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# In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the

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In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the [#permalink]

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24 Jul 2010, 16:58
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In the late 1980’s, the population of sea otters in the North Pacific Ocean began to decline. Of the two plausible explanations for the decline—increased predation by killer whales or disease—disease is the more likely. After all, a concurrent sharp decline in the populations of seals and sea lions was almost certainly caused by a pollution related disease, which could have spread to sea otters, whereas the population of killer whales did not change noticeably

Which of the following, if true, most seriously weakens the reasoning?

A. Killer whales in the North Pacific usually prey on seals and sea lions but will, when this food source is scarce, seek out other prey.
B. There is no indication that substantial numbers of sea otters migrated to other locations from the North Pacific in the 1980’s.
C. Along the Pacific coast of North America in the 1980’s, sea otters were absent from many locations where they had been relatively common in former times.
D. Following the decline in the population of the sea otters, there was an increase in the population of sea urchins, which are sea otters’ main food source.
E. The North Pacific populations of seals and sea lions cover a wider geographic area than does the population of sea otters
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the [#permalink]

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25 Jul 2010, 08:56
I was between A and C --- but realized later that C talks about 1980's as a whole whereas the population decline concerns late 80's. What put me off about A was the fact that just because killer whales seek "other" prey does not necessarily strengthen the conclusion that the whales killed the otters...but well oh well...A is the best of the available lot.
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Re: In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the [#permalink]

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25 Jul 2010, 09:08
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B - states that reason for decline of sea otters is not the migration to other location. But this doesn't weaken or streanthen the reason.

C - states that in 1980's population of sea otters decliend but no reason is stated for it.

D - states the affect of decline of sea otters. But this doesn't weaken or streanthen the reason.

E - Again just tells about population spread but nothing else which will weaken or streanthen the reason.

But A points out that possible reason for declie eof sea otters if whales started to kill them. So think A is the orrect choice.
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Re: In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the [#permalink]

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25 Jul 2010, 11:33
Conclusion - disease more likely the cause for population decline of sea otters
Premise- seals and sea lions population has come down but whale population is not affected.

Choice A clearly states that killer whales could be the cause of decline as they turn out to sea otters when there is a decline in seals and sea lions population.

Other choices IMO strengthens the arg.
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Re: In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the [#permalink]

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26 Jul 2010, 12:03
A for me as it points out that pollution was possibly not the reason for the decline in sea otters population. Thus weakening the reasoning.
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Re: In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the [#permalink]

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26 Jul 2010, 13:02
simple one. I go with A
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Re: In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the [#permalink]

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26 Jul 2010, 19:50
Only A gives an alternate explanation.
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Re: In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the [#permalink]

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26 Jul 2010, 21:17
A weakens the argument by saying decrease is due to killer whales not pollution.
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Re: In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the [#permalink]

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27 Jul 2010, 03:09
the author is citing Disease as a most possible reason for the decline in popullation of sea otters. This is a simple causal flaw argument and an alternale cause can break the argument. There4 A it is.
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Re: In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the [#permalink]

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27 Jul 2010, 03:40
A
gives a reason for decline is due to whales and not due to disease
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Re: In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the [#permalink]

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27 Jul 2010, 12:25
A...........

but couldn't use my brain faced a similar question in Knewton ..... only word changes..... free test .got it wrong and remember the answer..........so just got it
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Re: In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the [#permalink]

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27 Jul 2010, 14:00
-- Conclusion is - diseases have caused sharp decline in sea otters. To weaken the argument, we need to find a reason other than the disease for sharp decline.

A. Killer whales in the North Pacific usually prey on seals and sea lions but will,
when this food source is scarce, seek out other prey.
-- Since killer whales had started preying on sea animals other than seals and sea lions, sea otters were the possible next option to them. Hence sea otters started declining in 1980's because killer whales started preying them. Hence A is correct answer choice.

B. There is no indication that substantial numbers of sea otters migrated to other
locations from the North Pacific in the 1980’s.
--Since there is no indication that sea otters migrated to location other than North Pacific, the possible cause of decline in not clear from this answer choice. Hence B cannot be a correct answer choice.

C. Along the Pacific coast of North America in the 1980’s, sea otters were absent
from many locations where they had been relatively common in former times.
-- Irrelevant. Hence cannot be a correct answer choice.

D. Following the decline in the population of the sea otters, there was an increase
in the population of sea urchins, which are sea otters’ main food source.
--This answer choice mentions decline in sea otters, however fails to mention the possible cause for it. Hence it cannot weaken the argument and cannot be a correct answer choice.

E. The North Pacific populations of seals and sea lions cover a wider geographic
area than does the population of sea otters
-- Irrelevant. Hence E cannot be a correct answer choice.
Thank You.

Thanks,
Akhil M.Parekh
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Re: In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the [#permalink]

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05 Aug 2010, 19:53
Easy A!
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Re: In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the [#permalink]

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06 Aug 2010, 05:28
Thumbs up !
tryingharder wrote:
the author is citing Disease as a most possible reason for the decline in popullation of sea otters. This is a simple causal flaw argument and an alternale cause can break the argument. There4 A it is.

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Re: In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the [#permalink]

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16 Aug 2010, 05:26
A
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Re: In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the [#permalink]

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16 Aug 2010, 09:42
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Re: In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the [#permalink]

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18 Aug 2010, 01:01
A
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Re: In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the [#permalink]

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18 Aug 2010, 02:18
I am in for A +1
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Re: In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the [#permalink]

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07 Sep 2010, 03:16
After reading A you don't even have to look ahead...but good to see a different type of question.
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Re: In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the [#permalink]

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08 Sep 2010, 13:24
A
Re: In the late 1980 s, the population of sea otters in the   [#permalink] 08 Sep 2010, 13:24

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