GRE Reading Comprehension

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Source: 2014

What makes a worker ant perform one particular task rather than another? From the 1970s to the mid-1980s, researchers emphasized internal factors within individual ants, such as polymorphism, the presence in the nest of workers of different shapes and sizes, each suited to a particular task. Other elements then considered to have primary influence upon an ant's career were its age—it might change tasks as it got older—and its genetics. However, subsequent ant researchers have focused on external prompts for behavior. In advocating this approach, Deborah Gordon cites experiments in which intervention in a colony's makeup perturbed worker activity. By removing workers or otherwise altering the nest conditions, researchers were able to change the tasks performed by individual workers.

Question List: 1 2 3

According to the passage, which of the following factors were considered from the 1970s to the mid-1980s to influence the division of labor among a colony's worker ants?

  • A Ants' inherited traits
  • B The age of the ants
  • C The ants' experiences outside the nest

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