Step 1: Identify the conclusion:
What is the conclusion?the cold probably did cause the population declines, though indirectly
Note Paleontologist's emphasis on 'indirectly' against 'outright'.
Step 2: Identify the role of BF2 w.r.t. the conclusion. Most probably, the plankton suffered a severe population decline as a result of sharply lower temperatures at the surface
, depriving many bottom-dwellers of food.(Pal's opinion)
It's paleontologist's opinion too. -It supports the conclusion.
BF1: Paleontologist's conclusion
BF2: Paleontologist's opinion in support of the conclusion
Step 3: Apply POE
In the paleontologist's reasoning, the two portions in boldface play which of the following roles ?
(A) The first introduces the hypothesis proposed by the paleontologist; the second is a judgement offered in spelling out that hypothesis.
(B) The first introduces the hypothesis proposed by the paleontologist; the second is a position that the paleontologist opposes.
(C) The first is an explanation challenged by the paleontologist
; the second is an explanation proposed by the paleontologist
(D) The first is a judgement advanced in support of a conclusion
reached by the paleontologist; the second is that conclusion.
(E) The first is a generalization put forward by the paleontologist
; the second presents certain exceptional cases
in which that generalization does not hold
OA is A.
Hope it helps!
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