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# The recent discovery of fossils of giant plankton feeders

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The recent discovery of fossils of giant plankton feeders [#permalink]  07 Nov 2013, 13:15
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70% (02:08) correct 30% (01:21) wrong based on 159 sessions
The recent discovery of fossils of giant plankton feeders led scientists to believe that an era that had been dominated by Leedsichthys that have now evolved currently into basking sharks existed.

A. that had been dominated by Leedsichthys that have now evolved currently into basking sharks
B. dominated by Leedsichthys that have now evolved into basking sharks
C. had been dominated by Leedsichthys that are now evolved into basking sharks
D. that was dominated by Leedsichthys that presently are now evolved currently into basking sharks
E. dominated by Leedsichthys, evolving now into basking sharks

I picked a wrong answer, and I still don't know why it's a wrong one
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Last edited by Natics on 07 Nov 2013, 13:59, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The recent discovery of fossils of giant plankton feeders [#permalink]  07 Nov 2013, 13:53
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Expert's post
Natics wrote:
The recent discovery of fossils of giant plankton feeders let scientists to believe that an era that had been dominated by Leedsichthys that have now evolved currently into basking sharks existed.

A. that had been dominated by Leedsichthys that have now evolved currently into basking sharks
B. dominated by Leedsichthys that have now evolved into basking sharks
C. had been dominated by Leedsichthys that are now evolved into basking sharks
D. that was dominated by Leedsichthys that presently are now evolved currently into basking sharks
E. dominated by Leedsichthys, evolving now into basking sharks

Dear Natics,
I'm happy to help.

First of all, I think word is incorrect in the prompt -----
The recent discovery .... let scientists to believe that ....
Should this be:
The recent discovery .... led scientists to believe that ....
That would sound much better.

Split #1: redundancy. The combinations "now ... currently" and "presently ... now" are redundant. See:
http://gmat.magoosh.com/lessons/920-avoid-redundancy
Choices (A) & (D) are incorrect.

Split #2: The noun "era" has a verb "existed" at the end of the sentence. It doesn't need another verb. Choice (C) makes it also the subject of "had been dominated". A single noun can be the subject of two verbs if the verbs are joined by a conjunction, but we don't have a conjunction here. Choice (C) is incorrect.

These two splits leave (B) & (E). Choice (E) is a disaster. If a species already exists in the present time, then the evolution has already happened, so the construction "evolving now" makes no sense. Furthermore, (E) has two participial phrases one after the other, which seems to suggest that they both modify the same subject, "eras", but that wouldn't work for the second phrase. Choice (E) is extremely awkward and not correct.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: The recent discovery of fossils of giant plankton feeders [#permalink]  07 Nov 2013, 14:04
Hello Mike.

Thanks for your explanation. Now I see that E is really very awkward

mikemcgarry wrote:
First of all, I think word is incorrect in the prompt -----

Thanks, I just corrected that word. It must be a typo.
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Re: The recent discovery of fossils of giant plankton feeders [#permalink]  08 Nov 2013, 06:21
Dear Mike ,

I have little confusion with your explanation ...

EXISTED - is acting as verb or ed modifier...

If we can break this sentence into different clauses ---

1) The recent discovery of fossils of giant plankton feeders let scientists to believe that an era --- S/v aggrement perfect
2) that had been dominated by Leedsichthys (Subject - era , Verb - Dominated) - S/V issue ---> era dominated by leedsi..

3) that have now evolved currently into basking sharks existed (Sub - Era , verb -- ??)

Please clarify doubt ..I have issues with SC ...

Thanks
Archit
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Re: The recent discovery of fossils of giant plankton feeders [#permalink]  08 Nov 2013, 10:14
Expert's post
archit wrote:
Dear Mike ,

I have little confusion with your explanation ...

EXISTED - is acting as verb or ed modifier...

If we can break this sentence into different clauses ---

1) The recent discovery of fossils of giant plankton feeders let scientists to believe that an era --- S/v aggrement perfect
2) that had been dominated by Leedsichthys (Subject - era , Verb - Dominated) - S/V issue ---> era dominated by leedsi..
3) that have now evolved currently into basking sharks existed (Sub - Era , verb -- ??)

Please clarify doubt ..I have issues with SC ...
Thanks, Archit

Dear archit,
I'm happy to help.

First of all, an important grammar distinction. Some verbs are transitive --- they naturally take a direct object: e.g. write, buy, sell, own, create, destroy, etc. If I say, "I buy ..." , then the reader is expecting: he buys what? Transitive verbs demand a direct object.

By contrast, intransitive verbs are verbs that do not take a direct object: eg. exist, walk, breath, elapse, sleep, etc. I can say, "I exist", but it doesn't make any sense for me to say "I exist something."

This distinction is made more complicated by the fact that many English verbs can be either transitive or intransitive: sing, eat, drink, etc. I can say simply, "She likes to sing" or "She likes to sing songs by Schubert." The verb is natural in either case.

Now, participles. The present participle, the -ing participle, is an active participle. If I say
... the man buying eggs ...
... the man sleeping ....
... the man drinking ....

then, in each case, the "man" is the "subject", the actor, the person performing the action of the verb in the participle. All verbs, transitive and intransitive, have active participles.

The past participle, the -ed participle for regular verbs, is a passive participle. If I say:
... the cake bought on Tuesday ...
... the cake created by the chef ...
... the cake eaten at lunch ....

then in each case, the "cake" is the "object", the receiver of the action, the thing to which the action of the verb happens. A verb can only have a passive participle if it has passive form. A verb can only have a passive form if it can take a direct object --- that is to say, if it is transitive, at least on some occasions. Verbs that are completely intransitive have no passive form and no passive participle.

The verb "to exist" is an intransitive verb. It never takes a direct object. We can use the present participle ("existing") as a modifier, but this verb has no passive form at all. Just as it makes no sense to say:
I existed X
it also makes no sense to say
X was existed by me.
The verb has no sensible passive form. Therefore, it has no past participle modifier. The form "existed" is the past tense form of the verb, but this NEVER can act as a participle, as a noun modifier.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: The recent discovery of fossils of giant plankton feeders [#permalink]  17 Feb 2014, 21:46
Hi-EGMAT,

i am facing difficulty in understanding this statement particulary " that have now evolved into basking sharks ".

Could you please tell me what have now evolved ? and what is evolved into basking sharks means in this context of the sentence.

Me confuse.

Thanks
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Re: The recent discovery of fossils of giant plankton feeders [#permalink]  17 Feb 2014, 22:38
Hi,

Please somebody correct me if i am wrong.

In this question the subject is "THE ERA" right?

I also feel that the sentence " that an era that had been dominated by Leedsichthys that have now evolved currently into basking sharks"
in this the discussion is about "Leedsichthys" "that have now evolved" have is for plural so b is correct?
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Re: The recent discovery of fossils of giant plankton feeders [#permalink]  18 Feb 2014, 10:22
Expert's post
arp3it wrote:
Hi,
Please somebody correct me if i am wrong.

In this question the subject is "THE ERA" right?

I also feel that the sentence " that an era that had been dominated by Leedsichthys that have now evolved currently into basking sharks"
in this the discussion is about "Leedsichthys" "that have now evolved" have is for plural so b is correct?

Dear arp3it,
I'm happy to respond.

First of all, the "recent discovery" is the subject of the main independent clause of the sentence. The independent clause is:
The recent discovery of fossils of giant plankton feeders led scientists to believe

The verb "believe" is a verb that takes a "that"-clause. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-idiom ... t-clauses/
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-idiom ... ieve-that/
The subject of the first "that" clause is "an era" and the verb is "existed."

Those of us who are not experts in the study of Leedsichthys may not know whether to treat that word as singular or plural, but all five answer choices treat it as plural, so we don't have to worry about it. That is not the basis of deciding among answer choices, because all five answer choices go the same way.

The OA nests one "that" clause inside another, and the prompt choice, (A), has a triple-decker layering of "that" clauses.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: The recent discovery of fossils of giant plankton feeders [#permalink]  18 Feb 2014, 10:35
Expert's post
Nitinaka19 wrote:
Hi-EGMAT,

i am facing difficulty in understanding this statement particulary " that have now evolved into basking sharks ".

Could you please tell me what have now evolved ? and what is evolved into basking sharks means in this context of the sentence.

Me confuse.

Thanks

Dear Nitinaka19,
I didn't see an EGMAT post in this thread, so I will respond to this question.

The phrase in the OA is:
...by Leedsichthys that have now evolved into basking sharks ...
The clause "that have now evolved into basking sharks" is a adjectival phrase, that is, a noun-modifier. As is the general rule, the modifier "touches" the noun it modifies --- it modifies the noun "Leedsichthys." For more on the Modifier Touch Rule, see:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/modifiers- ... orrection/
One of the tricky aspects of this sentence is its use of difficult scientific vocabulary. Very few GMAT test-takers are going to know what "Leedsichthys" are! What can we infer? We know the scientists were studying "giant plankton feeders," so this entire sentence is about stuff in the ocean. Apparently the "Leedsichthys" are some old extinct fish-things. That's all you need to infer from the sentence. These old extinct fish-things, the "Leedsichthys", "evolved into basking sharks." BTW, the GMAT loves to give SC questions about difficult scientific or historical topics with unfamiliar vocabulary. Don't be intimidated!

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: The recent discovery of fossils of giant plankton feeders [#permalink]  08 Mar 2014, 07:10
mikemcgarry wrote:
Natics wrote:
The recent discovery of fossils of giant plankton feeders let scientists to believe that an era that had been dominated by Leedsichthys that have now evolved currently into basking sharks existed.

A. that had been dominated by Leedsichthys that have now evolved currently into basking sharks
B. dominated by Leedsichthys that have now evolved into basking sharks
C. had been dominated by Leedsichthys that are now evolved into basking sharks
D. that was dominated by Leedsichthys that presently are now evolved currently into basking sharks
E. dominated by Leedsichthys, evolving now into basking sharks

Dear Natics,
I'm happy to help.

First of all, I think word is incorrect in the prompt -----
The recent discovery .... let scientists to believe that ....
Should this be:
The recent discovery .... led scientists to believe that ....
That would sound much better.

Split #1: redundancy. The combinations "now ... currently" and "presently ... now" are redundant. See:
http://gmat.magoosh.com/lessons/920-avoid-redundancy
Choices (A) & (D) are incorrect.

Split #2: The noun "era" has a verb "existed" at the end of the sentence. It doesn't need another verb. Choice (C) makes it also the subject of "had been dominated". A single noun can be the subject of two verbs if the verbs are joined by a conjunction, but we don't have a conjunction here. Choice (C) is incorrect.

These two splits leave (B) & (E). Choice (E) is a disaster. If a species already exists in the present time, then the evolution has already happened, so the construction "evolving now" makes no sense. Furthermore, (E) has two participial phrases one after the other, which seems to suggest that they both modify the same subject, "eras", but that wouldn't work for the second phrase. Choice (E) is extremely awkward and not correct.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Hey Mike

your explanations are great and to th epoint.I joined Magoosh beacuse of you.You are great Mike.....
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Re: The recent discovery of fossils of giant plankton feeders [#permalink]  11 Mar 2014, 07:44
Hi Mike ,

Thanks for your attention and provide me the solution, actually saying "Leedsichthys have now evolved into basking sharks " it means what? evolved means convert or developed ...???

Thanks

Nitin
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Re: The recent discovery of fossils of giant plankton feeders [#permalink]  11 Mar 2014, 10:34
Expert's post
Nitinaka19 wrote:
Hi Mike ,

Thanks for your attention and provide me the solution, actually saying "Leedsichthys have now evolved into basking sharks " it means what? evolved means convert or developed ...???

Thanks

Nitin

Dear Nitin,

Your question here goes a little beyond what you need to know for the GMAT, but that's OK. Presumably, what they means by "evolved" is evolution by natural selection. In other words, when paleontologists looked a long time ago (a few hundred million years ago, say), they see many Leedsichthys fossils. The paleontologists see the Leedsichthys fossils for a certain stretch in the fossil record, and then at some point (say, 50 million years ago), they start seeing fossils of something that are only partially like the Leedsichthys. Then, slightly later (say, 40 million years ago), they see something that looks half like a Leedsichthys and half like a basking shark. A little later, they see fossils that look almost entirely like basking sharks. At a certain point in the fossil record, the transitionary fossils disappear, and paleontologists see only remains of the same basking sharks we have today. This is a fantastically long and gradual process.

In a way, we could say that the Leedsichthys, over the course of millions of years, "developed" or "converted" into a basking sharks, but both of those are metaphorical expressions, whereas "evolved" has a sophisticated technical meaning that is precisely correct in this context. Furthermore, these changes do not occur to individual animals: the process is only evident over the course of millions of years.

If evolution by natural selection is something relatively unfamiliar to you, it would be worthwhile to read up a little on it --- perhaps, say, the Wikipedia article about it. It's just good background to have.

Mike
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Re: The recent discovery of fossils of giant plankton feeders   [#permalink] 11 Mar 2014, 10:34
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