Other animals go about the world as nature made them

CBSE Board Class 12 English Un-Solved Passages

Chapter – 2  Reading Comprehension (Descriptive Passages)

Read the following passage carefully:

1. Other animals go about the world as nature made them. Why then, did man start to adorn himself by hanging things round his neck, arms, waist and legs or putting things on his head? We can imagine many reasons. If an exceptionally strong or brave man succeeded in killing an exceptionally large bear, might he not get the idea of boring a hole through one of its teeth with a sharp flint and tying the tooth round his neck in order to remind himself of his great achievement and to show his friends what a great man he was? Gradually it might become the custom in that tribe for all strong and brave hunters to wear a bear’s tooth, and it might be regarded as a disgrace not to wear one and a sign that one was weak or very young.

2. Another man might make an ornament of a coloured shell or stone simply because he liked it or because its shape reminded him of something. Then if he happened to escape from some danger when he was wearing it he might think the ornament had something to do with it-that it had magic qualities. And his friends and relatives would not be satisfied until they had an ornament of the same kind.

3. People who wore ornaments would soon learn to arrange them in different ways according to their size and colour in order to make them more decorative and impressive. A necklace found in Italy with the skeleton of a young man of the Stone Age was quite elaborate. It consisted of stag’s teeth arranged at intervals with, between them, two upper rows made up of the vertebrae of a fish and one row of shells.

4. Another reason why men might tie feathers, horns, skins and all kinds of other things to themselves would be in order to make themselves look fierce and more terrifying to animals or to the men of other tribes.

5. Objects that came from a distance and were therefore scarce-such as sea-shells to people living far inland-would come in time to have a special value, and might be worn only by chiefs and their families in order to show that they were particularly important people.

Primitive tribes living today often associate themselves with some particular animal or bird, such as an angle or lion, or with a particular place, such as a mountain or river. Man may have started doing this kind of thing very early in his history. Then, every member of a group or family may have worn something such as feathers, claws or even a stone or wooden object of a certain shape or colour, to represent the animal or mountain or whatever it might be that they believed themselves to be connected with

6. So, as we have seen, clothing may have started as ornament or to distinguish one tribe from another or to show rank or because certain things were believed to have magic qualities. But in some places a time came when men and women began to wear clothes for other reasons. During the Ice Ages when the polar ice spread over far more of the world than it does today, some of the districts in which human beings were living became very cold and bleak indeed. Man must have learnt that he would be more comfortable and more likely to survive, if he covered his body with the skins of animals. A first perhaps, he would simply tie a skin round his waist or over his shoulders but as time passed he learnt how to treat skins in order to make them softer and more supple and how to join them together in order to make better garments.

7. Flint tools have been found buried deep under the earth floors of caves in which prehistoric men sheltered when the weather became colder. Some of the tools were probably used to scrape the inner sides of skins to make them soft. Stone Age people may also have softened skins in the same way that Eskimo women do today, by chewing them. The teeth of Eskimo women are often worn down to stumps by the constant chewing of seal skins.

8. Among the wonderful fiint and bone tools and implements that later cave men made have been found some beautiful bone needles, some not much bigger than those we use today. Although the people who made them had only flint tools to work with, some of the needles are finer and more beautifully shaped than those of Roman times.


A. On the basis of your understanding of the passage answer the questions given below by choosing one of the options that follow:

(i) The habit of wearing a bear’s tooth symbolises:

(a) man’s greed

(b) hypocrisy

(c) The flint tools were found:

(d) honesty

(ii) The flint tools were found:

(a) buried in the caves.

(b) at cool places.

(c) on the floor of the caves.

(d) in the forests.

(iii) The passage justifies that man is:

(a) creative

(b) rough

(c) hard

(d) bright

(iv) Some of the flint tools were probably used to scrape the inner sides of skins to make them:

(a) soft

(b) rough

(e) hard

(d) bright

(v) Some ornaments were believed to have:

(a) satisfaction

(b) magic power

(c) disgrace

(d) comforts

B. Answer the following questions briefly:

(i) Why did man start to adorn himself?

(ii) What was special about the necklace found in Italy?

(iii) Why did men tie feathers, horns and skins to themselves?

Gu) Why did man begin to clothe himself? Give two reasons?

(v) What does the passage justify about man?

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