The folktale that claims that a rattlesnake's age can be determined from the number of sections in its rattle is false, but only because the rattles are brittle and sometimes partially or completely break off. So if they were not so brittle, one could reliably determine a rattlesnake's age simply from the number of sections in its rattle, because one new section is formed each time a rattlesnake molts.
Which one of the following is an assumption the argument requires in order for its conclusion to properly drawn?
A) Rattlesnakes molt exactly once a year
B) The rattles of rattlesnakes of different species are identical in appearance.
C) Rattlesnakes molt more frequently when young than when old
D) The brittleness of a rattlesnake's rattle is not correlated with the length of the rattlesnake's life
E) Rattlesnakes molt as often when food is scare as they do when food is plentiful
Ill take a stab at explaining the answer:
If the snake's rattle was not so brittle, then one can deterimine the snakes age from the number of sections
because the one new section is formed each time a snake molts.
A-too extreme "exactly". Lets say that all rattlesnakes molt once every two years, then the argument is still intact. You can still determine its age from the number of rattles.
B-The argument has nothing to do with appearance. they could be ugly, tall or fat but you can still detrimine its age from the number of rattles
C-Lets say all rattlesnakes molt more frequently when old than young. Here is an example, average age of a rattlesnake is 8 years. Lets say they all molt twice a year when young and 6 times a year when old. Still, the agrument is intact. You can still determine its age from the number of rattles.
D-I think "brittleness" is out of scope here because the argument already saying that "if brittlenss was not a factor, then you can determine the number of rattles"
E-Here, If snakes do not add on new sections to its rattle when they eat as when they dont eat, then the argument falls apart. Ex. average age of rattlesnakes is 8 years, you dont know when food is scarce and when food is not scarce. If they molt 2 times when food is not scarce vs. 1 times when food is scare, then you will not be able to tell how old the snake actually is.