GRE Reading Comprehension

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Source: NO3

Chimps and children, gulls and Greeks—the ethnologists to their merry way, comparing bits of human cultural behavior with bits of genetically programmed animal behavior. True, humans are animals; they share certain anatomical features with other animals, and some items of human behavior may seem analogous to the behavior of other animal But such analogies can seriously mislead if we fail to look at the context of a particular item of behavior. Thus one ethnologist compares the presentation of a twig by a cormorant with gift-giving in humans. Yet the cormorant's twig-presentation simply inhibits attack and is comparable to other appeasement rituals found in many species. Human gift-giving differs in form and purpose not only from culture to culture. but within the same culture in various social contexts Everything significant about it derives from its social context. Thus, ethnologists can accomplish little—beyond reminding us that we are animals—until they study humans as cultural beings.

Question List: 1 2

The author's attitude toward contemporary ethologists can best be described as

  • A puzzled
  • B conciliatory
  • C defensive
  • D defensive
  • E disparaging

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