Paleontologist: About 2.8 million years ago, many species : GMAT Critical Reasoning (CR)
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# Paleontologist: About 2.8 million years ago, many species

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29 Dec 2012, 00:09
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Paleontologist: About 2.8 million years ago, many species that lived near the ocean floor suffered substantial population declines. These declines coincided with the onset of an ice age. The notion that cold killed those bottom-dwelling creatures outright is misguided, however; temperatures near the ocean floor would have changed very little. Nevertheless, the cold probably did cause the population declines, though indirectly. Many bottom-dwellers depended for food on plankton, small organisms that lived close to the surface and sank to the bottom when they died. 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.

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 judgment 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 judgment 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
[Reveal] Spoiler:
after discussions
.
Again-similar stimulus but different bold faces and answer choices.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Last edited by JarvisR on 06 Jul 2015, 22:22, edited 1 time in total.
OA updated
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29 Dec 2012, 04:41
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Marcab wrote:
Paleontologist: About 2.8 million years ago, many species that lived near the ocean floor suffered substantial
population declines. These declines coincided with the onset of an ice age. The notion that cold killed those
bottom-dwelling creatures outright is misguided, however; temperatures near the ocean floor would have
changed very little. Nevertheless, the cold probably did cause the population declines, though
indirectly.
Many bottom-dwellers depended for food on plankton, small organisms that lived close to the
surface and sank to the bottom when they died. 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.

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 judgment 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 judgment 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
[Reveal] Spoiler:
after discussions
.
Again-similar stimulus but different bold faces and answer choices.

the first bold IS the conclusion: it is introduced by Nevertheless and also is supported in this logic by the entire passage. If do not find it you get in trouble

Only A says that the first is the conclusion and the second bold support that. B oppose the conclusion and is not true at all

A is the best and now want my Kudos LOL
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31 Dec 2012, 01:12
Would go with A
First is hypothesis,second is explanation for that hypothesis
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31 Dec 2012, 02:10
IMO D. The first part supports the conclusion by saying the decline is due to ice age indirectly. The second is the conclusion.
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05 Jan 2013, 02:37
Marcab wrote:
Paleontologist: About 2.8 million years ago, many species that lived near the ocean floor suffered substantial
population declines. These declines coincided with the onset of an ice age. The notion that cold killed those
bottom-dwelling creatures outright is misguided, however; temperatures near the ocean floor would have
changed very little. Nevertheless, the cold probably did cause the population declines, though
indirectly.
Many bottom-dwellers depended for food on plankton, small organisms that lived close to the
surface and sank to the bottom when they died. 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.

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 judgment offered in spelling
out that hypothesis. The first bold refutes the argument, does not introduce
B. The first introduces the hypothesis proposed by the paleontologist; the second is a position that the
paleontologist opposes.same as A
C. The first is an explanation challenged by the paleontologist; the second is an explanation proposed by the
paleontologist. Looks OK will park this one.
D. The first is a judgment advanced in support of a conclusion reached by the paleontologist; the second is that
conclusion. It is a speculation not a judgement.
E. The first is a generalization put forward by the paleontologist; the second presents certain exceptional cases in
which that generalization does not hold. IT is not an exceptional case

OA
[Reveal] Spoiler:
after discussions
.
Again-similar stimulus but different bold faces and answer choices.

The answer is to me is C. Explanation as given above.
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05 Jan 2013, 06:56
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Marcab wrote:
Paleontologist: About 2.8 million years ago, many species that lived near the ocean floor suffered substantial
population declines. These declines coincided with the onset of an ice age. The notion that cold killed those
bottom-dwelling creatures outright is misguided, however; temperatures near the ocean floor would have
changed very little. Nevertheless, the cold probably did cause the population declines, though
indirectly.
Many bottom-dwellers depended for food on plankton, small organisms that lived close to the
surface and sank to the bottom when they died. 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.

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 judgment 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 judgment 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
[Reveal] Spoiler:
after discussions
.
Again-similar stimulus but different bold faces and answer choices.

B can be rejected because the paleontologist doesn't oppose the second. C can be rejected because the first is not challenged by the paleontologist anywhere . E can be rejected because if the first is a generalization the second doesn't try to disprove it. So we have A and D now. D says the first is a judgement advanced in support of second which is the conclusion. But the second is more of an explanation and cannot be the conclusion. So we have only A which in fact makes perfect sense because, the first is something which the paleontologist proposes. The second elaborates or spells out that proposal.
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05 Jan 2013, 07:38
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A. The first introduces the hypothesis proposed by the paleontologist; the second is a judgment 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. ----- Eliminated. The second does not oppose rather supports first.

C. The first is an explanation challenged by the paleontologist; the second is an explanation proposed by the
paleontologist. ------ Eliminated. He is not challenging

D. The first is a judgment advanced in support of a conclusion reached by the paleontologist; the second is that
conclusion. --------- Eliminated. The second is the cause and the first is effect (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. ------ Eliminated. Second is clear cut explanation about the first bold-face that cold did actually cause the death, though indirectly.

Between A and C, C is a better option. He challenges the earlier notion that cold temperature at bottom killed the dwellers. He introduces his hypothesis that cold temperature did kill, but indirectly and goes on with an explanation in the second bold face.

Very difficult to choose between A and C because in A, he seems to just reject the reason for the earlier conclusion but accepts the conclusion: Exrtreme cold killed the dwellers. Then in the second boldface he gives the correct reason how cold killed than prevuiusly thought. So A could also be the answer!!!

I chose C becuase it only talks about Explanation being opposed in first and new explanation given in second boldface.

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05 Jan 2013, 17:44
Consider the first boldface: Nevertheless, the cold probably did cause the population declines, though indirectly.

Is the paleontologist challenging this statement anywhere? In fact it is his own statement. So the answer cannot be C.
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13 Jan 2013, 12:04
Between A and D, I suppose A is the better choice. But what is meant by 'a judgment advanced in support of a conclusion'? The wording confuses me
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13 Jan 2013, 14:36
am having difficulty in stating what each of the two paragraphs in boldface serves as..what is best way of tackling critical reasoning questions?please help

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21 Jan 2013, 18:45
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Marcab wrote:
Paleontologist: About 2.8 million years ago, many species that lived near the ocean floor suffered substantial
population declines. These declines coincided with the onset of an ice age. The notion that cold killed those
bottom-dwelling creatures outright is misguided, however; temperatures near the ocean floor would have
changed very little. Nevertheless, the cold probably did cause the population declines, though
indirectly.
Many bottom-dwellers depended for food on plankton, small organisms that lived close to the
surface and sank to the bottom when they died. 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.

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 judgment 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 judgment 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
[Reveal] Spoiler:
after discussions
.
Again-similar stimulus but different bold faces and answer choices.

This is quite a challenging BF question and the variety of responses here support my belief.

Understanding the Passage

Let's start with something we should do first i.e. understanding the passage. Let's go through the passage line by line:

1. About 2.8 million years ago, many species that lived near the ocean floor suffered substantial population declines. - It's a factual statement that tells us something that happened a long time ago.

2. These declines coincided with the onset of an ice age. - This is also factual. However, this fact happened at the same time as the one in first statement.

3. The notion that cold killed those bottom-dwelling creatures outright is misguided, however; - Now, this is Paleo's opinion. Saying that someting is misguided is not a fact, it's an opinion that tells us that Paleo doesn't agree that cold killed those bottom dwelling creatures.

4. temperatures near the ocean floor would have changed very little. - This is a reason to back up the opinion of Paleo. Since the temperatures changed very little, this temperature change should not have led to the death of bottom dwelling creatures.

5. Nevertheless, the cold probably did cause the population declines, though indirectly. - This is our first Bold Face statement or BF1. This is a causative statement where the Paleo links cold to population decline, with a keyword "indirectly". So, in previous statement, the Paleo opined that cold did not lead to death of bottom dwelling creatures and provided a reason for the same. In this statement, Paleo introduces his own theory of how cold might have effected bottom dwelling creatures. So, this statement could be called an opinion or conclusion or judgement or hypothesis of the Paleo.

6. Many bottom-dwellers depended for food on plankton, small organisms that lived close to the surface and sank to the bottom when they died. - This is most probably a fact because what bottom creatures eat is not a matter of opinion, they eat what they eat. However. the presence of "many" could make it an opinion since different people would define "many" differently. This statement, along with the next statement (BF2) provides support to the opinion of the Paleo (BF1). This statement says that bottom dwelling creatures depended on Plankton for food.

7. 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. - This is BF2. This says that Plankton suffered a sever population decline. Read this statement with the preceding statement, which said Plankton was food for bottom dwelling creatures. So, combining these statements, we find that the food of bottom dwelling creatures declined severely. This could now explain BF1 (indirect cause of decline).

Now, let's look at the options:

Option Analysis

A. The first introduces the hypothesis proposed by the paleontologist; the second is a judgment offered in spelling out that hypothesis. - As we understand, BF1 can be termed as hypothesis of Paleontologist. We know BF2 supports BF1. So, the roles of both BF1 and BF2 roughly match with our understanding. Let's keep this option in the fray.

B. The first introduces the hypothesis proposed by the paleontologist; the second is a position that the paleontologist opposes. - Here, the explantion of BF2 is easily wrong. Paleo doesn't oppose BF2 in any way. Thus, this is incorrect.

C. The first is an explanation challenged by the paleontologist; the second is an explanation proposed by the paleontologist. - Here, BF1 is not challenged by the Paleo; instead, BF1 is proposed by Paleo. So, Incorrect.

D. The first is a judgment advanced in support of a conclusion reached by the paleontologist; the second is that conclusion. - In our anlaysis we found that BF2 supports BF1 and this option says just the opposite. However, I would advise you to eliminate this option only after reading BF1 and BF2 again. But do eliminate this because BF1 is no way explain BF2. So, this is also incorrect.

E. The first is a generalization put forward by the paleontologist; the second presents certain exceptional cases in which that generalization does not hold. - BF2 doesn't present any exceptional circumstances. Therefore, this is also incorrect.

So, after going through the options, we find that option A is the correct choice.

Hope this helps

Let me know in case of further queries.

Thanks,
Chiranjeev
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24 Sep 2016, 03:20
Paleontologist: About 2.8 million years ago, many species that lived near the ocean floor suffered substantial population declines. These declines coincided with the onset of an ice age. The notion that cold killed those bottom-dwelling creatures outright is misguided, however; temperatures near the ocean floor would have changed very little. Nevertheless, the cold probably did cause the population declines, though indirectly. Many bottom-dwellers depended for food on plankton, small organisms that lived close to the surface and sank to the bottom when they died. 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.

Type - Boldface
Nevertheless, the cold probably did cause the population declines, though indirectly. - Main conclusion of the argument
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. - This statement supports the main conclusion

A. The first introduces the hypothesis proposed by the paleontologist; the second is a judgment offered in spelling out that hypothesis. Correct
B. The first introduces the hypothesis proposed by the paleontologist; the second is a position that the paleontologist opposes. Second boldface is incorrect - the paleontologist
does not oppose it
C. The first is an explanation challenged by the paleontologist; the second is an explanation proposed by the paleontologist. First is not challenged by paleontologist.
D. The first is a judgment advanced in support of a conclusion reached by the paleontologist; the second is that conclusion. This reverses the the relationship between the 2 boldfaces
E. The first is a generalization put forward by the paleontologist; the second presents certain exceptional cases in which that generalization does not hold.
Second boldface does not present any exceptional cases

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17 Dec 2016, 22:07
Quick A on this one. It perfectly describes the passage
Re: Paleontologist: About 2.8 million years ago, many species   [#permalink] 17 Dec 2016, 22:07
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