IELTS Academic Reading Practice 31

 
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This reading practice simulates one part of the IELTS Academic Reading test. You should spend about twenty minutes on it. Read the passage and answer questions 1-11.

Questions 1-6

Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage? 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. Pangea formed from the convergence of a northern and southern landmass.
2. In the future, the tectonic plates will continue to drift apart, increasing separation between continents.
3. During the process of allopatric speciation, two different groups develop similar traits in response to the same environmental pressures.
4. If two populations are separated, they may no longer be able to interbreed after some time.
5. Placental mammals in South America and marsupials in Australia may evolve from a common ancestor.
6. Tectonic activity has resulted in the separation of the continents over time.
Questions 7-11

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

Write your answers in boxes 7-11 on your answer sheet.

7 What happened during the Triassic period?

8 why does the author discuss mesosaurus, lystrosaurus, and glossopteris?

9 Which of the following provided evidence for the existence of a past supercontinent?

10 Which of the following is NOT true about biodiversity?

11 How did continental drift affect the populations of marsupials today?


Answer Sheet
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
N/A
13
N/A
14
N/A
15
N/A
16
N/A
17
N/A
18
N/A
19
N/A
20
N/A
21
N/A
22
N/A
23
N/A
24
N/A
25
N/A
26
N/A
27
N/A
28
N/A
29
N/A
30
N/A
31
N/A
32
N/A
33
N/A
34
N/A
35
N/A
36
N/A
37
N/A
38
N/A
39
N/A
40
N/A


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Drifting Species

Today, Earth is a planet inhabited by hundreds of millions of different plant and animal species, and formed by seven continents and five oceans. However, the earth that we call home today did not always appear as it does now on a typical globe. Abraham Ortelius was the first to propose that the continents were not always separated, but were once part of a larger, now fragmented landmass, and that the continents had somehow drifted towards where they sit currently. Back Ortelius’ time of 1596, this radical idea was hardly given a second thought. But by 1912, scientists of the 20th century such as Alfred Wegener had begun theorizing on what’s now known as plate tectonics, an idea that was confirmed as correct with the help of improved technology available by the 1960’s.

Pangea is the name given to the giant landmass once formed about 250 million years ago. This supercontinent was, in fact, comprised of the seven distinct continents which we now know today. Between nearly a hundred million to 45 million years later, during the Triassic period, the enormous mass of Pangea started to splinter. First, it split in two, forming the northern and southern continents known as Laurasia and Gondwana. Laurasia, the northern continent, would later form what is today North America, Europe, and Asia, while the southern Gondwana would form South America, Africa, India, Antarctica, and Australia. These continents would not take their recognizable shapes of today until around 65 million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period.

Fossils dating prior to earth’s landmasses splitting provided the proof necessary for plate tectonics and continental drift. In coastal areas of what are now distinct continents, research in archaeology has revealed plant and animal species which would have lived on both continents. Fossils discovered on Brazilian and South African coasts suggest that the mesosaurus, a small animal resembling a crocodile, lived on a larger continent prior to any separation. Meanwhile, another animal, the lystrosaurus, has also been found in Triassic rock in the continents of Africa, India, and Antarctica. A final example comes from fossils of the fern Glossopteris, which are present on all five of Gondwana’s split pieces.

As continental drift affects the biodiversity of earth, it has led to several species which appear on different continents around the world. Speciation, a key factor to evolution, is a result of different species of one living thing developing into other species, so distinct from one another that they can no longer interbreed. Geographic factors may contribute further to speciation in what is known as allopatric speciation, which occurs when a group of organisms becomes geographically divided somehow. Once the populations are separated, they will begin to genetically diverge over generations. Divergences in genetics due to isolated populations can arise for a variety of reasons, such as mutations, genetic drift, and selective adaptations depending on environment.

Therefore, we can attribute much of the great biodiversity on Earth today to continental drift, which led to the separation of groups of living things. Specific biomes have now developed all over the planet, thanks to the seven split continents and five oceans. Not only does diversity arise between separate continents, but also in the vast distances within them.

Continental drift’s huge influence species evolution can be exemplified through South American and Australian animal populations. Both aforementioned regions were once part of the great southern landmass of Gondwana, and once the landmass began to break apart, the animals of both sides were carried off in different directions, separating their populations. Marsupials, such as kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, and wombats are a specific subtype of mammal which reproduce by using a pouch. Today, they are mostly only natively found in Australia. However, in the region which is now South America, the opossum constitutes one marsupial living there today. Otherwise, placental mammals, who carry their young within a womb similar to humans, dominate there.

While the tectonic plates moving around contributed to both continental separation and biodiversity, there were other geological processes also at play. The tectonic plates have also collided, forming new textures of landmasses, namely, mountains, in what are known as convergent plate boundaries. These plate boundaries physically affect areas by pushing up the land as they collide, separating landmasses, and consequently, entire populations of animals and plants. Meanwhile, ocean animals’ habitats are also affected by the collision of tectonic plates, which actually acts against biodiversity negatively.

Reading Passage Vocabulary
Drifting Species

Today, Earth is a planet inhabited by hundreds of millions of different plant and animal species, and formed by seven continents and five oceans. However, the earth that we call home today did not always appear as it does now on a typical globe. Abraham Ortelius was the first to propose that the continents were not always separated, but were once part of a larger, now fragmented landmass, and that the continents had somehow drifted towards where they sit currently. Back Ortelius’ time of 1596, this radical idea was hardly given a second thought. But by 1912, scientists of the 20th century such as Alfred Wegener had begun theorizing on what’s now known as plate tectonics, an idea that was confirmed as correct with the help of improved technology available by the 1960’s.

Pangea is the name given to the giant landmass once formed about 250 million years ago. This supercontinent was, in fact, comprised of the seven distinct continents which we now know today. Between nearly a hundred million to 45 million years later, during the Triassic period, the enormous mass of Pangea started to splinter. First, it split in two, forming the northern and southern continents known as Laurasia and Gondwana. Laurasia, the northern continent, would later form what is today North America, Europe, and Asia, while the southern Gondwana would form South America, Africa, India, Antarctica, and Australia. These continents would not take their recognizable shapes of today until around 65 million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period.

Fossils dating prior to earth’s landmasses splitting provided the proof necessary for plate tectonics and continental drift. In coastal areas of what are now distinct continents, research in archaeology has revealed plant and animal species which would have lived on both continents. Fossils discovered on Brazilian and South African coasts suggest that the mesosaurus, a small animal resembling a crocodile, lived on a larger continent prior to any separation. Meanwhile, another animal, the lystrosaurus, has also been found in Triassic rock in the continents of Africa, India, and Antarctica. A final example comes from fossils of the fern Glossopteris, which are present on all five of Gondwana’s split pieces.

As continental drift affects the biodiversity of earth, it has led to several species which appear on different continents around the world. Speciation, a key factor to evolution, is a result of different species of one living thing developing into other species, so distinct from one another that they can no longer interbreed. Geographic factors may contribute further to speciation in what is known as allopatric speciation, which occurs when a group of organisms becomes geographically divided somehow. Once the populations are separated, they will begin to genetically diverge over generations. Divergences in genetics due to isolated populations can arise for a variety of reasons, such as mutations, genetic drift, and selective adaptations depending on environment.

Therefore, we can attribute much of the great biodiversity on Earth today to continental drift, which led to the separation of groups of living things. Specific biomes have now developed all over the planet, thanks to the seven split continents and five oceans. Not only does diversity arise between separate continents, but also in the vast distances within them.

Continental drift’s huge influence species evolution can be exemplified through South American and Australian animal populations. Both aforementioned regions were once part of the great southern landmass of Gondwana, and once the landmass began to break apart, the animals of both sides were carried off in different directions, separating their populations. Marsupials, such as kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, and wombats are a specific subtype of mammal which reproduce by using a pouch. Today, they are mostly only natively found in Australia. However, in the region which is now South America, the opossum constitutes one marsupial living there today. Otherwise, placental mammals, who carry their young within a womb similar to humans, dominate there.

While the tectonic plates moving around contributed to both continental separation and biodiversity, there were other geological processes also at play. The tectonic plates have also collided, forming new textures of landmasses, namely, mountains, in what are known as convergent plate boundaries. These plate boundaries physically affect areas by pushing up the land as they collide, separating landmasses, and consequently, entire populations of animals and plants. Meanwhile, ocean animals’ habitats are also affected by the collision of tectonic plates, which actually acts against biodiversity negatively.

 
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