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《考研英语阅读理解100篇 高分版》 Unit 24 - TEXT ONE

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2019年02月25日

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If you found yourself in a cocktail bar with a Neanderthal man, what would he say? A good conversation is one of the great joys of being human, but it is not clear just how far back in the hominid lineage the ability to use language stretches. The question of when grunts and yelps turned into words and phrases is a tricky one. One way of trying to answer it is to look in the fossil record for evidence about what modern humanity's closest relatives could do.
Svante P??bo, of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, and his colleagues have done just that. Dr. P??bo is an expert in extracting and interpreting the DNA of fossils. As he reports in the latest issue of Current Biology, he and his team have worked their magic on a gene called FOXP2 found in Neanderthal remains from northern Spain. The reason for picking this particular gene is that it is the only one known so far to have a direct connection with speech. In 1990, a family with an inherited speech disorder known as verbal dyspraxia drew the attention of genetics researchers. Those researchers identified a mutation in FOXP2 as the cause of the dyspraxia.
Since then FOXP2 has been the subject of intensive study. It has been linked to the production of birdsong and the ultrasonic musings of mice. It is a conservative type, not changing much from species to species. But it has undergone two changes since humans split from chimpanzees 6m years ago, and some researchers believe these changes played a crucial role in the development of speech and language.
If these changes are common to modern humans and Neanderthals, they must predate the separation of the line leading to Homo sapiens from the one leading to Homo neanderthalensis. Dr. P??bo's research suggests precisely that: The FOXP2 genes from modern humans and Neanderthals are essentially the same. To the extent that the gene enables language, it enables it in both species.
There has been much speculation about Neanderthals' ability to speak. They were endowed with a hyoid bone, which anchors the tongue and allows a wide variety of movements of the larynx. Neanderthal skulls also show evidence of a large hypoglossal canal. This is the route taken by the nerves that supply the tongue. As such, it is a requisite for the exquisitely complex movements of speech. Moreover, the inner-ear structure of Homo heidelbergensis, an ancestor of Neanderthals, shows that this species was highly sensitive to the frequencies of sound that are associated with speech.
That Neanderthals also shared with moderns the single known genetic component of speech is another clue that they possessed the necessary apparatus for having a good natter. But suggestive as that is, the question remains open. FOXP2 is almost certainly not “the language gene”. Without doubt, it is involved in the control and regulation of the motions of speech, but whether it plays a role in the cognitive processes that must precede talking remains unclear—jokes about engaging brain before putting mouth in gear notwithstanding. The idea that the forebears of modern humans could talk would scupper the notion that language was the force that created modern human culture—otherwise, why would they not have built civilisations? But it would make that chat with a Neanderthal much more interesting.
1. Which one of the following statements is NOT true of Neanderthal men?
[A] They are derived from a branch of early Neanderthals called Homo heidelbergensis.
[B] They are existent descendant of Homo sapiens.
[C] They are Homo sapiens's closest relatives.
[D] They are officially named Homo neanderthalensis in the academic circle.
2. Svante P??bo and his team carried out a study on FOXP2 in order to _____.
[A] trace the appearance and evolution of the speech ability
[B] find out how far back in the hominid lineage the ability to use language stretches
[C] find evidence proving the gene which controls the motion of speech
[D] identify the crucial changes that had taken place on this gene and the consequent influence
3. The gene of FOXP2 is regarded as a gene with a direct connection with speech because _____.
[A] it was found in Neanderthal remains from northern Spain
[B] it was found that sudden change of FOXP2 may lead to speech disorder
[C] it was linked to the production of birdsong and the ultrasonic musings of mice
[D] it does not change much from species to species
4. The word “scupper” (Line 6, Paragraph 6) most probably means _____.
[A] deny
[B] defeat
[C] demolish
[D] destroy
5. From the findings of Dr. P??bo's research, it can be inferred that _____.
[A] FOXP2 is the gene that enables the speech ability in both humans and Neanderthals
[B] the fork separating the line leading to Homo sapiens from that to Homo neanderthalensis is wrong
[C] more important genes should be identified which control speech ability and cognitive process
[D] the establishment of human civilization as a result of language ability might be false

1. Which one of the following statements is NOT true of Neanderthal men?
[A] They are derived from a branch of early Neanderthals called Homo heidelbergensis.
[B] They are existent descendant of Homo sapiens.
[C] They are Homo sapiens's closest relatives.
[D] They are officially named Homo neanderthalensis in the academic circle.
1. 关于尼安德特人,下列哪个陈述是错误的?
[A] 他们源自早期名叫海德尔堡人的尼安德特人的一支。
[B] 他们是智人现存的后代。
[C] 他们是智人最近的亲属。
[D] 他们在学术界的官方名称是尼安德特人。
答案:C 难度系数:☆☆☆
分析:细节题。选项A,根据文章第五段:the inner-ear structure of Homo heidelbergensis, an ancestor of Neanderthals说明海德尔堡人是尼安德特人的祖先,而该选项混淆了二者的关系,因而是不正确的。选项B,尼安德特人是一种原始人类,因此B是错误的。选项C,从文章的分析来看,尼安德特人和智人有许多共同点,可能是其最近的亲属。因此,答案为C。选项D看似正确,具有较强的干扰性,但其实该说法文章中没有提到。
2. Svante P??bo and his team carried out a study on FOXP2 in order to _____.
[A] trace the appearance and evolution of the speech ability
[B] find out how far back in the hominid lineage the ability to use language stretches
[C] find evidence proving the gene which controls the motion of speech
[D] identify the crucial changes that had taken place on this gene and the consequent influence
2. Svante P??bo和其团队开展了一项对FOXP2的研究,目的是为了 _____。
[A] 追寻语言能力的出现和发展
[B] 找出原始人类使用语言的能力要追溯到什么年代
[C] 找到能证明这种基因控制语言活动的证据
[D] 找出在该基因上发生的重要变化以及相应的影响
答案:A 难度系数:☆☆☆
分析:推理题。结合第一段和第二段,首先第一段指出:The question of when grunts and yelps turned into words and phrases is a tricky one. 即他们为了找出咕哝声什么时候转变成了单词和短语才进行这项研究的,之后,文章主要谈论的话题就是语言能力是在什么时候出现和发展的。因此,正确答案为A。
3. The gene of FOXP2 is regarded as a gene with a direct connection with speech because _____.
[A] it was found in Neanderthal remains from northern Spain
[B] it was found that sudden change of FOXP2 may lead to speech disorder
[C] it was linked to the production of birdsong and the ultrasonic musings of mice
[D] it does not change much from species to species
3. FOXP2基因被看作是和语言有直接联系的基因,因为 _____。
[A] 在西班牙北部的尼安德特人遗骸中发现了这种基因
[B] 人们发现FOXP2突变可能会导致语言障碍
[C] 该基因与鸟类的歌唱和老鼠的超声波的产生相关
[D] 各物种间该基因的变化不大
答案:B 难度系数:☆☆☆
分析:推理题。根据第二段:In 1990, a family with an inherited speech disorder known as verbal dyspraxia drew the attention of genetics researchers. Those researchers identified a mutation in FOXP2 as the cause of the dyspraxia. 即有着遗传性语言障碍——语言运动障碍的一个家族引起了基因研究者的注意,而研究者认为,FOXP2突变是这种语言障碍的原因,因此被紧密联系了起来。因此,答案为B。
4. The word “scupper” (Line 6, Paragraph 6) most probably means _____.
[A] deny
[B] defeat
[C] demolish
[D] destroy
4. scupper这个词(第六段第六行) 最有可能的意思是 _____。
[A] 否定
[B] 打败
[C] 摧毁
[D] 毁坏
答案:A 难度系数:☆
分析:猜词题。根据上下文,现代人的祖先要是可以说话,就会推翻语言是现代人类文化创造的力量这样的论点,因此,选项A最为符合这个意思。
5. From the findings of Dr. P??bo's research, it can be inferred that _____.
[A] FOXP2 is the gene that enables the speech ability in both humans and Neanderthals
[B] the fork separating the line leading to Homo sapiens from that to Homo neanderthalensis is wrong
[C] more important genes should be identified which control speech ability and cognitive process
[D] the establishment of human civilization as a result of language ability might be false
5. 从P??bo博士研究的发现可以推导出 _____。
[A] FOXP2就是使人类和尼安德特人拥有语言能力的基因
[B] 分割智人和尼安德特人的分割点是错误的
[C] 应该找出那些控制语言能力和认知过程的更加重要的基因
[D] 语言能力创造现代人类文明这一论点是错误的
答案:B 难度系数:☆☆☆☆
分析:细节题。根据第四段:如果现代人类和穴居人有共同的变化,那么他们就必须将智人和尼安德特人的分界年代推前了。P??bo博士的研究也说明了这一点:现代人和尼安德特人的FOXP2基因基本相同。由此可以得出,分割智人和尼安德特人的分割点是错误的。因此,答案为B。其余的几点并不是P??bo博士的研究可以推导出的。选项A错误的原因在于,文章最后一段明确提出“FOXP2几乎肯定不是‘语言基因’”。选项C在文中没有相应的内容。而选项D也是错误的,因为根据最后一段:The idea that the forebears of modern humans could talk would scupper the notion that language was the force that created modern human culture—otherwise, why would they not have built civilisations?可见这种说法不是研究的结论,而只是一个猜测而已。

如果你在鸡尾酒吧里发现身旁有一个尼安德特人,他会说些什么呢?比较好的话题就是,作为人类是多么快乐的一件事,但是这种原始人类使用语言的能力要追溯到哪里就不清楚了。什么时候咕哝声转变成了单词和短语,这个问题很难回答。从化石记录中找出证据,看看与现代人类血缘关系最近的血亲能够做些什么,这是尝试回答该问题的一条途径。
莱比锡Max Planck进化人类学研究院的Svante P??bo及其同事就进行了这种尝试。P??bo博士是提取并解读化石中DNA的专家,在最新一期的《当代生物学》中,他报告了自己带领的小组在西班牙北部的尼安德特人遗骸中发现的一种叫FOXP2的基因,并对此进行了研究。选择这种特殊的基因是因为这是到目前为止唯一能与语言有直接关系的基因。1990年,一个有着遗传性语言障碍——语言运动障碍的家族引起了基因研究者的注意。这些研究者认为,FOXP2突变是这种语言障碍的成因。
自那之后,FOXP2成为热门的研究对象,甚至还有人将它与鸟类的歌唱和老鼠的超声波联系了起来。这种基因是守恒类型,物种之间的变化不大。但是自从人类于600万年前由黑猩猩中分离出来后,该基因已经发生了两次变化,一些研究者认为,这些转变在说话和语言的发展中发挥了重要作用。
如果现代人和尼安德特人有共同的变化,那么他们就必须将智人和尼安德特人的分界年代推前了。P??bo博士的研究也说明了这一点:现代人和尼安德特人的FOXP2基因基本相同。如果该基因赋予了人类语言能力,那么这两个物种应该都有这种能力。
关于尼安德特的说话能力有许多猜测。他们的舌骨支撑着舌头,使得喉部可以自如地运动。尼安德特人的头骨也显示出他们拥有大的舌下神经通道,这是舌神经经过的路线。同样,这也是实现说话这个复杂活动的一个必备条件。而且,尼安德特人的祖先海德尔堡人的内耳构造表明,该物种对语音频率有着非常高的敏感性。
尼安德特人和现代人还拥有到目前为止已知的共同的发音基因,这是证明他们拥有聊天所必需的器官的另外一个线索。但是虽然情况可能如此,这还是个开放的问题。FOXP2几乎肯定不是“语言基因”。毫无疑问,该基因与控制和调节语言活动有关,但它是否在语言产生之前的认知过程中发挥了作用还是个未解之谜,尽管有笑话说,动嘴前要先动脑。如果现代人的祖先能够说话,这将推翻语言是创造现代人类文化的力量这样的论点,否则,祖先们怎么没有创造出文明来呢?但如果人类的祖先可以说话,那么和尼安德特人聊天就变得有意思多了。
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