Recently discovered prehistoric rock paintings on small : GMAT Critical Reasoning (CR)
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# Recently discovered prehistoric rock paintings on small

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Recently discovered prehistoric rock paintings on small [#permalink]

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20 Jun 2010, 01:09
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Recently discovered prehistoric rock paintings on small islands off the northern coast of Norway have archaeologists puzzled. The predominant theory about northern cave paintings was that they were largely a description of the current diets of the painters. This theory cannot be right, because the painters must have needed to eat the sea animals populating the waters north of Norway if they were to make the long journey to and from the islands, and there are no paintings that unambiguously depict such creatures.

Each of the following, if true, weakens the argument against the predominant theory about northern cave paintings EXCEPT:

(A) Once on these islands, the cave painters hunted and ate land animals.
(B) Parts of the cave paintings on the islands did not survive the centuries.
(C) The cave paintings that were discovered on the islands depicted many land animals.
(D) Those who did the cave paintings that were discovered on the islands had unusually advanced techniques of preserving meats.
(E) The cave paintings on the islands were done by the original inhabitants of the islands who ate the meat of land animals.

The OA is very unexpected and unconvincing to me...
If you have any questions
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20 Jun 2010, 04:28
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20 Jun 2010, 04:35
for me its E.
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20 Jun 2010, 04:42
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20 Jun 2010, 04:43
According to me the answer should be C.

A - Not relevant to argument.
B - Out of scope.
C - This supports the argument made against the predominant theory.
D - irrelevant
E - not a supporting argument.

Please let us know the OA.
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20 Jun 2010, 05:02
The first 3 people chose wrong answers.
The OA is C.

vinay.kaipra: You got the right answer, but your reasoning doesn't seem right to me. The question asks to find answers to weaken the argument "EXCEPT", which means the right answer does not weaken the argument and the other 4 answers should weaken the argument. For this reason, I think "irrelevant" and "out of scope" can't be the reasoning in this question. 4 of them should weaken the argument in some way.

I'm still trying to convince myself why C is the answer....
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20 Jun 2010, 05:21
A - Not relevant to argument. ---> I don't agree with this explanation for A.

A is actually a contender for C.
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20 Jun 2010, 05:41
"A" weakens the argument because if the painters ate land animals, then the absence of pictures of sea animals shouldn’t be troubling.
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20 Jun 2010, 21:22
Hi,

The answer has to be C.

Explanation:

We have to find an answer choice which is going to strengthen an argument.

A) Once on these islands, the cave painters hunted and ate land animals.
-- This answer choice can strengthen an argument. However here the key word is once. Hence this answer choice may or may not strengthen the argument against the predominant theory.

(B) Parts of the cave paintings on the islands did not survive the centuries.
-- Irrelevant.

(C) The cave paintings that were discovered on the islands depicted many land animals.
-- This will definitely strengthen the argument done against the predominant theory. If the paintings depicted the land animals, author's argument is correct i.e. paintings are not truly depicting the diets of painters.

(D) Those who did the cave paintings that were discovered on the islands had unusually advanced techniques of preserving meats.
-- Irrelevant information.

(E) The cave paintings on the islands were done by the original inhabitants of the islands who ate the meat of land animals.
-- The premise mentions that the paintings were done by painters and not the inhabitants. We have to attack the conclusion of an argument and not the premise. Hence incorrect answer choice.

Thank You.

Thanks,
Akhil M.Parekh
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20 Jun 2010, 21:31
A and E are strengthening the predominant theory. In other words weakening the arg against the predominant theory.

predominant theory assumption - the cave paintings were of land animals that were eaten by the painters.

C does not say "ate". Where as A and E say "ate land animals" blowing away the second theory.

C is strengthening the second theory. In other words strengthening the arg against the predominant theory. And this is an EXCEPT question.
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21 Jun 2010, 07:49
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rockubabe wrote:
Recently discovered prehistoric rock paintings on small islands off the northern coast of Norway have archaeologists puzzled. The predominant theory about northern cave paintings was that they were largely a description of the current diets of the painters. This theory cannot be right, because the painters must have needed to eat the sea animals populating the waters north of Norway if they were to make the long journey to and from the islands, and there are no paintings that unambiguously depict such creatures.

Each of the following, if true, weakens the argument against the predominant theory about northern cave paintings EXCEPT:

(A) Once on these islands, the cave painters hunted and ate land animals.
(B) Parts of the cave paintings on the islands did not survive the centuries.
(C) The cave paintings that were discovered on the islands depicted many land animals.
(D) Those who did the cave paintings that were discovered on the islands had unusually advanced techniques of preserving meats.
(E) The cave paintings on the islands were done by the original inhabitants of the islands who ate the meat of land animals.

The OA is very unexpected and unconvincing to me...

Let's break this down into some simple steps:

1. Identify the question type: This is a strengthening question! ("all weaken EXCEPT"=strengthening)

This means that you want to identify the one sentence/concept that is the conclusion and select an answer that makes that one sentence more believable.

2. Identify the conclusion:
Conclusion= "The theory cannot be right." What theory? The theory that the paintings are of animals the inhabitants ate.

Let's restate the conclusion: It is NOT true that the paintings depict the food that the inhabitants ate.

3. What do we know for a fact (premises)? Look at the clause that opens with 'because': "because the painters must have needed to eat the sea animals populating the waters north of Norway..."
'Because' is a key word signaling a premise!

So in this problem, your answer should logically complete the following sentence.

The painters (who traveled the waters around the island) did NOT paint what they ate because...?

....because there were no sea animals in the paintings (C).

Best,
Sarai

Check out Lessons I and II in Critical Reasoning for important tips and key words for separating the conclusion from the premises and avoiding CR traps at gmaxonline!
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Email me at saraiyaseen@gmail.com

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21 Jun 2010, 09:08
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How does "D" weaken the argument?

And "Weaken, EXCEPT" doesn't necessarily mean the answer should "Strengthen". The right answer could not affect the argument at all.
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21 Jun 2010, 20:50
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The Answer is C. All other answer choices are weakening the argument.
Recently discovered prehistoric rock paintings on small islands off the northern coast of Norway have archaeologists puzzled. The predominant theory about northern cave paintings was that they were largely a description of the current diets of the painters. This theory cannot be right, because the painters must have needed to eat the sea animals populating the waters north of Norway if they were to make the long journey to and from the islands, and there are no paintings that unambiguously depict such creatures.

Each of the following, if true, weakens the argument against the predominant theory about northern cave paintings EXCEPT:
Here the argument against the predimant theory is "the painters must have needed to eat sea animals and no paintings unambiguously depict such animals "

(A) Once on these islands, the cave painters hunted and ate land animals.
This is telling, there was no need to eat see animals as there were land animals. So weakening the argument.

(B) Parts of the cave paintings on the islands did not survive the centuries.
parts of painting no more there. So those paintings might have depicted the see animals. . So weakening the argument.

(C) The cave paintings that were discovered on the islands depicted many land animals.
No reason this statement weakening the argument

(D) Those who did the cave paintings that were discovered on the islands had unusually advanced techniques of preserving meats.
They might have carried preserve meats and might not have used sea animals. Thats why sea animal's painting not there. So weakening the argument.

(E) The cave paintings on the islands were done by the original inhabitants of the islands who ate the meat of land animals.
This is altogether discarding the theory of sea animal's itself. So weakening the argument.
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Re: Recently discovered prehistoric rock paintings on small [#permalink]

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13 Oct 2016, 22:01
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Re: Recently discovered prehistoric rock paintings on small [#permalink]

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13 Oct 2016, 23:05
The answer is (C). Firstly note that in a weaken EXCEPT question, the correct answer either strengthens OR neither strengthens nor weakens the argument, i.e. it remains neutral. It is not necessarily true that the correct answer to a weaken EXCEPT question must strengthen. With this in mind, let us analyze and break down the argument:

P1: Cave paintings describe current diets of painters.
P2: Painters needed to eat sea animals populating waters north of Norway. This requires a long journey to and from the islands.
P3: However, no picture unambiguously depicts such creatures = some or many pictures depict such creatures(i.e. sea animals) ambiguously.
Conclusion: Therefore, the theory that cave paintings describe the diets of painters is false.

Assumption 1: Only food available are sea animals.
Assumption 2: The long journey to and from islands was so long that it would make it unfeasible for the hunters/painters to hunt sea animals.
Assumption 3: The paintings that were discovered is representative of all paintings found in the island, i.e. no painting was left undiscovered.

Now, on to the choices:
(A) Once on these islands, the cave painters hunted and ate land animals. This definitely weakens one of our assumptions.

(B) Parts of the cave paintings on the islands did not survive the centuries. This shows that the evidence provided might be limited or unrepresentative, and therefore weakens the
argument. Maybe they did paint sea animals, but those paintings have been lost.

(D) Those who did the cave paintings that were discovered on the islands had unusually advanced techniques of preserving meats. This weakens assumption 2, mentioned above.

(E) The cave paintings on the islands were done by the original inhabitants of the islands who ate the meat of land animals.
This directly weakens the premise that the paintings describe current diets.

Thus, by process of elimination, answer must be C. It is easier to prove why a choice weakens the argument rather than why a choice does not weaken an argument.

C) The cave paintings that were discovered on the islands depicted many land animals.

If you go by assumption 1, mentioned above, this choice is definitely a weakener and therefore could bait you into thinking that this is not the correct answer. However, unlike choice A, choice C says "depicted" land animals, not hunted and ate. They may not prefer land animals to sea animals because maybe they were more dangerous to hunt. They could have figured out a way to hunt sea animals and preserved it (choice D) so as to not make frequent long trips. For these reasons, Choice (C) can also strengthen the conclusion, i.e. that they did not eat land animals and therefore that paintings are not based on diet.

Thus choice (C) can either be a weakener or a strengthener. It has an uncertain bearing on the conclusion and is therefore the correct answer.
Re: Recently discovered prehistoric rock paintings on small   [#permalink] 13 Oct 2016, 23:05
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