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Q. 3: The passage given below is followed by four alternate summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage.
Language is an autapomorphy found only in our lineage, and not shared with other branches of our group such as primates. We also have no definitive evidence that any species other than Homo sapiens ever had language. However, it must be noted straightaway that ‘language’ is not a monolithic entity, but rather a complex bundle of traits that must have evolved over a significant time frame…. Moreover, language crucially draws on aspects of cognition that are long established in the primate lineage, such as memory: the language faculty as a whole comprises more than just the uniquely linguistic features.
1. Language is not a single, uniform entity but the end result of a long and complex process of linguistic evolution.
2. Language is a distinctively human feature as there is no evidence of the existence of language in any other species.
3. Language evolved with linguistic features building on features of cognition such as memory.
4. Language, a derived trait found only in humans, has evolved over time and involves memory.
The crux of the paragraph is: The evolution of language over time which was aided by memory found in primates.
Options 1 and 2 do not mention the importance of “memory” – a crucial aspect in the development and evolution of language. They can be eliminated.
Option 4 is incorrect because language is not a derived trait but instead an evolutionary one built over a significant time frame.
Option 3 summarizes the paragraph correctly and succinctly by mentioning the two most important aspects of the paragraph about language – that it evolved over time and that it built on features such as memory.
Hence, the correct answer is option 3.