GRE Reading Comprehension

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Source: CHP

The two claws of the mature American lobster are decidedly different from each other. The crusher claw is short and stout; the cutter claw is long and slender. This bilateral asymmetry begins to appear in the juvenile sixth stage of development. One possible explanation is that differential use of the claws determines their asymmetry; the claw that is used more becomes the crusher.

To test this hypothesis, researchers raised lobsters in the juvenile fourth and fifth stages of development in a laboratory environment in which the lobsters could manipulate oyster chips. Under these conditions, the lobsters developed asymmetric claws, half with crusher claws on the left, and half with crusher claws on the right. In contrast, when juvenile lobsters were reared in a smooth tank without the oyster chips, the majority developed two cutter claws. This unusual configuration of symmetrical cutter claws did not change when the lobsters were subsequently placed in a manipulatable environment or when they lost and regenerated one or both claws.

Question List: 1 2 3

The passage is primarily concerned with

  • A drawing an analogy between asymmetry inlobsters and handedness in humans
  • B developing a method for predicting whether crusher claws in lobsters will appear on the left or right side
  • C explaining differences between lobsters'crusher claws and cutter claws
  • D discussing a possible explanation for the way bilateral asymmetry is determined in lobsters
  • E summarizing the stages of development of the lobster

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