CAT 2018 Question Paper | Verbal Slot 1

CAT Previous Year Paper | CAT VARC Questions | Question 9

This is a question that is targeted at a particular person mentioned in the passage. This is one of those questions in which we need to stick to the views of that particular person and not with the authors’ if any. Solving tons and tons of such questions in your CAT Online Preparation is the only way to master these kinds of questions if asked in the CAT Exam. Reading is a crucial part of your CAT Preparation without which your VARC preparation goes nowhere.

“Everybody pretty much agrees that the relationship between elephants and people has dramatically changed,” [says psychologist Gay] Bradshaw. “Where for centuries humans and elephants lived in relatively peaceful coexistence, there is now hostility and violence. Now, I use the term ‘violence’ because of the intentionality associated with it, both in the aggression of humans and, at times, the recently observed behavior of elephants.”

Typically, elephant researchers have cited, as a cause of aggression, the high levels of testosterone in newly matured male elephants or the competition for land and resources between elephants and humans. But, Bradshaw and several colleagues argue that today’s elephant populations are suffering from a form of chronic stress, a kind of species-wide trauma. Decades of poaching and culling and habitat loss, they claim, have so disrupted the intricate web of familial and societal relations by which young elephants have traditionally been raised in the wild, and by which established elephant herds are governed, that what we are now witnessing is nothing less than a precipitous collapse of elephant culture.

Elephants, when left to their own devices, are profoundly social creatures. young elephants are raised within an extended, multi-tiered network of doting female caregivers that includes the birth mother, grandmothers, aunts and friends. These relations are maintained over a life span as long as 70 years. Studies of established herds have shown that young elephants stay within 15 feet of their mothers for nearly all of their first eight years of life, after which young females are socialized into the matriarchal network, while young males go off for a time into an all-male social group before coming back into the fold as mature adults.

This fabric of elephant society, Bradshaw and her colleagues [demonstrate], ha[s] effectively been frayed by years of habitat loss and poaching, along with systematic culling by government agencies to control elephant numbers and translocations of herds to different habitats. As a result of such social upheaval, calves are now being born to and raised by ever younger and inexperienced mothers. Young orphaned elephants, meanwhile, that have witnessed the death of a parent at the hands of poachers are coming of age in the absence of the support system that defines traditional elephant life. “The loss of elephant elders,” [says] Bradshaw "and the traumatic experience of witnessing the massacres of their family, impairs normal brain and behavior development in young elephants.”

What Bradshaw and her colleagues describe would seem to be an extreme form of anthropocentric conjecture if the evidence that they’ve compiled from various elephant researchers weren’t so compelling. The elephants of decimated herds, especially orphans who’ve watched the death of their parents and elders from poaching and culling, exhibit behavior typically associated with post-traumatic stress disorder and other trauma-related disorders in humans: abnormal startle response, unpredictable asocial behavior, inattentive mothering and hyper-aggression.

[According to Bradshaw], “Elephants are suffering and behaving in the same ways that we recognize in ourselves as a result of violence. Except perhaps for a few specific features, brain organization and early development of elephants and humans are extremely similar.”

Question 9 : Which of the following measures is Bradshaw most likely to support to address the problem of elephant aggression?

  1. The development of treatment programmes for elephants drawing on insights gained from treating post-traumatic stress disorder in humans.
  2. Funding of more studies to better understand the impact of testosterone on male elephant aggression.
  3. Studying the impact of isolating elephant calves on their early brain development, behaviour and aggression.
  4. Increased funding for research into the similarity of humans and other animals drawing on insights gained from human-elephant similarities.

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Explanatory Answer

The key idea of the passage is that the chronic stress elephants experience due to human activities like poaching and culling is the reason why there is hostility and violence between humans and elephants. So, to address the problem of elephant aggression, Bradshaw is likely to support a measure that helps reduce or overcome this stress. Option 1 offers a possible solution.

Bradshaw does not believe testosterone is the reason for elephant aggression; so, option 2 is ruled out.

Neither option 3 nor 4 is compelling as they do not address the problem of elephant aggression. Besides, Bradshaw has already documented evidence to show that isolating elephant calves impacts their development and behavior and that humans and elephants are similar in brain organization and early development.

The question is "Which of the following measures is Bradshaw most likely to support to address the problem of elephant aggression?"

Hence, the answer is The development of treatment programmes for elephants drawing on insights gained from treating post-traumatic stress disorder in humans.

Choice A is the correct answer.


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