Content Ad 002


Direction for the questions 19 to 21: The passage below is accompanied by a set of three questions. Choose the best answer to each question.

Scientists have long recognised the incredible diversity within a species. But they thought it reflected evolutionary changes that unfolded imperceptibly, over millions of years. That divergence between populations within a species was enforced, according to Ernst Mayr, the great evolutionary biologist of the 1940s, when a population was separated from the rest of the species by a mountain range or a desert, preventing breeding across the divide over geologic scales of time. Without the separation, gene flow was relentless. But as the separation persisted, the isolated population grew apart and speciation occurred.

In the mid-1960s, the biologist Paul Ehrlich – author of The Population Bomb (1968) – and his Stanford University colleague Peter Raven challenged Mayr’s ideas about speciation. They had studied checkerspot butterflies living in the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve in California, and it soon became clear that they were not examining a single population. Through years of capturing, marking and then recapturing the butterflies, they were able to prove that within the population, spread over just 50 acres of suitable checkerspot habitat, there were three groups that rarely interacted despite their very close proximity.

Among other ideas, Ehrlich and Raven argued in a now classic paper from 1969 that gene flow was not as predictable and ubiquitous as Mayr and his cohort maintained, and thus evolutionary divergence between neighbouring groups in a population was probably common. They also asserted that isolation and gene flow were less important to evolutionary divergence than natural selection (when factors such as mate choice, weather, disease or predation cause better-adapted individuals to survive and pass on their successful genetic traits). For example, Ehrlich and Raven suggested that, without the force of natural selection, an isolated population would remain unchanged and that, in other scenarios, natural selection could be strong enough to overpower gene flow.

QUESTION-21: The author discusses Mayr, Ehrlich and Raven to demonstrate that
A. Evolution is a sensitive and controversial topic.
B. Ehrlich and Raven’s ideas about evolutionary divergence are widely accepted by scientists.
C. The causes of speciation are debated by scientists.
D. Checkerspot butterflies offer the best example of Ehrlich and Raven’s ideas about speciation.

Answer: (C)
Explanation for the Question:
The author of the passage has discussed Mayr, Ehrlich and Raven to showcase two divergent viewpoints on speciation: those of Mayr and those of Ehrlich and Raven. This sentiment finds best expression in option C.
Option A incorrectly labels evolution as the central topic of the passage.
Option B is incorrect as there is no mention of widespread acceptance of Ehrlich and Raven’s ideas.
Option D is ruled out as this is opinion statement and there is no mention of this being the best example; avoid such extreme opinions as answer options to questions that ask you to essentially identify generic information about the passage.

Content Ads 02 Sample 01
Pop Up


Starting 3rd June 2024, 7pm



How to Master VA-RC 

This free (and highly detailed) cheat sheet will give you strategies to help you grow

No thanks, I don't want it.

Join our Free TELEGRAM GROUP for exclusive content and updates

Rsz 1rsz Close Img

Join Our Newsletter

Get the latest updates from our side, including offers and free live updates, on email.

Rsz Undraw Envelope N8lc Smal
Rsz 1rsz Close Img