This is an explanation for passage 3 of LSAT preptest 29 the October 1999 LSAT. This passage is about platypus bills. It presents the results of two areas of scientific research about the functions of the bill of the platypus.
This section has paragraph summaries and an analysis of the passage, links to the explanations for the questions are below.
First Half of Paragraph 1: The platypus uses nerve endings on its bill to locate prey while underwater. Studies show there are two kinds of receptors on bill.
Second Half of Paragraph 1: The bill is the main sensory organ. Bohringer’s studies show its sensitivity to touch. But how does the platypus locate prey?
First half of Paragraph 2: Scheich’s studies. The platypus switches from patrolling to searching when it finds prey.
Second Half of Paragraph 2: Electroreception: platypus will hunt batteries. This means the platypus’ prey may create electric fields, just like shrimp do.
This is a long, dense passage. Always reread any sections you don’t understand. And look over everything before starting the questions, as you’ll need to know where to look for information. This passage is unusual because it only has two big paragraphs. I split them each in two when I made my mental map of the passage, and I encourage you to try the same.
All that said, the concepts aren’t very hard. Everything reduces to the paragraph summaries I wrote above.
The simple ideas are masked by scientific language. If you find science passages difficult, this is a good one to use for practice. I guarantee that you can understand what’s going on here. Once you do, analyze why you found it difficult, and see which words and phrases allowed you to understand. Understanding scientific language is a skill, and one you can get better at. If you can improve at it, you’ll score better on the LSAT.
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