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ACT Question for July 20th

Two scientists are discussing possible origins of human life on earth.  While they agree that the earliest fossil evidence is that modern humans first appeared in Africa 130,000 years ago and there is evidence of modern humans in the Near East approximately 90,000 years ago, they do not agree on the path that led to the evolution of modern humans.  During the process of evolution, mutations of DNA appear in offspring.  While many mutations are harmful and detrimental to the individual, a few may be helpful in the survival of that individual.  DNA codes for useful traits that are passed on to offspring, and, over very long periods of time, enough DNA changes will accumulate for the group of organisms to evolve into a different species.

Scientist 1
The evolution of the “modern” humans, Homo sapiens, was a result of parallel evolution from populations of Homo erectus and an intermediary of some sort.  This process occurred in Africa, Europe, and Asia with some genetic intermixing among some members of these populations.  There is clear anatomical evidence for this theory when comparing certain minor anatomical structures of Homo erectus populations with modern humans from these areas. These anatomical differences are very minor, which is clear evidence that modern humans must have evolved separately in Africa, Europe, and Asia.  This is the “Multi-Generational Hypothesis.”

Scientist 2
If one looks at the evidence carefully, the only logical explanation is that a fairly small isolated population of people eventually evolved into the modern Homo sapiens.  It is this population that would eventually spread across Asia, Africa, and Europe.  As they spread, they displaced and replaced other humanoid populations.  When one looks at DNA evidence of living humans, especially that of mitochondrial DNA, and mutation rate of DNA, one can calculate when modern humans diverged from a common ancestor.  Most of these calculations are approximately 200,000 years ago, which is much too recent for the hypothesis of Scientist 1 to be true.  Molecular biology also suggests that the first modern humans evolved in Africa.  This is the “Out of Africa Hypothesis.”

Suppose that a 175,000 year-old Homo sapiens fossil is found in Asia. The scientist(s) whose argument this would most support is:

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Question ID: 5959