ACT Reading Practice Test 54: natural science

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.


NATURAL SCIENCE: This passage is adapted from the article "Unearthing the Greatest Fossil Ever Found" by Stanley Walsh, (©2009 by Stanley Walsh).










1. The language of the first paragraph is most likely intended to convey a sense of:

A. warning that a secret will be revealed.
B. anguish for an ongoing scientific struggle.
C. reluctance to accept a theory of evolution.
D. anticipation for the topic the passage will discuss.

2. According to the passage, "the big secret" and the "missing link" refer to:

F. Ida only.
G. Lucy only.
H. Ida, and the more recently discovered Lucy.
J. Lucy, and the more recently discovered Ida.

3. The passage characterizes the idea that Ida was a transitional species which later resulted in simians as:

A. a conclusion that results from an extended period of studying the fossil.
B. a conclusion that stems from analyzing the polyester resin.
C. a speculation based on ruling out tarsidae as simian ancestors.
D. a speculation that springs from scientists' desire to find a missing link.

4. The passage implies that the price that was paid to obtain Ida's fossil from the private collector was:

F. outlandish because Lucy, an even older fossil, was cheaper.
G. higher than is customary due to the buyer's obvious interest.
H. unusual given how little the private collector valued it.
J. high due to its being discovered in a rare site for fossils.

5. In the passage, the amateur fossil hunter who found Ida in the Messel Pit is said to have:

A. not immediately assumed Ida was special and so kept it for himself.
B. not immediately assumed Ida was special and so showed it to fellow scientists.
C. immediately assumed Ida was special and so brought it to the Fossil and Mineral Fair.
D. immediately assumed Ida was special and so brought it to Oslo, Norway.

6. Which of the following best summarizes the objection of those who remain skeptical of Darwin's theory of evolution?

F. 98.4% is not a close enough genetic similarity to suggest genetic relation.
G. They are uncomfortable with the idea that chimpanzees evolved from lemurs.
H. There are not enough fossils available that date before 1859.
J. There is some explanation missing as to how and when higher primates evolved.

7. The passage states that Lucy was not:

A. at one point the oldest fossil known to man.
B. found in worse condition than was Ida.
C. found with a well preserved head.
D. only 40% complete as a fossil.

8. It can most reasonably be inferred that the word enthusiasm in line 38 refers to Professor Hurum's enthusiasm for:

F. the fossil dealer.
G. the specimen.
H. his home in Oslo.
J. the Fossil and Mineral Fair.

9. The author points out that scientists could actually still analyze the last meal Ida had (line 21) primarily to:

A. foreshadow the valuable clues scientists derived from her last meal.
B. explain why comparatively little was learned from Lucy's fossil.
C. underscore how well preserved Ida's fossil was by its environment.
D. argue for a new theory on the diets of early primates.

10. As it relates to the passage, the eighth paragraph (lines 60–65) serves mainly to:

F. explain the misconceptions that led some to doubt Darwin's theory.
G. demonstrate the confusion that results from classifying ancient fossils.
H. illustrate a scientific context in which Ida's fossil has proven helpful.
J. argue against the prevailing theory that humans came from tarsidae.