P1: Life originated in the early seas less than a billion years after the Earth was formed. Yet another three billion years were to pass before the first plants and animals appeared
on the continents. Life’s transition from the sea to the land was perhaps as much of an evolutionary challenge as was the genesis of life. What forms of life were able to make such a drastic change in lifestyle? The traditional view of the first terrestrial organisms is based on megafossils-relatively large specimens of essentially whole plants and animal. Vascular plants, related to modern seed plants and ferns, left the first comprehensive megafossil record. Because of this, it has been commonly assumed that the sequence of terrestrialization reflected the evolution of modern terrestrial ecosystems. In this view, primitive vascular plants first colonized the margins of continental waters, followed by animals that fed on the
plants, and lastly by animals that preyed on the plant-eater. Moreover, the megafossils suggest that terrestrial life appeared and diversified explosively near the boundary between the Silurian and the Devonian periods, a little more than 400 million years ago.
- Reading Practice Test 62 from The Collection of TOEFL Reading Comprehension
- TOEFL IBT Reading Practice Test 48 from The Official Guide to the TOEFL Test
- Reading Practice Test 69 from The Collection of TOEFL Reading Comprehension
- Reading Practice Test 67 from The Collection of TOEFL Reading Comprehension
- Reading Practice Test 66 from The Collection of TOEFL Reading Comprehension
P2: Recently, however, paleontologists have been taking a closer look at the sediments below this Silurian-Devonian geological boundary. It turns out that some fossils can be
extracted from these sediments by putting the rocks in an acid bath. The technique has uncovered new evidence from sediments that were deposited near the shores of the
(20) ancient oceans-plant microfossils and microscopic pieces of small animals. In many instances the specimens are less than one-tenth of a millimeter in diameter. Although
they were entombed in the rocks for hundreds of millions of years, many of the fossils consist of the organic remains of the organism.
P3: These newly discovered fossils have not only revealed the existence of previously unknown organisms, but have also pushed back these dates for the invasion of land by multicellular organisms. Our views about the nature of the early plant and animal communities are now being revised. And with those revisions come new speculations about the first terrestrial life-forms.
20. The word “drastic” in paragraph 1 is closest in meaning to
(A) widespread (B) radial (C) progressive (D) risky
21. According to the theory that the author calls “the traditional view“, what was the first form of life to appear on land?
(A) Bacteria (B) Meat-eating animals
(C) Plant-eating animals (D) Vascular plants
22. According to the passage, what happened about 400 million years ago?
(A) Many terrestrial life-forms died out.
(B) New life-forms on land developed at a rapid rate.
(C) The megafossils were destroyed by floods.
(D) Life began to develop in the ancient seas.
23. The word “extracted” in paragraph 2 is closest in meaning to
(A) located (B) preserved (C) removed (D) studied
24. What can be inferred from the passage about the fossils mentioned in lines 17-20?
(A) They have not been helpful in understanding the evolution of terrestrial life.
(B) They were found in approximately the same numbers as vascular plant fossils.
(C) They are older than the magafossils.
(D) They consist of modern life forms.
25. The word “instances” in paragraph 2 is closest in meaning to
(A) methods (B) processes (C) cases (D) reasons
26. The word “they” in paragraph 2 refers to
(A) rocks (B) shores (C) oceans (D) specimens
27.The word “entombed” in paragraph 2 is closest in meaning to
(A) crushed (B) trapped (C) produced (D) excavated
28. Which of the following resulted from the discovery of microscopic fossils?
(A) The time estimate for the first appearance of terrestrial life-forms was revised
(B) Old techniques for analyzing fossils were found to have new uses.
(C) The origins of primitive sea life were explained.
(D) Assumptions about the locations of ancient seas were changed.
29. With which of the following conclusions would the author probably agree?
(A) The evolution of terrestrial life was as complicated as the origin of life itself.
(B) The discovery of microfossils supports the traditional view of how terrestrial life evolved.
(C) New species have appeared at the same rate over the course of the last 400 million years.
(D) The technology used by paleontologists is too primitive to make accurate determinations about ages of fossils.