TOEFL IBT Reading Practice Test 43 from TOEFL iBT Activator Reading Intermediate

Passage 2: Neanderthals

P1: The first Neanderthal skull was discovered in Engis, Belgium in 1829, but scientists did not become interested until a third skull was discovered in Germany in 1856. Hundreds of Neanderthal skeletons were found since that year. Many of them are in excellent condition and complete skeletons. Some scientists concluded that the Neanderthals had the custom of burying the dead. This led them to believe that Neanderthals were related to humans in spite of the differences in their skulls. In biology books, Neanderthals are said to be a species of Homo sapiens that populated Europe and Asia. Homo sapiens are animals that can walk on their two feet. Human beings belong to this species.

P2: Neanderthals and humans are, however, different in some ways even though their skeletal structure looks alike. Generally, Neanderthals were shorter and had heavier bones. A Their necks were wider, and their muscles were more developed around the shoulders, arms, hands and legs. The midsection of their leg bones was thicker. B Neanderthals had long, low skull bones. Their faces projected forward and their brow bones jutted out. The skull structure indicates that Neanderthals had a bigger brain than humans. C Scientists have not been able to determine exactly how intelligent they were. What was really substantial to scientists, though, was that they believed they had found the link between apes and humans. D

P3: Textbooks today still say that Neanderthal man was proof that human beings had evolved from primates. There were problems with this idea, however. Scientists knew that apes with bigger brains were smarter than those with smaller ones. They could not understand why Neanderthals with their bigger brains existed before human beings. Another problem was the time frame. Homo sapiens were supposed to have evolved about 200,000 years ago. Neanderthals, however, died out about 36,000 years ago. Scientists realized that Homo sapiens could not have evolved from Neanderthals because they were still alive when Homo sapiens were already walking the planet Earth. It is interesting that as early as 16 years after the 1856 skull discovery, a biologist named Virchow said that the Neanderthals were not a link in the chain of evolution. He believed that the bone structure of the species was a result of rickets. Even though Virchow’s theory may prove to be wrong, he was at least aware that a link could not possibly exist.

Directions: Mark your answer by filling in the oval next to your choice.

11. What is the main idea of the passage?

(A) The idea that Neanderthals are the ancestors of humans is flawed.

(B) The Neanderthals have many similarities to human beings.

(C) The Neanderthal species are descendants of the apes.

(D) There Is no evidence that Neanderthals are not related to humans.

12. The word custom in paragraph 1 Is closest in meaning to

(A) occurrence

(B) mistake

(C) practice

(D) complaint

13. The word them in paragraph 1 refers to

(A) humans

(B) Neanderthals

(C) the dead

(D) scientists

14. All of the following are descriptive of Neanderthals’ physical features EXCEPT

(A) brow bones that stick out

(B) broader neck

(C) tinier brain

(D) shorter stature

15. Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in the passage? Incorrect choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.
(A) However, scientists considered their belief that apes and humans were related to each other to be significant.

(B) It was important, however, for scientists to find the link between human beings and Neanderthals.

(C) Scientists did not know whether the link between apes and human beings was important, but they wanted to find out.

(D) There was an important link between apes and humans, but scientists did not know what it was.

16. Look at the four squares [■] that indicate where the following sentence could be added to paragraph 2.

In spite of the larger brain, they are known to have been much less intelligent than humans.

Where would the sentence best fit?





17. According to paragraph 3, Neanderthals do not fit the framework of evolution because

(A) they are smaller than human beings.

(B) their skull is larger than that of other apes.

(C)they have bigger muscles than other Homo sapiens.

(D) their brain is bigger than that of humans

18. Why does the author mention when Homo sapiens are supposed to have evolved?

(A) To explain a flaw in the idea that Neanderthals are an evolutionary link

(B) To describe the time period when Neanderthals existed

(C) To contrast today’s Homo sapiens with those thousands of years ago

(D) To provide evidence that Neanderthals are early Homo sapiens

19. What does the author think of Virchow?

(A) He was not a competent scientist.

(B) He did not know much about Neanderthals.

(C) He was perceptive.

(D) He probably had rickets.

20. Directions: Select the appropriate phrases from the answer choices and match them to the Ideas about Neanderthals to which they relate. TWO of the answer choices will NOT be used.

Ideas about Neanderthals: 

  • Neanderthals Not a Link
  • Neanderthals a Link

(A) Bury their dead

(B) Had similar skull bones

(C) Were alive when Homo sapiens existed

(D) Can walk on two feet

(E) Had a bigger brain than humans

(F) Had a similar skeletal system to humans

(G) Were much more quick-witted

Answer Keys for Passage 2:

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11. A

12. C

13. D

14. C

15. A

16. C

17. D

18. A

19. C

20. – Neanderthals Not a link – C, E // Neanderthals a link – A, D, F


Reading Passage 3