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Animal signals, such as the complex songs of birds

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VP
VP
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Joined: 07 Jun 2014
Posts: 1486
GRE 1: 323 Q167 V156
WE: Business Development (Energy and Utilities)
Followers: 24

Kudos [?]: 436 [0], given: 99

Animal signals, such as the complex songs of birds [#permalink] New post 12 Feb 2016, 07:50
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Animal signals, such as the complex songs of birds, tend to be costly. A bird, by singing, may forfeit time that could otherwise be spent on other important behaviors such as foraging or resting. Singing may also advertise an individual’s location to rivals or predators and impair the ability to detect their approach. Although these types of cost may be important, discussions of the cost of singing have generally focused on energy costs.

Overall the evidence is equivocal: for instance, while Eberhardt found increases in energy consumption during singing for Carolina wrens, Chappell found no effect of crowing on energy consumption in roosters. To obtain empirical data regarding the energy costs of singing, Thomas examined the relationship between song rate and overnight changes in body mass of male nightingales. Birds store energy as subcutaneous fat deposits or “body reserves”; changes in these reserves can be reliably estimated by measuring changes in body mass. If singing has important energy costs, nightingales should lose more body mass on nights when their song rate is high. Thomas found that nightingales reached a significantly higher body mass at dusk and lost more mass overnight on nights when their song rate was high.

These results suggest that there may be several costs of singing at night associated with body reserves. The increased metabolic cost of possessing higher body mass contributes to the increased overnight mass loss. The strategic regulation of evening body reserves is also likely to incur additional costs, as nightingales must spend more time foraging in order to build up larger body reserves. The metabolic cost of singing itself may also contribute to increased loss of reserves. This metabolic cost may arise from the muscular and neural activity involved in singing or from behaviors associated with singing. For example, birds may expend more of their reserves on thermo-regulation if they spend the night exposed to the wind on a song post than if they are in a sheltered roost site. Thomas’s data therefore show that whether or not singing per se has an important metabolic cost, metabolic costs associated with singing can have an important measurable effect on a bird’s daily energy budget, at least in birds with high song rates such as nightingales.



9. The primary purpose of the passage is to

A compare the different types of cost involved for certain birds in singing
B question a hypothesis regarding the energy costs of singing for certain birds
C present evidence suggesting that singing has an important energy cost for certain birds
D discuss the benefits provided to an organism by a behavior that is costly in energy
E describe an experiment that supports an alternative model of how birdsong functions

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
C


10. The passage implies that during the day before a night on which a male nightingale’s song rate is high, that nightingale probably does which of the following?

A Expends less of its reserves on thermoregulation than on other days
B Stores more energy as body reserves than on other days
C Hides to avoid predators

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
B


11 Select the sentence in the first or second paragraph that presents empirical results in support of a hypothesis about the energy costs of singing.

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
sentence (“Thomas found . . . high”)


12. It can be inferred from the passage that compared with other costs of singing, which of the following is true of the energy costs of singing?

A They are the single greatest cost to an individual bird.
B They have generally received more attention from scientists.
C They vary less from one bird species to another.

[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
B



Practice Test Questions
Question: 9-12
Page: 312-313

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VP
VP
User avatar
Joined: 07 Jun 2014
Posts: 1486
GRE 1: 323 Q167 V156
WE: Business Development (Energy and Utilities)
Followers: 24

Kudos [?]: 436 [0], given: 99

Re: Animal signals, such as the complex songs of birds [#permalink] New post 12 Feb 2016, 08:01
Expert's post

Explanation



9.

As mentioned above, the first paragraph mentions various costs associated with birdsong, but from that point onward, the focus of the passage is on evidence concerning the energy costs of singing, for nightingales in particular. Thus, the correct answer is Choice C. Although the passage mentions other costs, it does not compare them with one another, so Choice A is incorrect. Because the passage does not question any hypotheses, discuss benefits, or advance an alternative model of birdsong, Choices B, D, and E are incorrect.


10.

Choice B is correct.

Choice A is incorrect: the only reference to thermoregulation comes in line 24 and discusses nighttime activity, not daytime activity.

Choice B is correct: the second paragraph explains that birds store energy as fat deposits that can be estimated by measuring body mass, and that body mass at dusk was significantly higher in nightingales on nights when their song rate was higher.

Choice C is incorrect: while the passage does say that singing exposes birds to predators (line 3), it says nothing to suggest that they make special efforts to hide before singing, and in fact it says that nightingales spend extra time foraging (line 20).

11.

Only two sentences in the relevant portion of the passage contain information that might be considered to be empirical results. The last sentence of the first paragraph contains information about increases in energy consumption but only the last sentence of the second paragraph provides results in support of the only hypothesis in the passage, that nightingales should lose more body mass on nights when their song rate is high. Thus, sentence (“Thomas found . . . high”) is the correct choice.

12.

Choice B is correct.
Choice A is incorrect: you might infer that energy costs of singing are significant but no information is given to suggest that they are greater than other costs.

Choice B is correct: lines 4–5 say that discussions of the costs of singing have generally focused on energy costs.

Choice C is incorrect: the only mention of differences across species occurs in the discussion of the findings of Eberhardt and Chappell. These findings relate to energy costs alone and, if anything, suggest that energy costs vary considerably.
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Re: Animal signals, such as the complex songs of birds   [#permalink] 12 Feb 2016, 08:01
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Animal signals, such as the complex songs of birds

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