Agricultural societies cannot exist without staple crops. : GMAT Critical Reasoning (CR)
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# Agricultural societies cannot exist without staple crops.

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Agricultural societies cannot exist without staple crops. [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2012, 07:21
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Agricultural societies cannot exist without staple crops. Several food plants, such as kola and
okra, are known to have been domesticated in western Africa, but they are all supplemental,
not staple, foods. All the recorded staple crops grown in western Africa were introduced from
elsewhere, beginning, at some unknown date, with rice and yams. Therefore, discovering
when rice and yams were introduced into western Africa would establish the earliest date at
which agricultural societies could have arisen there. Which of the following is an
assumption on which the argument depends?
A. People in western Africa did not develop staple crops that they stopped cultivating once rice
and yams were introduced.
B. There are no plants native to western Africa that, if domesticated, could serve as staple food
crops.
C. Rice and yams were grown as staple crops by the earliest agricultural societies outside of
western Africa.
D. Kola and okra are better suited to growing conditions in western Africa than domesticated
rice and yams are.
E. Kola and okra were domesticated in western Africa before rice and yams were introduced
there.

Can anyone please explain vvhat this argument means
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
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10 Jul 2012, 09:19
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The argument evaluation:
Agr societies cannot exits without SC (staple crops)
K and O plants are known to have been domesticated in WA, but they are all supplemental, not SC
All recorded SC grown in WA were introduced from else where at some unknown date, with R and Y.
=> Discovering R and Y in WA will find the earliest date at which Agr societies have arisen

The conclusion here lacks the gap between the Staple Crop, Rice, Yam, and Arg societies. Choice A fills this gap. If not:

People in western Africa DEVELOPED staple crops that they stopped cultivating once rice
and yams were introduced. => the agriculture societies will develop sooner than when the rice and yam were cultivated.
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10 Jul 2012, 09:48
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Premise
Conclusion

Agricultural societies cannot exist without staple crops. Several food plants, such as kola and
okra, are known to have been domesticated in western Africa, but they are all supplemental,
not staple, foods. All the recorded staple crops grown in western Africa were introduced from
elsewhere, beginning, at some unknown date, with rice and yams. Therefore, discovering
when rice and yams were introduced into western Africa would establish the earliest date at
which agricultural societies could have arisen there.

Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument depends?
A. People in western Africa did not develop staple crops that they stopped cultivating once rice
and yams were introduced. It is clearly stated that agricultural societies cannot exist without staple crops. Therefore, to establish the earliest date at which agricultural societies could have arisen there, the author has to assume that no other staple crops existed before rice and yams were introduced. Otherwise, if other staple crops had been introduced previous to rice and yams, then it would be hard to establish the date at which agricultural societies could have arisen there, thus weakening the conclusion of the argument and making this asnwer choice CORRECT.
B. There are no plants native to western Africa that, if domesticated, could serve as staple food
crops. Extra information irrelevant to the conclusion. INCORRECT
C. Rice and yams were grown as staple crops by the earliest agricultural societies outside of
western Africa. Extra information irrelevant to the conclusion. INCORRECT
D. Kola and okra are better suited to growing conditions in western Africa than domesticated
rice and yams are. Extra information irrelevant to the conclusion. INCORRECT
E. Kola and okra were domesticated in western Africa before rice and yams were introduced
there. The author is concerned with staple crops, not supplemental crops. INCORRECT.
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Re: Agricultural societies cannot exist without staple crops. [#permalink]

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14 Jan 2014, 07:22
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Agricultural societies cannot exist without staple crops. Several food plants, such as kola and
okra, are known to have been domesticated in western Africa, but they are all supplemental,
not staple, foods. All the recorded staple crops grown in western Africa were introduced from
elsewhere, beginning, at some unknown date, with rice and yams. Therefore, discovering
when rice and yams were introduced into western Africa would establish the earliest date at
which agricultural societies could have arisen there. Which of the following is an
assumption on which the argument depends?

The argument looks pretty solid, thus we need to weaken any idea supporting a likely cultivation of staple crops before the introduction of rice and yams

A. People in western Africa did not develop staple crops that they stopped cultivating once rice
and yams were introduced.
Fits my prethinking, hold.
B. There are no plants native to western Africa that, if domesticated, could serve as staple food
crops.
C. Rice and yams were grown as staple crops by the earliest agricultural societies outside of
western Africa.
earliest agricultural societies? mhm.. we don't know that
D. Kola and okra are better suited to growing conditions in western Africa than domesticated
rice and yams are.
E. Kola and okra were domesticated in western Africa before rice and yams were introduced
there.
kola and okra are not staple crops..

Can anyone please explain vvhat this argument means[/quote]
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Re: Agricultural societies cannot exist without staple crops. [#permalink]

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17 Apr 2015, 18:54
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

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Re: Agricultural societies cannot exist without staple crops. [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2016, 18:12
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

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Re: Agricultural societies cannot exist without staple crops. [#permalink]

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20 Dec 2016, 21:48
A!A!A!A!

Clearly A... If crops stopped being grown once rice and yams were introduced, clearly the introduction date is a lousy indicator of when agricultural societies emerged in Africa.
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Re: Agricultural societies cannot exist without staple crops. [#permalink]

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21 Dec 2016, 20:23
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It is always better to simplify the argument -

Premise 1 - Agricultural Societies --> Staple Crops
Premise 2 - Rice and yam --> First Staple Crops in Africa

Conclusion - Time when rice and yam were introduced --> Start of Agricultural Societies in W.Africa

Let us look at each of the answer options -

A - let us negate this answer option.
"people developed staple crops before rice and yam were introduced" - this statement weakens the conclusion. If this were indeed true, then it is entirely possible that agricultural societies developed before the time when rice and yam were introduced.

B - even if there are plants that could be domesticated to be staple crops, we do not know whether they were ever domesticated.
Negating this option does not weaken the argument.

C - Not relevant.
We are only concerned with what happened in Western Africa.

D - Does not mean that kola and rice are/were used as staple foods. This answer option, thus, has no impact on the argument.
(If they were indeed used as staple foods, this could weaken the argument).

E - "Domesticated" is not the same as "staple foods".
We are concerned with whether they were staple crops or not.
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Agricultural societies cannot exist without staple crops. [#permalink]

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01 Jan 2017, 23:21
The OA is correct, and explanation provided by CrackVerbalGMAT appears sufficient. If there are any specific questions, please post them here and then click again on the "Request Expert Reply" button – closing this request.
Agricultural societies cannot exist without staple crops.   [#permalink] 01 Jan 2017, 23:21
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