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  Title:Hunting and the Setting of Inner Eurasia

  Inner Eurasia refers to the large continental area extending from Russia in the west to the Pacific Ocean, and to the north of Iran, India, and most of China. The first systematic colonization of parts of Inner Eurasia occurred about 80,000 to 90,000 years ago, which is relatively late in human history compared with Africa, Europe, and southern Asia. Why was it difficult to settle?

  The long, cold, arid winters of this region’s steppes (grass covered plains) poised two distinctive problems for human settlers. The first was hot to keep warm. Humans may have used fire even a million years ago. Presumably their ability to scavenge animal carcasses meant that they could use skins or furs for warmth. However, there are no signs of hearths before about 200,000 years ago. This suggests that humans used fire opportunistically and had not yet domesticated it enough to survive the harsh winters of Ice Age Inner Eurasia.

  The second, even trickier problem was getting food during the long winters. It was not that Inner Eurasia lacked sources of food. The problem was that the food was of the wrong kind, and it was not always available. Humans could not exploit the abundant grasses of the steppes, and most of the edible plants died off in winter. So, for long periods of each year, it was necessary to rely mainly on meat. However, hunting is a more difficult, dangerous, and unreliable way of life than gathering. Animals, unlike plants, can evade predators and may even fight back. Hunters must also cover more ground than gatherers.

  Setting Inner Eurasia meant overcoming these difficulties. Systematic and reliable hunting methods meant more than the development of new technologies, they also demanded new social structures. According to the formulation of archaeologist Lewis Binford, in a typical hunter/collector food-gathering strategy parties of hunters leave camps with very specific goals in mind, based on intimate knowledge of their intended prey. They may by away for days or weeks at a time and will often store their kill at specific storage sites, from which they will bring food back to a base camp when needed. As a result, they move their base camps less often than in forager societies, but they range more widely, their movements are more carefully planned, and so are their methods of storage.

  Thus, hunters have to plan in advance and in great detail. They need reliable information about the movements and habits of animal prey over large areas, which can be secured only by maintaining regular contacts with neighboring groups. Finally, they need reliable methods of storage because, where plant foods cannot provide a dietary safety net, planning has to be precise and detailed to ensure that there is enough to tide them over in periods of shortage. Such planning appears in the choice of hunting gear, in the selection of routes and prey, in the choice of companions and timing, in the maintenance of communications with neighbors, and in the methods of storage. Failure at any point can be fatal for the entire group.

  Hunting strategies also imply greater social complexity. The regular exchange of information and sometimes of material goods is critical not only within groups, but also between groups scattered over large distances. This increases the importance of symbolic exchanges of both goods and information, and makes it necessary to clarify group identity. Internally, groups may split for long periods as hunting parties travel over great distances. All in all, each group has to exist and survive in several distinct configurations.

  For these reasons, archaeologist Clive Gamble has argued that the difficulties of setting the Eurasian heartland arose less from the technological than from the social and organizational features of human communities before 120,000 years ago. There is little or no archaeological evidence that these communities engaged in such practices as detailed planning or widespread contacts. Nor is there any physical evidence for storage, raw materials all come from within a radius of 50 kilometers—and usually less than 5 kilometers—of the sites where they were used.

  Paragraph 2

  The long, cold, arid winters of this region’s steppes (grass covered plains) poised two distinctive problems for human settlers. The first was hot to keep warm. Humans may have used fire even a million years ago. Presumably their ability to scavenge animal carcasses meant that they could use skins or furs for warmth. However, there are no signs of hearths before about 200,000 years ago. This suggests that humans used fire opportunistically and had not yet domesticated it enough to survive the harsh winters of Ice Age Inner Eurasia.

  1. According to paragraph 2, why would it have been difficult for humans to stay warm in Inner Eurasia before 200,000 years ago?

  ? Fire had not yet been discovered.

  ? Humans did not have access to skins or furs to help keep them warm.

  ? Humans had not yet learned how to bring fire into daily use.

  ? Lack of fuel made building fires on the steppes almost impossible.

  2. The word “harsh ” in the passage is closest in meaning to

  ? severe

  ? lengthy

  ? exceptional

  ? dark

  Paragraph 3

  The second, even trickier problem was getting food during the long winters. It was not that Inner Eurasia lacked sources of food. The problem was that the food was of the wrong kind, and it was not always available. Humans could not exploit the abundant grasses of the steppes, and most of the edible plants died off in winter. So, for long periods of each year, it was necessary to rely mainly on meat. However, hunting is a more difficult, dangerous, and unreliable way of life than gathering. Animals, unlike plants, can evade predators and may even fight back. Hunters must also cover more ground than gatherers.

  3. The word “evade” in the passage is closest in meaning to

  ? escape

  ? trick

  ? capture

  ? threaten

  4. According to paragraph 3, getting food during the long winters was a problem for humans in Inner Eurasia because

  ? the area lacked sources of food

  ? steppe animals were not suitable for humans to hunt

  ? the animals migrated when the edible plants died off each year

  ? the lack of edible plants in the winter forced humans to depend on meat

  Paragraph 4

  Setting Inner Eurasia meant overcoming these difficulties. Systematic and reliable hunting methods meant more than the development of new technologies, they also demanded new social structures. According to the formulation of archaeologist Lewis Binford, in a typical hunter/collector food-gathering strategy parties of hunters leave camps with very specific goals in mind, based on intimate knowledge of their intended prey. They may by away for days or weeks at a time and will often store their kill at specific storage sites, from which they will bring food back to a base camp when needed. As a result, they move their base camps less often than in forager societies, but they range more widely, their movements are more carefully planned, and so are their methods of storage.

  5. Why does the author present an extended discussion of Lewis Binford’s formulation of a typical ˉhunter/collector food-gathering strategy‖?

  ? To introduce recent evidence from Inner Eurasia that has changed the archaeological understanding of the daily lives of human hunters

  ? To support the claim that setting Inner Eurasia must have required new social structures

  ? To challenge the claim from the previous paragraph that hunting is a difficult, dangerous, and unreliable way of life

  ? To present a theory about the life of humans in Inner Eurasia that will be contradicted later in the passage

  6. All of the following are mentioned in paragraph 4 as behaviors that Lewis Binford considered typical of the hunter/collector food-gathering strategy EXCEPT

  ? having a detailed knowledge of the animals being hunted

  ? ranging over a relatively wide area in search of food

  ? storing extra food at places other than the campsite

  ? hunting away from the campsite for one day or less

  Paragraph 5

  Thus, hunters have to plan in advance and in great detail. They need reliable information about the movements and habits of animal prey over large areas, which can be secured only by maintaining regular contacts with neighboring groups. Finally, they need reliable methods of storage because, where plant foods cannot provide a dietary safety net, planning has to be precise and detailed to ensure that there is enough to tide them over in periods of shortage. Such planning appears in the choice of hunting gear, in the selection of routes and prey, in the choice of companions and timing, in the maintenance of communications with neighbors, and in the methods of storage. Failure at any point can be fatal for the entire group.

  7. The word “habits” in the passage is closest in meaning to

  ? likes and dislikes

  ? biological instincts

  ? usual behaviors

  ? home environments

  8. 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.

  ? Precise and detailed diet planning is needed for times when neither fresh plants nor animals are available.

  ? Careful planning for storage is necessary to ensure that there is sufficient food during periods when plant foods are not available.

  ? Planning must be precise and detailed in order to ensure that their supply of plant food is safe.

  ? To survive periods of shortage, they need either reliable methods of storage or precise and detailed planning.

  9. According to paragraph 5, hunting trips require precise and detailed planning in terms of each of the following EXCEPT

  ? when to leave and where to go

  ? what animals will be hunted

  ? how the captured prey will be divided among neighboring groups

  ? who will make up the hunting party and what gear they will bring

  Paragraph 6

  Hunting strategies also imply greater social complexity. The regular exchange of information and sometimes of material goods is critical not only within groups, but also between groups scattered over large distances. This increases the importance of symbolic exchanges of both goods and information, and makes it necessary to clarify group identity. Internally, groups may split for long periods as hunting parties travel over great distances. All in all, each group has to exist and survive in several distinct configurations.

  10. It can be inferred from paragraph 6 that hunting groups differ from other groups in that hunting groups

  ? tend to have the same individuals for longer periods of time

  ? have a greater need to establish a clear identity

  ? generally have social connections only with other hunting groups

  ? are less likely to exchange information with other groups

  11. The word “configurations” in the passage is closest in meaning to

  ? environments

  ? arrangements

  ? situations

  ? conditions

  Paragraph 7

  For these reasons, archaeologist Clive Gamble has argued that the difficulties of setting the Eurasian heartland arose less from the technological than from the social and organizational features of human communities before 120,000 years ago. There is little or no archaeological evidence that these communities engaged in such practices as detailed planning or widespread contacts. Nor is there any physical evidence for storage, raw materials all come from within a radius of 50 kilometers—and usually less than 5 kilometers—of the sites where they were used.

  12. According to paragraph 7, which of the following was true of human communities before 120,000 years ago?

  ? They obtained their raw materials from the area in which these materials were used.

  ? They left little in the way of archaeological evidence that can be used to understand their technologies.

  ? They were usually located less than 5 kilometers from other human communities.

  ? They stored raw materials at multiple locations.

  Paragraph 5

  Thus, hunters have to plan in advance and in great detail. ■They need reliable information about the movements and habits of animal prey over large areas, which can be secured only by maintaining regular contacts with neighboring groups. ■ Finally, they need reliable methods of storage because, where plant foods cannot provide a dietary safety net, planning has to be precise and detailed to ensure that there is enough to tide them over in periods of shortage. ■ Such planning appears in the choice of hunting gear, in the selection of routes and prey, in the choice of companions and timing, in the maintenance of communications with neighbors, and in the methods of storage. ■ Failure at any point can be fatal for the entire group.

  13. Look at the four squares [■] that indicate where the following sentence can be added to the passage.

  The consequences of inadequate planning are serious.

  Where would the sentence best fit?

  14. Directions: An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some answer choices do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage or are minor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 2 points.

  Drag your choices to the spaces where they belong. To review the passage, click on View Text.

  The long, cold winters of Inner Eurasia made the setting of the region difficult for humans.

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  Answer Choices

  ? Although humans had fire and animal skins for warmth, they lacked the technology that would have allowed them to hunt animals over a large territory.

  ? Although humans had sufficient means of storage, they could not gather enough edible plants to last them through the year.

  ? Hunting requires social complexity, since information and goods must be exchanged among groups that are scattered across a large territory and that have different members at different times.

  ? Heavy snowfall and extreme temperatures made hunting impossible in Inner Eurasia for much of the year and forced humans to depend on grasses for survival.

  ? Humans would have needed to survive the winters by hunting, which would have required them to be expert planners and organizers.

  ? The absence of certain kinds of archaeological evidence of / sites suggests that before 120,000 years ago, humans weren’t socially sophisticated enough to survive in Inner Eurasia.

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