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Reading Comprehension: Detail Questions

Which of the following is NOT mentioned in the passage about teosinte?



This answer is a matter of being careful with meaning. The passage states that because it had fewer overall seeds than similar grains **and** (because) the small seeds it did have were covered by a hard shell, teosinte was inedible to primitive humans. Pay attention to this relationship because it is different than saying that the fewer overall seed number caused the teosinte to be hard shelled (which is not what is being said) and therefore inedible/unappealing.



The passage tells us that the tassel (the male part of the plant) underwent a feminization (i.e. changed from male to female), which is certainly what we would call a drastic genetic change. We then learn that the tassel monopolized the resources of the lateral branch on which it was located.



The first sentence of the second paragraph informs us that corn is the mutated descendent of teosinte. Therefore, the evolutionary process described in the second paragraph (which the answer choice correctly represents) was what led to the creation of modern corn.



Although this answer choice does not repeat the entire process by which teosinte mutated into corn, the facts that it presents are correct. The passage states that the male inflorescence at the end of a primary lateral branch of the plant ... monopolized the resources of the lateral branch, making the ears larger and more nutritious (i.e. better for human consumption).



Teosinte's mutation into corn, i.e. the change in teosinte's tassel, is what Diamond refers to in the third paragraph as this evolutionary path. Diamond believes that the effects of corn's late evolution from teosinte were detrimental to pre-Columbian American societies.

Because it had fewer overall seeds, the small seeds it did have were covered by a hard shell, which rendered teosinte inedible to primitive humans.
After a part of the teosinte plant underwent a drastic genetic change, it absorbed most of the nutrients gathered by the branch to which it was attached.
An evolutionary jump changed teosinte's small ears into larger ones with higher nutritional value, setting it on the path to becoming what we now know as corn.
When the teosinte's male inflorescence at the end of a branch began to consume all the available resources of that branch, the resulting ears became better for human consumption.
The change in teosinte's tassel, which created ears more beneficial to humans, played a central role, in Jared Diamond's opinion, in the fate of pre-Columbian American societies.