Part Ⅱ Reading Comprehension
Directions: There are 4 reading passages in this part. Each passage is followed by some questions or unfinished statements. For each of them there are four choices marked A), B), C) and D). You should decide on the best choice and mark the corresponding letter on the Answer Sheet with a single line through the centre.
Questions 11 to 15 are based on the following passage.
Birds that are literally half-asleep─with one brain hemisphere alert and the other sleeping─control which side of the brain remains awake, according to a new study of sleeping ducks.
Earlier studies have documented half-brain sleep in a wide range of birds. The brain hemispheres take turns sinking into the sleep stage characterized by slow brain waves. The eye controlled by the sleeping hemisphere keeps shut, while the wakeful hemisphere’s eye stays open and alert. Birds also can sleep with both hemispheres resting at once.
Decades of studies of bird flocks led researchers to predict extra alertness in the more vulnerable, end-of-the-row sleepers. Sure enough, the end birds tended to watch carefully on the side away from their companions. Ducks in the inner spots showed no preference for gaze direction.
Also, birds dozing(打盹) at the end of the line resorted to single-hemisphere sleep, rather than total relaxation, more often than inner ducks did. Rotating 16 birds through the positions in a four-duck row, the researchers found outer birds half-asleep during some 32 percent of dozing time versus about 12 percent for birds in internal spots.
“We believe this is the first evidence for an animal behaviorally controlling sleep and wakefulness simultaneously in different regions of the brain,” the researchers say.
The results provide the best evidence for a long-standing supposition that single-hemisphere sleep evolved as creatures scanned for enemies. The preference for opening an eye on the lookout side could be widespread, he predicts. He’s seen it in a pair of birds dozing side-by-side in the zoo and in a single pet bird sleeping by a mirror. The mirror-side eye closed as if the reflection were a companion and the other eye stayed open.
Useful as half-sleeping might be, it’s only been found in birds and such water mammals(哺乳动物)as dolphins, whales, and seals. Perhaps keeping one side of the brain awake allows a sleeping animal to surface occasionally to avoid drowning.
Studies of birds may offer unique insights into sleep. Jerome M. Siegel of the UCLA says he wonders if birds’ half-brain sleep “is just the tip of the iceberg(冰山).” He speculates that more examples may turn up when we take a closer look at other species.
11.A new study on birds’ sleep has revealed that .
A) half-brain sleep is found in a wide variety of birds
B) half-brain sleep is characterized by slow brain waves
C) birds can control their half-brain sleep consciously
D) birds seldom sleep with the whole of their brain at rest
12.According to the passage, birds often half sleep because .
A) they have to watch out for possible attacks
B) their brain hemispheres take turns to rest
C) the two halves of their brain are differently structured
D) they have to constantly keep an eye on their companions