ACT reading practice test 36

DIRECTIONS: Each passage is followed by several questions. After reading a passage, choose the best answer to each question and fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document. You may refer to the passages as often as necessary.


Social Science

This passage is adapted from the essay "Into the Heart of India's Bone Trade" by Scott Carney, which appeared on NPR online in 2007.

Medical students across the world rely on
anatomical models to become informed doctors. What
many don't realize is that a large number of these
models are stolen from graves in Calcutta, India. For
05200 years, the city has been the center of a shadowy
network of bone traders who snatch up skeletons
in order to sell them to universities and hospitals abroad.
In colonial times, British doctors hired thieves to dig up
bodies from Indian cemeteries. Despite changes in laws,
10a similar process is going strong today.
Throughout parts of Calcutta, many of the cemeteries
have been empty for generations. "When I die, when I'm
gone, my body will also be stolen," says Mohammad Jinnah
Vishwas, a farmer who lives in the village of Amdanga.
15"Before we didn't understand where all the bones were
going, now we know that they were taken by criminals."
A legal multimillion-dollar business throughout the
1970s, the export of human remains was banned by India
in 1986 following rumors that traders were murdering
20people for their bones. The new law pushed most of
the major companies out of business.
"It is kind of a sad situation because [my father] loved
the business so much, and he saw it drift away from him,"
says Craig Kilgore, whose family founded Kilgore
25International, which at one point was the principal
supplier of bones to the United States.
At least one organization, however, has managed
to survive underground. Most prominently, a firm called
Young Brothers-located conveniently between the city's
30biggest morgue and largest cemetery-has excelled
in the black market. It has taken a bold approach-
advertising its bone selection in catalogues and going to
extreme measures to maintain its supply, according to a
former clerk who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation.
35"They took the bodies from the river, from the graveyard
and from the hospital. More than 5,000 dead bodies I have
seen," she says.
In 2001, Javed Ahmed Khan, Calcutta's health department
chief, started receiving complaints about Young Brothers.
40The main storefront, neighbors said, was emitting a stench
so horrible that it could be detected several blocks away.
Neighbors also reported that they had seen bones drying
on the roof and skeletons boiling in massive tubs.
A raid against the business, led by Khan, confirmed
45suspicions. "I went inside and saw two rooms full of human
skeletons. There were huge bowls where skeletons were
dipped to remove the fats and all that," Khan says.
In addition to three truckloads of bones, Khan said, he
found invoices for shipments headed to the United States,
50Europe and Singapore. Despite the evidence, the owner
of Young Brothers was released just a few days later.
"We won the case," says Vinesh Aron, the
proprietor of Young Brothers. He denied a request to
be interviewed, but when asked whether skeletons were
55recovered from his building, he said, "Those were all
export materials." This answer hits on the hollowness
of the rules governing the bones trade. Under the law,
any bones being exported are technically "illegal"-but
the question for police is often whether they are illegal
60enough to bother prosecuting.
That became evident again in May, when police
intercepted a massive cache of human remains along a
well-established smuggling route. The bleached white
bones from over 100 people could have fetched around
65$70,000 had they made it to the United States. Whether
the goods will ever be submitted as evidence in court
is unclear.
"It depends on the seriousness that society places on
it," says Rajeev Kuman, director inspector general of
70police in Calcutta. Kuman says he doesn't have enough
resources to enforce the law. The fact that it's legal to
import the bones into the United States and Europe, and
that the "victims" are already dead, only serves to make
the situation that much murkier.
75Few retailers in the United States possess a steady
supply of human bones. Those that do often purchase
them through a chain of middlemen that spans the globe.
The longer the chain, the easier it is to avoid considering
the nature of that primary link.

1. Which of the following assumptions would be most critical for a reader to accept in order to agree fully with the author's claims in the passage?

A. The root of the problem lies within the attitudes of Indian law enforcement.
B. Local superstitions are keeping the illegal Indian bone market in business.
C. The situation in India is no different than in any other Asian nation.
D. Matters will not improve until American bone buyers insist upon greater accountability.

2. In the context of the passage, the statement "The longer the chain, the easier it is to avoid considering the nature of that primary link" (lines 78-79) most nearly suggests that:

F. American bone buyers have become complacent because they do not have to deal directly with criminals.
G. the general public does not believe that medical skeletons are made of real human bones.
H. larger criminal enterprises are harder to stop than smaller ones.
J. the bigger the bones, the more money criminals are able to get for them.

3. It can most reasonably be inferred from the passage that regarding the Indian bone trade, the author feels:

A. anger that the American media refuse to report on the problem.
B. fear that the criminals behind the enterprise will target him for exposing them.
C. sympathy for the people living in the conditions that are perpetuating the problem.
D. skepticism of whether the problem is really as widespread as people say.

4. The main purpose of the sixth paragraph (lines 27-34) is to:

F. establish that location is the primary factor determining which criminal enterprises will be more successful than others.
G. demonstrate the extreme boldness with which some bone-trafficking organizations operate.
H. convince the reader that the word of the former clerk can be trusted.
J. confirm the reader's suspicions that Young Brothers has been involved in illegal bone trafficking.

5. The main function of the eleventh paragraph (lines 52-60) is to:

A. establish that even flagrant violators of the bone laws will not necessarily end up in court.
B. explain that Young Brothers had not been involved in illegal activity after all.
C. shift the question of blame to local police.
D. complain that American media have difficulty penetrating the veil of silence concerning Indian bone trafficking.

6. The passage notes all of the following as major contributors to the problem of illegal bone trafficking EXCEPT the:

F. power and influence of the criminals.
G. unfeasibility of prosecution.
H. frequent unreliability of witnesses.
J. willful ignorance of the American market.

7. The passage indicates that Calcutta law enforcement would do more about illegal bone trafficking if:

A. they were permitted to use the sort of weaponry necessary to win a fight with the traffickers.
B. they were better able to trust their own officers.
C. the cemeteries from which the bones were stolen lay inside their jurisdiction.
D. the public placed enough importance on the issue for the government to properly fund prosecution.

8. The passage implies that the skeletal remains of a single human might be worth approximately:

F. $100
G. $200
H. $700
J. $70,000

9. The passage implies that all of the following people oppose illegal bone trafficking EXCEPT:

A. Craig Kilgore.
B. Vinesh Aron.
C. Javed Ahmed Khan.
D. Mohammad Jinnah Vishwas.

10. The passage implies that the catalogues mentioned in line 32 would most likely be sent to:

F. medical students.
G. other criminals.
H. American media outlets.
J. superstitious locals.