. And a key reason for this destruction is that insect pests are destroying vast quantities of what is grown by local subsistence farmers, leading them to clear forest to create new paddy fields. The result is devastating habitat and biodiversity loss on the island, but not all species are suffering. In fact, some of the island’s insectivorous bats are currently thriving and this has important implications for farmers and conservationists alike.

Enter University of Cambridge zoologist Ricardo Rocha. He’s passionate about conservation, and bats. More specifically, he’s interested in how bats are responding to human activity and deforestation in particular. Rocha’s new study shows that several species of bats are giving Madagascar’s rice farmers a vital pest control service by feasting on plagues of insects. And this, he believes, can ease the financial pressure on farmers to turn forest into fields.

Bats comprise roughly one-fifth of all mammal species in Madagascar and thirty-six recorded bat species are native to the island, making it one of the most important regions for conservation of this animal group anywhere in the world.

Co-leading an international team of scientists, Rocha found that several species of indigenous bats are taking advantage of habitat modification to hunt insects swarming above the country’s rice fields. They include the Malagasy mouse-eared bat, Major’s long-fingered bat, the Malagasy white-bellied free-tailed bat and Peters’ wrinkle-lipped bat.

‘These winner species are providing a valuable free service to Madagascar as biological pest suppressors,’ says Rocha. ‘We found that six species of bat are preying on rice pests, including the paddy swarming caterpillar and grass webworm. The damage which these insects cause puts the island’s farmers under huge financial pressure and that encourages deforestation.’

The study, now published in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, set out to investigate the feeding activity of insectivorous bats in the farmland bordering the Ranomafana National Park in the southeast of the country.

Rocha and his team used state-of-the-art ultrasonic recorders to record over a thousand bat ‘feeling buzzes’ (echolocation sequences used by bats to target their prey) at 54 sites, in order to identify the favourite feeding spots of the bats. The next used DNA barcoding techniques to analyse droppings collected from bats at the different sites.

The recordings revealed that bat activity over rice fields was much higher than it was in continuous forest – seven times higher over rice fields which were on flat ground, and sixteen times higher over fields on the sides of hills – leaving no doubt that the animals are preferentially foraging in these man-made ecosystems. The researchers suggest that the bats favour these fields because lack of water and nutrient run-off make these crops more susceptible to insect pest infestations. DNA analysis showed that all six species of bat had fed on economically important insect pests. While the findings indicated that rice farming benefits most from the bats, the scientists also found indications that the bats were consuming pests of other crops, including the black twig borer (which infests coffee plants), the sugarcane cicada, the macadamia nut-borer, and the sober tabby (a pest of citrus fruits).

‘The effectiveness of bats as pest controllers has already been proven in the USA and Catalonia,’ said co-author James Kemp, from the University of Lisbon. ‘But our study is the first to show this happening in Madagascar, where the stakes for both farmers and conservationists are so high.’

Local people may have a further reason to be grateful to their bats. While the animal is often associated with spreading disease, Rocha and his team found evidence that Malagasy bats feed not just on crop pests but also on mosquitoes – carriers of malaria, Rift Valley fever virus and elephantiasis – as well as blackflies, which spread river blindness.

Rocha points out that the relationship is complicated. When food is scarce, bats become a crucial source of protein for local people. Even the children will hunt them. And as well as roosting in trees, the bats sometimes roost in buildings, but are not welcomed there because they make them unclean. At the same time, however, they are associated with sacred caves and the ancestors, so they can be viewed as beings between worlds, which makes them very significant in the culture of the people. And one potential problem is that while these bats are benefiting from farming, at the same time deforestation is reducing the places where they can roost, which could have long-term effects on their numbers. Rocha says, ‘With the right help, we hope that farmers can promote this mutually beneficial relationship by installing bat houses.’

Rocha and his colleagues believe that maximising bat populations can help to boost crop yields and promote sustainable livelihoods. The team is now calling for further research to quantify this contribution. ‘I’m very optimistic,’ says Rocha. ‘If we give nature a hand, we can speed up the process of regeneration.’

 

Questions 1-6

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?

In boxes 1-6 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE               if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE              if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN    if there is no information on this

 

1   Many Madagascan forests are being destroyed by attacks from insects.

2   Loss of habitat has badly affected insectivorous bats in Madagascar.

3   Ricardo Rocha has carried out studies of bats in different parts of the world.

4   Habitat modification has resulted in indigenous bats in Madagascar becoming useful to farmers.

5   The Malagasy mouse-eared bat is more common than other indigenous bat species in Madagascar.

6   Bats may feed on paddy swarming caterpillars and grass webworms.

 

Questions 7-13

Complete the table below.

Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 7-13 on your answer sheet. 

The study carried out by Rocha’s team

Aim

●   to investigate the feeding habits of bats in farmland near the Ranomafana National Park

Method

●   ultrasonic recording to identify favourite feeding spots

●   DNA analysis of bat 7 …………………

Findings

●   the bats

     –  were most active in rice fields located on hills

     –  ate pests of rice, 8 …………………, sugarcane, nuts and fruit

     –  prevent the spread of disease by eating 9 ………………… and blackflies

●   local attitudes to bats are mixed:

     –  they provide food rich in 10 …………………

     –  the buildings where they roost become 11 …………………

     –  they play an important role in local 12 …………………

Recommendation

●   farmers should provide special 13 ………………… to support the bat population

READING PASSAGE 2

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26 which are based on Reading Passage 2 below. 

Does education fuel economic growth?

A

Over the last decade, a huge database about the lives of southwest German villagers between 1600 and 1900 has been compiled by a team led by Professor Sheilagh Ogilvie at Cambridge University’s Faculty of Economics. It includes court records, guild ledgers, parish registers, village censuses, tax lists and – the most recent addition – 9,000 handwritten inventories listing over a million personal possessions belonging to ordinary women and men across three centuries. Ogilvie, who discovered the inventories in the archives of two German communities 30 years ago, believes they may hold the answer to a conundrum that has long puzzled economists: the lack of evidence for a causal link between education and a country’s economic growth.

B

As Ogilvie explains, ‘Education helps us to work more productively, invent better technology, and earn more … surely it must be critical for economic growth? But, if you look back through history, there’s no evidence that having a high literacy rate made a country industrialise earlier.’ Between 1600 and 1900, England had only mediocre literacy rates by European standards, yet its economy grew fast and it was the first country to industrialise. During this period, Germany and Scandinavia had excellent literacy rates, but their economies grew slowly and they industrialised late. ‘Modern cross-country analyses have also struggled to find evidence that education causes economic growth, even though there is plenty of evidence that growth increases education,’ she adds.

C

In the handwritten inventories that Ogilvie is analysing are the belongings of women and men at marriage, remarriage and death. From badger skins to Bibles, sewing machines to scarlet bodices – the villagers’ entire worldly goods are included. Inventories of agricultural equipment and craft tools reveal economic activities; ownership of books and education-related objects like pens and slates suggests how people learned. In addition, the tax lists included in the database record the value of farms, workshops, assets and debts; signatures and people’s estimates of their age indicate literacy and numeracy levels; and court records reveal obstacles (such as the activities of the guilds*) that stifled industry.

Previous studies usually had just one way of linking education with economic growth – the presence of schools and printing presses, perhaps, or school enrolment, or the ability to sign names. According to Ogilvie, the database provides multiple indicators for the same individuals, making it possible to analyse links between literacy, numeracy, wealth, and industriousness, for individual women and men over the long term.

D

Ogilvie and her team have been building the vast database of material possessions on top of their full demographic reconstruction of the people who lived in these two German communities. ‘We can follow the same people – and their descendants – across 300 years of educational and economic change,’ she says. Individual lives have unfolded before their eyes. Stories like that of the 24-year-olds Ana Regina and Magdalena Riethmüllerin, who were chastised in 1707 for reading books in church instead of listening to the sermon. ‘This tells us they were continuing to develop their reading skills at least a decade after leaving school,’ explains Ogilvie. The database also reveals the case of Juliana Schweickherdt, a 50-year-old spinster living in the small Black Forest community of Wildberg, who was reprimanded in 1752 by the local weavers’ guild for ‘weaving cloth and combing wool, counter to the guide ordinance’. When Juliana continued taking jobs reserved for male guild members, she was summoned before the guild court and told to pay a fine equivalent to one third of a servant’s annual wage. It was a small act of defiance by today’s standards, but it reflects a time when laws in Germany and elsewhere regulated people’s access to labour markets. The dominance of guilds not only prevented people from using their skills, but also held back even the simplest industrial innovation.

E

The data-gathering phase of the project has been completed and now, according to Ogilvie, it is time ‘to ask the big questions’. One way to look at whether education causes economic growth is to ‘hold wealth constant’. This involves following the lives of different people with the same level of wealth over a period of time. If wealth is constant, it is possible to discover whether education was, for example, linked to the cultivation of new crops, or to the adoption of industrial innovations like sewing machines. The team will also ask what aspect of education helped people engage more with productive and innovative activities. Was it, for instance, literacy, numeracy, book ownership, years of schooling? Was there a threshold level – a tipping point – that needed to be reached to affect economic performance?

F

Ogilvie hopes to start finding answers to these questions over the next few years. One thing is already clear, she says: the relationship between education and economic growth is far from straightforward. ‘German-speaking central Europe is an excellent laboratory for testing theories of economic growth,’ she explains. Between 1600 and 1900, literacy rates and book ownership were high and yet the region remained poor. It was also the case that local guilds and merchant associations were extremely powerful and legislated against anything that undermined their monopolies. In villages throughout the region, guilds blocked labour migration and resisted changes that might reduce their influence.

‘Early findings suggest that the potential benefits of education for the economy can be held back by other barriers, and this has implications for today,’ says Ogilvie. ‘Huge amounts are spent improving education in developing countries, but this spending can fail to deliver economic growth if restrictions block people – especially women and the poor – from using their education in economically productive ways. If economic institutions are poorly set up, for instance, education can’t lead to growth.’

——————–

* guild: an association of artisans or merchants which oversees the practice of their craft or trade in a particular area

 

Questions 14-18

Reading Passage 2 has six paragraphs, A-F.

Which section contains the following information?

Write the correct letter, A-F, in boxes 14-18 on your answer sheet.

 

14   an explanation of the need for research to focus on individuals with a fairly consistent income

15   examples of the sources the database has been compiled from

16   an account of one individual’s refusal to obey an order

17   a reference to a region being particularly suited to research into the link between education and economic growth

18   examples of the items included in a list of personal possessions

 

Questions 19-22

Complete the summary below.

Choose ONE WORD from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 19-22 on your answer sheet.

Demographic reconstruction of two German communities

The database that Ogilvie and her team has compiled sheds light on the lives of a range of individuals, as well as those of their 19 …………………, over a 300-year period. For example, Ana Regina and Magdalena Riethmüllerin were reprimanded for reading while they should have been paying attention to a 20 ………………… .

There was also Juliana Schweickherdt, who came to the notice of the weavers’ guild in the year 1752 for breaking guild rules. As a punishment, she was later given a 21 ………………… . Cases like this illustrate how the guilds could prevent 22 ………………… and stop skilled people from working

 

Questions 23 and 24

Choose TWO letters, A-E.

Write the correct letters in boxes 23 and 24 on your answer sheet.

Which TWO of the following statements does the writer make about literacy rates in Section B?

A   Very little research has been done into the link between high literacy rates and improved earnings.

B   Literacy rates in Germany between 1600 and 1900 were very good.

C   There is strong evidence that high literacy rates in the modern world result in economic growth.

D   England is a good example of how high literacy rates helped a country industrialise.

E   Economic growth can help to improve literacy rates.

 

Questions 25 and 26

Choose TWO letters, A-E.

Write the correct letters in boxes 25 and 26 on your answer sheet.

Which TWO of the following statements does the writer make in Section F about guilds in German-speaking Central Europe between 1600 and 1900?

A   They helped young people to learn a skill.

B   They were opposed to people moving to an area for work.

C   They kept better records than guilds in other parts of the world.

D   They opposed practices that threatened their control over a trade.

E   They predominantly consisted of wealthy merchants.

 

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READING PASSAGE 3

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27-40 which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.

Timur Gareyev – blindfold chess champion

A

Next month, a chess player named Timur Gareyev will take on nearly 50 opponents at once. But that is not the hard part. While his challengers will play the games as normal, Gareyev himself will be blindfolded. Even by world record standards, it sets a high bar for human performance. The 28-year-old already stands out in the rarefied world of blindfold chess. He has a fondness for bright clothes and unusual hairstyles, and he gets his kicks from the adventure sport of BASE jumping. He has already proved himself a strong chess player, too. In a 10-hour chess marathon in 2013, Gareyev played 33 games in his head simultaneously. He won 29 and lost none. The skill has become his brand: he calls himself the Blindfold King.

B

But Gareyev’s prowess has drawn interest from beyond the chess-playing community. In the hope of understanding how he and others like him can perform such mental feats, researchers at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) called him in for tests. They now have their first results. ‘The ability to play a game of chess with your eyes closed is not a far reach for most accomplished player,’ said Jesse Rissman, who runs a memory lab at UCLA. ‘But the thing that’s so remarkable about Timur and a few other individuals is the number of games they can keep active at once. To me it is simply astonishing.’

C

Gareyev learned to play chess in his native Uzbekistan when he was six years old. Tutored by his grandfather, he entered his first tournament aged eight and soon became obsessed with competitions. At 16, he was crowned Asia’s youngest ever chess grandmaster. He moved to the US soon after, and as a student helped his university win its first national chess championship. In 2013, Gareyev was ranked the third best chess player in the US.

D

To the uninitiated, blindfold chess seems to call for superhuman skill. But displays of the feat go back centuries. The first recorded game in Europe was played in 13th-century Florence. In 1947, the Argentinian grandmaster Miguel Najdorf played 45 simultaneous games in his mind, winning 39 in the 24-hour session.

E

Accomplished players can develop the skill of playing blind even without realising it. The nature of the game is to run through possible moves in the mind to see how they play out. From this, regular players develop a memory for the patterns the pieces make, the defences and attacks. ‘You recreate it in your mind,’ said Gareyev. ‘A lot of players are capable of doing what I’m doing.’ The real mental challenge comes from playing multiple games at once in the head. Not only must the positions of each piece on every board be memorised, they must be recalled faithfully when needed, updated with each player’s moves, and then reliably stored again, so the brain can move on to the next board. First moves can be tough to remember because they are fairly uninteresting. But the ends of games are taxing too, as exhaustion sets in. When Gareyev is tired, his recall can get patchy. He sometimes makes moves based on only a fragmented memory of the pieces’ positions.

F

The scientists first had Gareyev perform some standard memory tests. These assessed his ability to hold numbers, pictures and words in mind. One classic test measures how many numbers a person can repeat, both forwards and backwards, soon after hearing them. Most people manage about seven. ‘He was not exceptional on any of these standard tests,’ said Rissman. ‘We didn’t find anything other than playing chess that he seems to be supremely gifted at.’ But next came the brain scans. With Gareyev lying down in the machine, Rissman looked at how well connected the various regions of the chess player’s brain were. Though the results are tentative and as yet unpublished, the scans found much greater than average communication between parts of Gareyev’s brain that make up what is called the frontoparietal control network. Of 63 people scanned alongside the chess player, only one or two scored more highly on the measure. ‘You use this network in almost any complex task. It helps you to allocate attention, keep rules in mind, and work out whether you should be responding or not,’ said Rissman.

G

It was not the only hint of something special in Gareyev’s brain. The scans also suggest that Gareyev’s visual network is more highly connected to other brain parts than usual. Initial results suggest that the areas of his brain that process visual images – such as chess boards – may have stronger links to other brain regions, and so be more powerful than normal. While the analyses are not finalised yet, they may hold the first clues to Gareyev’s extraordinary ability.

H

For the world record attempt, Gareyev hopes to play 47 blindfold games at once in about 16 hours. He will need to win 80% to claim the title. ‘I don’t worry too much about the winning percentage, that’s never been an issue for me,’ he said. ‘The most important part of blindfold chess for me is that I have found the one thing that I can fully dedicate myself to. I miss having an obsession.’

 

Questions 27-32

Reading Passage 3 has eight paragraphs, A-H.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter, A-H, in boxes 27-32 on your answer sheet.

NB   You may use any letter more than once.

 

27   a reference to earlier examples of blindfold chess

28   an outline of what blindfold chess involves

29   a claim that Gareyev’s skill is limited to chess

30   why Gareyev’s skill is of interest to scientists

31   an outline of Gareyev’s priorities

32   a reason why the last part of a game may be difficult

 

Questions 33-36

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 3?

In boxes 33-36 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE               if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE              if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN    if there is no information on this

 

33   In the forthcoming games, all the participants will be blindfolded.

34   Gareyev has won competitions in BASE jumping.

35   UCLA is the first university to carry out research into blindfold chess players.

36   Good chess players are likely to be able to play blindfold chess.

 

Questions 37-40

Complete the summary below

Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer.

Write the correct letter in boxes 37-40 on your answer sheet.

How the research was carried out

 

The researchers started by testing Gareyev’s 37 ……………………; for example, he was required to recall a string of 38 …………………… in order and also in reverse order. Although his performance was normal, scans showed an unusual amount of 39 …………………… within the areas of Gareyev’s brain that are concerned with directing attention. In addition, the scans raised the possibility of unusual strength in the parts of his brain that deal with 40 …………………… input.

READING PASSAGE 2

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26 which are based on Reading Passage 2 below. 

Stadiums: past, present and future

A

Stadiums are among the oldest forms of urban architecture: vast stadiums where the public could watch sporting events were at the centre of western city life as far back as the ancient Greek and Roman Empires, well before the construction of the great medieval cathedrals and the grand 19th- and 20th-century railway stations which dominated urban skylines in later eras.

Today, however, stadiums are regarded with growing scepticism. Construction costs can soar above £1 billion, and stadiums finished for major events such as the Olympic Games or the FIFA World Cup have notably fallen into disuse and disrepair.

But this need not be the cause. History shows that stadiums can drive urban development and adapt to the culture of every age. Even today, architects and planners are finding new ways to adapt the mono-functional sports arenas which became emblematic of modernisation during the 20th century.

B

The amphitheatre* of Arles in southwest France, with a capacity of 25,000 spectators, is perhaps the best example of just how versatile stadiums can be. Built by the Romans in 90 AD, it became a fortress with four towers after the fifth century, and was then transformed into a village containing more than 200 houses. With the growing interest in conservation during the 19th century, it was converted back into an arena for the staging of bullfights, thereby returning the structure to its original use as a venue for public spectacles.

Another example is the imposing arena of Verona in northern Italy, with space for 30,000 spectators, which was built 60 years before the Arles amphitheatre and 40 years before Rome’s famous Colosseum. It has endured the centuries and is currently considered one of the world’s prime sites for opera, thanks to its outstanding acoustics.

C

The area in the centre of the Italian town of Lucca, known as the Piazza dell’ Anfiteatro, is yet another impressive example of an amphitheatre becoming absorbed into the fabric of the city. The site evolved in a similar way to Arles and was progressively filled with buildings from the Middle Ages until the 19th century, variously used as houses, a salt depot and a prison. But rather than reverting to an arena, it became a market square, designed by Romanticist architect Lorenzo Nottolini. Today, the ruins of the amphitheatre remain embedded in the various shops and residences surrounding the public square.

D

There are many similarities between modern stadiums and the ancient amphitheatres intended for games. But some of the flexibility was lost at the beginning of the 20th century, as stadiums were developed using new products such as steel and reinforced concrete, and made use of bright lights for night-time matches.

Many such stadiums are situated in suburban areas, designed for sporting use only and surrounded by parking lots. These factors mean that they may not be as accessible to the general public, require more energy to run and contribute to urban heat.

E

But many of today’s most innovative architects see scope for the stadium to help improve the city. Among the current strategies, two seem to be having particular success: the stadium as an urban hub, and as a power plant.

There’s a growing trend for stadiums to be equipped with public spaces and services that serve a function beyond sport, such as hotels, retail outlets, conference centres, restaurants and bars, children’s playgrounds and green space. Creating mixed-use developments such as this reinforces compactness and multi-functionality, making more efficient use of land and helping to regenerate urban spaces.

This opens the space up to families and a wider cross-section of society, instead of catering only to sportspeople and supporters. There have been many examples of this in the UK: the mixed-use facilities at Wembley and Old Trafford have become a blueprint for many other stadiums in the world.

F

The phenomenon of stadium as power stations has arisen from the idea that energy problems can be overcome by integrating interconnected buildings by means of a smart grid, which is an electricity supply network that uses digital communications technology to detect and react to local changes in usage, without significant energy losses. Stadiums are ideal for these purposes, because their canopies have a large surface area for fitting photovoltaic panels and rise high enough (more than 40 metres) to make use of micro wind turbines.

Freiburg Mage Solar Stadium in Germany is the first of a new wave of stadiums as power plants, which also includes the Amsterdam Arena and the Kaohsiung Stadium. The latter, inaugurated in 2009, has 8,844 photovoltaic panels producing up to 1.14 GWh of electricity annually. This reduces the annual output of carbon dioxide by 660 tons and supplies up to 80 percent of the surrounding area when the stadium is not in use. This is proof that a stadium can serve its city, and have a decidedly positive impact in terms of reduction of CO2 emissions.

G

Sporting arenas have always been central to the life and culture of cities. In every era, the stadium has acquired new value and uses: from military fortress to residential village, public space to theatre and most recently a field for experimentation in advanced engineering. The stadium of today now brings together multiple functions, thus helping cities to create a sustainable future.

* amphitheatre: (especially in Greek and Roman architecture) an open circular or oval building with a central space surrounded by tiers of seats for spectators, for the presentation of dramatic or sporting events

Questions 14-17

Reading Passage 2 has seven paragraphs, A-G.

Which section contains the following information?

Write the correct letter, A-G, in boxes 14-17 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

14   a mention of negative attitudes towards stadium building projects

15   figures demonstrating the environmental benefits of a certain stadium

16   examples of the wide range of facilities available at some new stadiums

17   reference to the disadvantages of the stadiums built during a certain era

Questions 18-22

Complete the summary below.

Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 18-22 on your answer sheet.

Roman amphitheatres

The Roman stadium of Europe have proved very versatile. The amphitheatre of Arles, for example, was converted first into a 18 ……………………, then into a residential area and finally into an arena where spectators could watch 19 …………………… . Meanwhile, the arena in Verona, one of the oldest Roman amphitheatres, is famous today as a venue where 20 …………………… is performed. The site of Lucca’s amphitheatre has also been used for many purposes over the centuries, including the storage of 21 …………………… . It is now a market square with 22 …………………… and homes incorporated into the remains of the Roman amphitheatre.

Questions 23-24

Choose TWO letters, A-E.

Write the correct letters in boxes 23 and 24 on your answer sheet.

When comparing twentieth-century stadiums to ancient amphitheatres in Section D, which TWO negative features does the writer mention?

  They are less imaginatively designed.

  They are less spacious.

  They are in less convenient locations.

  They are less versatile.

E   They are made of less durable materials

Questions 25-26

Choose TWO letters, A-E.

Write the correct letters in boxes 25 and 26 on your answer sheet.

Which TWO advantages of modern stadium design does the writer mention?

  offering improved amenities for the enjoyment of sports events

  bringing community life back into the city environment

  facilitating research into solar and wind energy solutions

  enabling local residents to reduce their consumption of electricity

E   providing a suitable site for the installation of renewable power generators

READING PASSAGE 1

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 which are based on Reading Passage 1 below.

The Dead Sea Scrolls

In late 1946 or early 1947, three Bedouin teenagers were tending their goats and sheep near the ancient settlement of Qumran, located on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea in what is now known as the West Bank. One of these young shepherds tossed a rock into an opening on the side of a cliff and was surprised to hear a shattering sound. He and his companions later entered the cave and stumbled across a collection of large clay jars, seven of which contained scrolls with writing on them. The teenagers took the seven scrolls to a nearby town where they were sold for a small sum to a local antiquities dealer. Word of the find spread, and Bedouins and archaeologists eventually unearthed tens of thousands of additional scroll fragments from 10 nearby caves; together they make up between 800 and 900 manuscripts. It soon became clear that this was one of the greatest archaeological discoveries ever made.

The origin of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were written around 2,000 years ago between 150 BCE and 70 CE, is still the subject of scholarly debate even today. According to the prevailing theory, they are the work of a population that inhabited the area until Roman troops destroyed the settlement around 70 CE. The area was known as Judea at that time, and the people are thought to have belonged to a group called the Essenes, a devout Jewish sect.

The majority of the texts on the Dead Sea Scrolls are in Hebrew, with some fragments written in an ancient version of its alphabet thought to have fallen out of use in the fifth century BCE. But there are other languages as well. Some scrolls are in Aramaic, the language spoken by many inhabitants of the region from the sixth century BCE to the siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE. In addition, several texts feature translations of the Hebrew Bible into Greek.

The Dead Sea Scrolls include fragments from every book of the Old Testament of the Bible except for the Book of Esther. The only entire book of the Hebrew Bible preserved among the manuscripts from Qumran is Isaiah; this copy, dated to the first century BCE, is considered the earliest biblical manuscript still in existence. Along with biblical texts, the scrolls include documents about sectarian regulations and religious writings that do not appear in the Old Testament.

The writing on the Dead Sea Scrolls is mostly in black or occasionally red ink, and the scrolls themselves are nearly all made of neither parchment (animal skin) or an early form of paper called ‘papyrus’. The only exception is the scroll numbered 3Q15, which was created out of a combination of copper and tin. Known as the Copper Scroll, this curious document features letters chiselled onto metal – perhaps, as some have theorized, to better withstand the passage of time. One of the most intriguing manuscripts from Qumran, this is a sort of ancient treasure map that lists dozens of gold and silver caches. Using an unconventional vocabulary and odd spelling, it describes 64 underground hiding places that supposedly contain riches buried for safekeeping. None of these hoards have been recovered, possibly because the Romans pillaged Judea during the first century CE. According to various hypotheses, the treasure belonged to local people, or was rescued from the Second Temple before its destruction or never existed to begin with.

Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls have been on interesting journeys. In 1948, a Syrian Orthodox archbishop known as Mar Samuel acquired four of the original seven scrolls from a Jerusalem shoemaker and part-time antiquity dealer, paying less than $100 for them. He then travelled to the United States and unsuccessfully offered them to a number of universities, including Yale. Finally, in 1954, he placed an advertisement in the business newspaper The Wall Street Journal – under the category ‘Miscellaneous Items for Sale’ – that read: ‘Biblical Manuscripts dating back to at least 200 B.C. are for sale. This would be an ideal gift to an educational or religious institution by an individual or group.’ Fortunately, Israeli archaeologist and statesman Yigael Yadin negotiated their purchase and brought the scrolls back to Jerusalem, where they remain to this day.

In 2017, researchers from the University of Haifa restored and deciphered one of the last untranslated scrolls. The university’s Eshbal Ratson and Jonathan Ben-Dov spent one year reassembling the 60 fragments that make up the scroll. Deciphered from a band of coded text on parchment, the find provides insight into the community of people who wrote it and the 364-day calendar they would have used. The scroll names celebrations that indicate shifts in seasons and details two yearly religious events known from another Dead Sea Scroll. Only one more known scroll remains untranslated.

 

Questions 1-5

Complete the notes below.

Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet.

The Dead Sea Scrolls

Discovery

Qumran, 1946/7

●   three Bedouin shepherds in their teens were near an opening on side of cliff

●   heard a noise of breaking when one teenager threw a 1 ……………………

●   teenagers went into the 2 …………………… and found a number of containers made of 3 ……………………

The scrolls

●   date from between 150 BCE and 70 CE

●   thought to have been written by group of people known as the 4 ……………………

●   written mainly in the 5 …………………… language

●   most are on religious topics, written using ink on parchment or papyrus

 

Questions 6-13

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1?

In boxes 6-13 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE               if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE              if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN    if there is no information on this

 

6   The Bedouin teenagers who found the scrolls were disappointed by how little money they received for them.

7   There is agreement among academics about the origin of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

8   Most of the books of the Bible written on the scrolls are incomplete.

9   The information on the Copper Scroll is written in an unusual way.

10   Mar Samuel was given some of the scrolls as a gift.

11   In the early 1950s, a number of educational establishments in the US were keen to buy scrolls from Mar Samuel.

12   The scroll that was pieced together in 2017 contains information about annual occasions in the Qumran area 2,000 years ago.

13   Academics at the University of Haifa are currently researching how to decipher the final scroll.

READING PASSAGE 2

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 14-26 which are based on Reading Passage 2 below. 

A second attempt at domesticating the tomato

A

It took at least 3,000 years for humans to learn how to domesticate the wild tomato and cultivate it for food. Now two separate teams in Brazil and China have done it all over again in less than three years. And they have done it better in some ways, as the re-domesticated tomatoes are more nutritious than the ones we eat at present.

This approach relies on the revolutionary CRISPR genome editing technique, in which changes are deliberately made to the DNA of a living cell, allowing genetic material to be added, removed or altered. The technique could not only improve existing crops, but could also be used to turn thousands of wild plants into useful and appealing foods. In fact, a third team in the US has already begun to do this with a relative of the tomato called the groundcherry.

This fast-track domestication could help make the world’s food supply healthier and far more resistant to diseases, such as the rust fungus devastating wheat crops.

‘This could transform what we eat,’ says Jorg Kudla at the University of Munster in Germany, a member of the Brazilian team. ‘There are 50,000 edible plants in the world, but 90 percent of our energy comes from just 15 crops.’

‘We can now mimic the known domestication course of major crops like rice, maize, sorghum or others,’ says Caixia Gao of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. ‘Then we might try to domesticate plants that have never been domesticated.’

B

Wild tomatoes, which are native to the Andes region in South America, produce pea-sized fruits. Over many generations, peoples such as the Aztecs and Incas transformed the plant by selecting and breeding plants with mutations* in their genetic structure, which resulted in desirable traits such as larger fruit.

But every time a single plant with a mutation is taken from a larger population for breeding, much genetic diversity is lost. And sometimes the desirable mutations come with less desirable traits. For instance, the tomato strains grown for supermarkets have lost much of their flavour.

By comparing the genomes of modern plants to those of their wild relatives, biologists have been working out what genetic changes occurred as plants were domesticated. The teams in Brazil and China have now used this knowledge to reintroduce these changes from scratch while maintaining or even enhancing the desirable traits of wild strains.

C

Kudla’s team made six changes altogether. For instance, they tripled the size of fruit by editing a gene called FRUIT WEIGHT, and increased the number of tomatoes per truss by editing another called MULTIFLORA.

While the historical domestication of tomatoes reduced levels of the red pigment lycopene – thought to have potential health benefits – the team in Brazil managed to boost it instead. The wild tomato has twice as much lycopene as cultivated ones; the newly domesticated one has five times as much.

‘They are quite tasty,’ says Kudla. ‘A little bit strong. And very aromatic.’

The team in China re-domesticated several strains of wild tomatoes with desirable traits lost in domesticated tomatoes. In this way they managed to create a strain resistant to a common disease called bacterial spot race, which can devastate yields. They also created another strain that is more salt tolerant – and has higher levels of vitamin C.

D

Meanwhile, Joyce Van Eck at the Boyce Thompson Institute in New York state decided to use the same approach to domesticate the groundcherry or goldenberry (Physalis pruinosa) for the first time. This fruit looks similar to the closely related Cape gooseberry (Physalis peruviana).

Groundcherries are already sold to a limited extent in the US but they are hard to produce because the plant has a sprawling growth habit and the small fruits fall off the branches when ripe. Van Eck’s team has edited the plants to increase fruit size, make their growth more compact and to stop fruits dropping. ‘There’s potential for this to be a commercial crop,’ says Van Eck. But she adds that taking the work further would be expensive because of the need to pay for a licence for the CRISPR technology and get regulatory approval.

E

This approach could boost the use of many obscure plants, says Jonathan Jones of the Sainsbury Lab in the UK. But it will be hard for new foods to grow so popular with farmers and consumers that they become new staple crops, he thinks.

The three teams already have their eye on other plants that could be ‘catapulted into the mainstream’, including foxtail, oat-grass and cowpea. By choosing wild plants that are drought or heat tolerant, says Gao, we could create crops that will thrive even as the planet warms.

But Kudla didn’t want to reveal which species were in his team’s sights, because CRISPR has made the process so easy. ‘Any one with the right skills could go to their lab and do this.’

———————-

* mutations: changes in an organism’s genetic structure that can be passed down to later generations

 

Questions 14-18

Reading Passage 2 has five paragraphs, A-E.

Which section contains the following information?

Write the correct letter, A-E, in boxes 14-18 on your answer sheet.

NB   You may use any letter more than once.

 

14   a reference to a type of tomato that can resist a dangerous infection.

15   an explanation of how problems can arise from focusing only on a certain type of tomato plant.

16   a number of examples of plants that are not cultivated at present but could be useful as food sources.

17   a comparison between the early domestication of the tomato and more recent research

18   a personal reaction to the flavour of a tomato that has been genetically edited

 

Questions 19-23

Look at the following statements (Questions 19-23) and the list of researchers below.

Match each statement with the correct researcher, A-D.

Write the correct letter, A-D, in boxes 19-23 on your answer sheet.

NB   You may use any letter more than once.

 

19   Domestication of certain plants could allow them to adapt to future environmental challenges.

20   The idea of growing and eating unusual plants may not be accepted on a large scale.

21   It is not advisable for the future direction of certain research to be made public.

22   Present efforts to domesticate one wild fruit are limited by the costs involved.

23   Humans only make use of a small proportion of the plant food available on Earth.

List of Researchers

A     Jorg Kudla

B     Caixia Gao

C     Joyce Van Eck

D     Jonathan Jones

 

Questions 24-26

Complete the sentences below.

Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 24-26 on your answer sheet.

 

24   An undesirable trait such as loss of ……………………… may be caused by a mutation in a tomato gene.

25   By modifying one gene in a tomato plant, researchers made the tomato three times its original ………………………

26   A type of tomato which was not badly affected by ………………………, and was rich in vitamin C, was produced by a team of researchers in China.

 

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READING PASSAGE 3

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 27-40 which are based on Reading Passage 3 below.

Insight or evolution?

Two scientists consider the origins of discoveries and other innovative behavior

Scientific discovery is popularly believed to result from the sheer genius of such intellectual stars as naturalist Charles Darwin and theoretical physicist Albert Einstein. Our view of such unique contributions to science often disregards the person’s prior experience and the efforts of their lesser-known predecessors. Conventional wisdom also places great weight on insight in promoting breakthrough scientific achievements, as if ideas spontaneously pop into someone’s head – fully formed and functional.

There may be some limited truth to this view. However, we believe that it largely misrepresents the real nature of scientific discovery, as well as that of creativity and innovation in many other realms of human endeavor.

Setting aside such greats as Darwin and Einstein – whose monumental contributions are duly celebrated – we suggest that innovation is more a process of trial and error, where two steps forward may sometimes come with one step back, as well as one or more stops to the right or left. This evolutionary view of human innovation undermines the notion of creative genius and recognizes the cumulative nature of scientific progress.

Consider one unheralded scientist: John Nicholson, a mathematical physicist working in the 1910s who postulated the existence of ‘proto-elements’ in outer space. By combining different numbers of weights of these proto-elements’ atoms, Nicholson could recover the weights of all the elements in the then-known periodic table. These successes are all the more noteworthy given the fact that Nicholson was wrong about the presence of proto-elements: they do not actually exist. Yet, amid his often fanciful theories and wild speculations, Nicholson also proposed a novel theory about the structure of atoms. Niels Bohr, the Nobel prize-winning father of modern atomic theory, jumped off from this interesting idea to conceive his now-famous model of the atom.

What are we to make of this story? One might simply conclude that science is a collective and cumulative enterprise. That may be true, but there may be a deeper insight to be gleaned. We propose that science is constantly evolving, much as species of animals do. In biological systems, organisms may display new characteristics that result from random genetic mutations. In the same way, random, arbitrary or accidental mutations of ideas may help pave the way for advances in science. If mutations prove beneficial, then the animal or the scientific theory will continue to thrive and perhaps reproduce.

Support for this evolutionary view of behavioral innovation comes from many domains. Consider one example of an influential innovation in US horseracing. The so-called ‘acey-deucy’ stirrup placement, in which the rider’s foot in his left stirrup is placed as much as 25 centimeters lower than the right, is believed to confer important speed advantages when turning on oval tracks. It was developed by a relatively unknown jockey named Jackie Westrope. Had Westrope conducted methodical investigations or examined extensive film records in a shrewd plan to outrun his rivals? Had he foreseen the speed advantage that would be conferred by riding acey-deucy? No. He suffered a leg injury, which left him unable to fully bend his left knee. His modification just happened to coincide with enhanced left-hand turning performance. This led to the rapid and widespread adoption of riding acey-deucy by many riders, a racing style which continues in today’s thoroughbred racing.

Plenty of other stories show that fresh advances can arise from error, misadventure, and also pure serendipity – a happy accident. For example, in the early 1970s, two employees of the company 3M each had a problem: Spencer Silver had a product – a glue which was only slightly sticky – and no use for it, while his colleague Art Fry was trying to figure out how to affix temporary bookmarks in his hymn book without damaging its pages. The solution to both these problems was invention of the brilliantly simple yet phenomenally successful Post-It note. Such examples give lie to the claim that ingenious, designing minds are responsible for human creativity and invention. Far more banal and mechanical forces may be at work; forces that are fundamentally connected to the laws of science.

The notions of insight, creativity and genius are often invoked, but they remain vague and of doubtful scientific utility, especially when one considers the diverse and enduring contributions of individuals such as Plato, Leonardo da Vinci, Shakespeare, Beethoven, Galileo, Newton, Kepler, Curie, Pasteur and Edison. These notions merely label rather than explain the evolution of human innovations. We need another approach, and there is a promising candidate.

The Law of Effect was advanced by psychologist Edward Thorndike in 1898, some 40 years after Charles Darwin published his groundbreaking work on biological evolution, On the Origin of Species. This simple law holds that organisms tend to repeat successful behaviors and to refrain from performing unsuccessful ones. Just like Darwin’s Law of Natural Selection, the Law of Effect involves an entirely mechanical process of variation and selection, without any end objective in sight.

Of course, the origin of human innovation demands much further study. In particular, the provenance of the raw material on which the Law of Effect operates is not as clearly known as that of the genetic mutations on which the Law of Natural Selection operates. The generation of novel ideas and behaviors may not be entirely random, but constrained by prior successes and failures – of the current individual (such as Bohr) or of predecessors (such as Nicholson).

The time seems right for abandoning the naïve notion of intelligent design and genius, and for scientifically exploring the true origins of creative behavior.

 

Questions 27-31

Choose the correct letter, ABC or D.

Write the correct letter in boxes 27-31 on your answer sheet.

 

27   The purpose of the first paragraph is to

  defend particular ideas.

  compare certain beliefs.

  disprove a widely held view.

  outline a common assumption.

 

28   What are the writers doing in the second paragraph?

  criticising an opinion

  justifying a standpoint

  explaining an approach

  supporting an argument

 

29   In the third paragraph, what do the writers suggest about Darwin and Einstein?

  They represent an exception to a general rule.

  Their way of working has been misunderstood.

  They are an ideal which others should aspire to.

  Their achievements deserve greater recognition.

 

30   John Nicholson is an example of a person whose idea

  established his reputation as an influential scientist.

  was only fully understood at a later point in history.

  laid the foundations for someone else’s breakthrough.

  initially met with scepticism from the scientific community.

 

31   What is the key point of interest about the ‘acey-deucy’ stirrup placement?

  the simple reason why it was invented

  the enthusiasm with which it was adopted

  the research that went into its development

  the cleverness of the person who first used it

 

Questions 32-36

Do the following statements agree with the claims of the writer in Reading Passage 3?

In boxes 32-36 on your answer sheet, write

YES                  if the statement agrees with the claims of the writer

NO                   if the statement contradicts the claims of the writer

NOT GIVEN    if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

 

32   Acknowledging people such as Plato or da Vinci as geniuses will help us understand the process by which great minds create new ideas.

33   The Law of Effect was discovered at a time when psychologists were seeking a scientific reason why creativity occurs.

34   The Law of Effect states that no planning is involved in the behaviour of organisms.

35   The Law of Effect sets out clear explanations about the sources of new ideas and behaviours.

36   Many scientists are now turning away from the notion of intelligent design and genius.

 

Questions 37-40

Complete the summary using the list of words, A-G, below.

Write the correct letter, A-G, in boxes 37-40 on your answer sheet.

The origins of creative behaviour

The traditional view of scientific discovery is that breakthroughs happen when a single great mind has sudden 37 …………………… . Although this can occur, it is not often the case. Advances are more likely to be the result of a longer process. In some cases, this process involves 38 ……………………, such as Nicholson’s theory about proto-elements. In others, simple necessity may provoke innovation, as with Westrope’s decision to modify the position of his riding stirrups. There is also often an element of 39 ……………………, for example, the coincidence of ideas that led to the invention of the Post-It note. With both the Law of Natural Selection and the Law of Effect, there may be no clear 40 …………………… involved, but merely a process of variation and selection.

  invention               B   goals            compromise

  mistakes                  luck             F   inspiration

  experiments

ANSWERS

Passage 1

1   FALSE

2   FALSE

3   NOT GIVEN

4   TRUE

5   NOT GIVEN

6   TRUE

7   droppings

8   coffee

9   mosquitoes

10   protein

11   unclean

12   culture

13   houses

Passage 2

14   E

15   A

16   D

17   F

18   C

19   descendants

20   sermon

21   fine

22   innovation

23&24   B, E

25&26   B, D

Passage 3

27   D

28   E

29   F

30   B

31   H

32   E

33   FALSE

34   NOT GIVEN

35   NOT GIVEN

36   TRUE

37   memory

38   numbers

39   communication

40   visual