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Question

Which one of the following best describes the final paragraph of the passage?

A
Arguments for opposing points of view are presented and then reconciled.
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B
The disadvantages of certain types of choices are outlined and alternative choices are proposed.
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C
Two different interpretations of a phenomenon are evaluated and one is endorsed as the more plausible.
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D
The disadvantages of an action are enumerated and the validity of that action is called into question.
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E
Advantages and disadvantages of a behavior are discussed and some actions for avoiding the adverse consequences are mentioned.
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Solution

The correct option is E Advantages and disadvantages of a behavior are discussed and some actions for avoiding the adverse consequences are mentioned.
(E) is the correct answer. The final paragraph mentions two advantages of invertebrate schooling behavior, namely, that it enables invertebrates to find food and that it facilitates the search for mates. These advantages can lead to an increase in the size of the school. The downside is that the school can get too large for the local food supply, so that it faces starvation. The paragraph ends by pointing out reactions on the part of the school that have the effect of reducing its size, thereby eliminating the imbalance between population size and food supply. Thus (E) is the correct answer, since it mentions all three salient points: advantages of schooling, disadvantages of schooling, and responses by the school to avoid adverse consequences. Response (A) is incorrect since the final paragraph is written from only one point of view: the point of view of someone trying to explain that invertebrate schooling behavior is, on balance, of benefit to the invertebrates. There is no mention in this paragraph, or anywhere else in the passage, of any opposing point of view on this matter. Response (B) is not correct. The final paragraph describes a variety of behaviors on the part of schooling invertebrates. All of these behaviors are best described purely as reactions determined by environmental circumstances, and not as involving any element of choice. But even if one does, metaphorically, call these behaviors “choices,” it is not accurate to say that the last paragraph proposes alternative choices. Response (C) is not correct. It is not clear what it would mean to “interpret” a phenomenon like invertebrate schooling. But, in any case, no alternative interpretation is discussed or evaluated. So (C) fails to be correct for reasons similar to those for which (A) fails to be correct. Response (D) is incorrect because the final paragraph does suggest that schooling can have the disadvantageous result of making a population too large for the available food supply. But the last paragraph does not question the claim that, overall, schooling is beneficial.

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