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Limiting to Kyro’s question, why -based on.... - is incorrect here: This is a classic case of dangling modifier, wherein, if we were to find out who or what was based on several manuscripts, we do not have the answer threw. The historians were not for sure based on manuscripts. In order to make the sentences sensible we have to re-word it as - using several …, the historians ….. . Now for the question, which used the manuscripts, you get the right answer, i.e. the historians.
The OA might as well be Ok, unless something better is among the other three choices.
“Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher” – a Japanese proverb. 9884544509
"Using several manuscripts that date back to the middle ages" ..... modifies historians. The historians used several manuscripts. -ing is a present participle. The term before the comma is suppose to modify the noun HISTORIANS. Remember the touch rule - A noun modifier needs to touch the noun it modifies (unlike a verb modifier).
You must never ever question GMAT OA, becasue they are always correct.
"Based on several manuscripts that date back to the middle ages, historians believe that Charlemagne first rose to power as a mere teenager." - historians are not based on manuscripts- it is nonsence , Ex: his conslusion bases on correct premises and facts - is correct usage.
The official answer is, "Using several manuscripts that date back to the middle ages,historians believe that Charlemagne first rose to power as a mere teenager." - historians used several manuscripts. -correct