IELTS Academic Reading Sample 60 - Let’s Go Bats

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 which are based on Reading Passage  below:

Let’s Go Bats

A Bats have a problem: how to find their way around in the dark they hunt at flight, and cannot use light to help them find prey and avoid obstacles. You might say that this is a problem of their own making one that they could avoid simply by changing their habits and hunting by day. But the daytime economy is already heavily exploited by other creatures such as birds. Given that there is a living to be made at night, and given that alternative daytime trades are thoroughly occupied, natural selection has favored bats that make a go of the night-hunting trade. It is probable that the nocturnal trades go way back in the ancestry of all mammals. In the time when the dinosaurs. dominated the daytime economy, our mammalian ancestors probably only managed to survive at all because they found ways of scraping a living at night. Only after the my stenos mass extinction of the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago were our ancestors able to emerge into the daylight in any substantial numbers. 

B  Bats have an engineering problem: how to find their way and find their prey in the absence of light Bats are not the only creatures to face this difficulty today. Obviously, the night-flying insects that they prey on must find their way about somehow. Deep-sea fish and whales have little or no light by day or by night. Fish and dolphins that live in extremely muddy water cannot see because, although there is light, it is obstructed and scattered by the dirt in the water Plenty" of other modern animals make their living in conditions where seeing is difficult or impossible.

C Given the questions of how to manoeuvre in the dark, what solutions might an engineer consider? The first one that might occur to him is to manufacture light, to use a lantern or a searchlight Fireflies and some fish (usually with the help of bacteria) have the power to - manufacture their own light but the process seems to consume a large amount of energy. Fireflies use their light for attracting mates. This doesn't require a prohibitive amount of energy: a male's tiny pinprick of light can be seen by a female from some distance on a dark night since her eyes are exposed directly to the light source itself. However, using light to find one's own way around requires vastly more energy, since the eyes have to detect the tiny fraction of the light that bounces off each part of the scene. The light source must, therefore, be immensely brighter if it is to be used as a headlight to illuminate the path, than if it is to be used as a signal to others. In any event, whether or not the reason is the energy expense, it seems to be the case that with the possible exception of some weird deep-sea fish, no animal apart from man uses manufactured light to find its way about

D What else might the engineer think off Well, blind humans sometimes seem to have an uncanny sense of obstacles in their path, ft has been given the name’ facial vision', because blind people have reported that Ft feels a bit like the sense of touch, on the face. One report tells of a totally blind boy who could and his tricycle at good speed round the block near his home, using facial vision. Experiments showed that, in fact, facial vision is nothing to do with touch or the front of the face, although the sensation may be referred to the front of the face, like the referred pain in a phantom limb The sensation of facial vision, it turns out really goes in through the ears. Blind people, without even being aware of the fact are actually using echoes of their own footsteps and of other sounds, to sense the presence of obstacles. Before this was discovered, engineers had already built instruments to exploit the principle, for example, to measure the depth of the sea under a ship. After this technique had been invented, it was only a matter of time before weapons designers adapted ft for the detection of submarines. Both sides in the Second World War relied heavily on these devices, under such code names as Asdic (British) and Sonar (American), as wall as Radar (American) or RDF (British), which uses radio echoes rather than sound echoes.

E The Sonar and Radar pioneers Didn’t know it then, but all the world now knows that bats, or rather natural selection working on bats, had perfected the system tens of millions of years earlier, and their radar'" achieves feats of detection and navigation that would strike an engineer dumb with admiration It is technically incorrect to talk about bat'radar1, since they do not use radio waves. It is sonar. But the underlying mathematical the ones of radar and sonar are very similar, and much of our scientific understanding of the details of what bats are doing has’ come from applying radar theory to them. The American zoologist Donald Griffin, who was largely responsible for the discovery of sonar in bats, coined the term 'echolocation' to cover both sonar and radar, whether used’ by animals or by human instruments.

Questions 1-5
Reading Passage 1 has five paragraphs, A-E.
Which paragraph contains the following information?
Write the correct letter. A-E, in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet.

 NB You may use any letter more than once.

1. examples of wildlife other than bats which do not rely on vision to navigate by
2. how early mammals avoided dying out
3. why bats hunt in the dark
4. how a particular discovery has helped our understanding of bats
5. early military uses of echolocation

Questions 6-9
Complete the summary below.
Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 6-9 on your answer sheet.

Facial Vision
Blind people report that so-called 'facial vision' is comparable to the sensation of touch on the face. In fact, the sensation is more similar to the way in which pain from a 6…………… arm or leg might be felt. The ability actually comes from perceiving 7………….. through the ears. However, even before this was understood, the principle had been applied in the design of instruments which calculated the 8 ………….. of the seabed. This was followed by a wartime application in devices for finding 9……………….. .

Question 10-13
Complete the sentences below.
Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.

Write your answers in boxes 10-13 on your answer sheet.

10  Long before the invention of radar, ……………  had resulted in a sophisticated radar-like system in bats.
11  Radar is an inaccurate term when referring to bats because …………… are not used in their navigation system.    
12  Radar and sonar are based on similar……………    
13  The word 'echolocation' was first used by someone working as a ……………                   

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1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 3.00 (21 Votes)


-1 # Estrella 2017-02-16 21:16
Thank you so much for this training. I'm learning too much, in fact, I have never had understood an explanation as in this way. I'm sure to improve my reading and my student's reading too.
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+1 # Alex 2017-01-19 13:37
Dear mentor, could you explain me the Q#6? I think "phantom" is not the full answer. however, it said- no more than one word and I put phantom limb. Thank you in advance.
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-1 # Guest 2015-08-17 13:03
"manoeuvre" not "rnanoeuvre"
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+2 # IELTS Mentor 2015-08-18 05:13
Thanks. That was a typo. We have corrected it after reading your comment.
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+3 # Guest 2015-08-18 14:18
Quoting IELTS Mentor:
Thanks. That was a typo that we have corrected after reading your comment.

What does 'typo' mean?
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0 # IELTS Mentor 2015-08-19 05:41
Typo is a mistake (such as a misspelt word) in typed or printed text. In another word, 'typo' means a typing mistake.
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+4 # Ataklat 2015-03-20 20:12
Thanks a lot! It's very helpful. Anyway, I've seen many typographical errors in paragraph D.
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+2 # Garcia 2015-01-23 18:16
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