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Reading Comprehension – Ocher

  • by Fehbe Meza
  • Jan 04, 2020
  • Question of the Day

“In the spring of 2017, a pair of divers shimmied fin-first through a narrow passageway in a water-filled cave beneath Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula. In the chamber that lay beyond the tiny passage was an ancient scene preserved in stunning detail: an 11,000-year-old mining site for red ocher pigments, complete with tools and fire pits.

Yet what exactly were the people doing with this abundance of pigment? Ocher is an iron-rich material that humans around the world have used for hundreds of thousands of years. The pigments were used to mix a vibrant slurry in abalone shells in South Africa around 100,000 years ago. They illuminate the outline of hands held up to cave walls in Chauvet, France some 30,000 years ago. They coat a woman buried in a cave in northern Spain some 19,000 years ago. Ocher’s uses are also practical. It can act as a mosquito repellent or a sunscreen. It may have formed the base for adhesives in toolmaking. Some indigenous Africans and Australians still use these vibrant pigments today for both ritual and practical purposes.

However, for the people mining ocher in the caves of the Yucatán, the end goal remains unclear. “At this time, we just don’t know,” says Brandi MacDonald, an archaeologist at the University of Missouri.” Source: Nationalgeographic.com

Which one of the following most accurately expresses the main point of the passage?

A. Ocher is an iron-rich material that humans around the world have used for hundreds of thousands of years for the purpose of painting abalone shells to using it as sunscreen.
B. Although ocher has been used throughout the world, scientists have not found the answer as to the purpose and use of the abundance of pigment found in the 11,000 year-old mining site in the Yucatán peninsula.
C. Divers have recently found a water-filled cave beneath Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula that sheds light on the uses of ocher throughout the world.D. The author is a patient in the study.
D. Although ocher has been used since ancient times, some indigenous Africans and Australians still use these vibrant pigments today for both ritual and practical purposes.
E. In the Yucatán peninsula there is a water filled cave that sheds light on the dwellers of the area from 11,000 years ago.

Answer

CORRECT ANSWER = (B) This passage uses a Question and Answer secondary structure. The question being the subject of the passage and the answer to the question is the main point. The question asks: what were the people doing with this abundance of pigment? The answer stated in the last sentence is that as of yet, we just don’t know.

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