New SAT Reading Practice Test 18: Paired Passage - End of the Dinosaurs

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Question 11 questions

Time 14 minutes

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This first passage is adapted from an article from Imperial College London published in 2010, and the second is adapted from an article from Reuters published in 2013. Both discuss the different factors that may have contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Passage 1: Asteroid killed off the dinosaurs, says international scientific panel

Passage 2: Asteroid may have killed dinosaurs more quickly than scientists thought

1. In the first paragraph of Passage 1, the author suggests that mammals

  • A. were the only species that survived the KT extinction.
  • B. were very rare until 65 million years ago.
  • C. were not the dominant species on earth before the asteroid hit.
  • D. were wiped out after an asteroid hit the earth.

2. Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?

  • A. Lines 1-4 ("A panel…ago")
  • B. Lines 4-8 ("The extinction…Earth")
  • C. Lines 9-12 ("The new…Mexico")
  • D. Lines 53-56 ("The KT…Earth")

3. As used in line 24, "spewed" most nearly means

  • A. conflagrated.
  • B. disgorged.
  • C. exhumed.
  • D. siphoned.

4. Based on the information in Passage 1, it can be reasonably inferred that

  • A. fires, earthquakes, and tsunamis killed most of the dinosaurs.
  • B. lowered temperatures decimated many species.
  • C. the impact of the asteroid caused volcanoes to erupt.
  • D. there is no consensus on what caused the KT extinction.

5. As used in line 44 and line 73, the phrases "final nail in the coffin," and "nail in that coffin" in both passages refer to

  • A. a profound deduction.
  • B. a deadly result.
  • C. a gruesome metaphor.
  • D. a terminating event.

6. The author's reference to the "high-precision radiometric dating techniques" in lines 68-69 primarily serves to

  • A. propose a new theory.
  • B. validate the study's data.
  • C. prove the conclusion right.
  • D. counter the assumption.

7. As used in line 97, "preclude" most nearly means

  • A. cause.
  • B. limit.
  • C. bar.
  • D. tap.

8. The author of Passage 2 mentions tektites (line 83) primarily in order to

  • A. explore another cause for the KT extinction.
  • B. diminish the role of the asteroid in the demise of the dinosaurs.
  • C. substantiate that the volcanoes caused the most damage.
  • D. contrast with volcanic ash in order to support the new theory.

9. Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?

  • A. Lines 19-23 ("Scientists have previously…years")
  • B. Lines 61-65 ("Earth's climate may…said")
  • C. Lines 92-97 ("The previous data…relationship")
  • D. Lines 106-108 ("He says ecosystems…struck")

10. The passages differ in that Passage 1

  • A. describes the size of the asteroid, while Passage 2 only mentions its impact.
  • B. concludes that the extinction happened before the asteroid hit, while Passage 2 says the extinction happened after the asteroid hit.
  • C. explains how mammals were affected by the KT extinction, while Passage 2 does not.
  • D. contradicts the previous theory concerning the KT extinction, while Passage 2 supports it.

11. Is the main conclusion of the study described in Passage 2 consistent with the panel's conclusion, as described in Passage 1?

  • A. Yes, since the asteroid caused earthquakes and volcano eruptions that shrouded the earth in debris.
  • B. Yes, since the asteroid is considered the primary cause of the KT extinction by both parties.
  • C. No, since the study in Passage 2 conveys doubt about the timing of the asteroid impact.
  • D. No, since Passage 1 concludes that the asteroid impact led to the growth of mammal populations.