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# According to scientists at the University of California, the

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According to scientists at the University of California, the [#permalink]

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23 Feb 2007, 16:12
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47.
According to scientists at the University of California, the pattern of changes that have occurred in human DNA over the millennia indicate the possibility that everyone alive today might be descended from a single female ancestor who lived in Africa sometime between 140,000 and 280,000 years ago.
(A) indicate the possibility that everyone alive today might be descended from a single female ancestor who
(B) indicate that everyone alive today might possibly be a descendant of a single female ancestor who had
(C) may indicate that everyone alive today has descended from a single female ancestor who had
(D) indicates that everyone alive today may be a descendant of a single female ancestor who
(E) indicates that everyone alive today might be a descendant from a single female ancestor who

narrowed down to D and E. Chose D just because.
Can someone please explain the difference between "may" and might?"
I believe "might" implies greater uncertainty than does "may."
If you have any questions
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23 Feb 2007, 17:27
may = smth. is possible,
might = less likely to happen. Might expressed a stronger doubt than may.

In this particular case I'd go with E, because this scientists' guess goes way too far in the past and is very unlikely to be proven.

But actually this one is really tough. My very average knowledge of natural sciences makes me think that chance of all this "we all came from the same ancestor in Africa" is very slight and very unlikely to be proven 100%, it's like guessing how old is our galaxy, or who killed dinosaurs. But biologist who worked with DNA for 25 years might think that these changes in human DNA is undisputable proof.

Still, I'm with E. If all this was about lets say, two parents over 50 having a baby and a possibility of having a baby with Down syndrome, or somebody being trialed for 1st degree murder in the state of Texas and possibility of being sentenced to death, I'd choose "may". But in this case I'm going with E
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23 Feb 2007, 17:33
It would have to be D. I dont believe picking the right answer here has anything to do with may and might. "descendant of" is idiomatic not "descendant from". We have ofcourse decided that A, B and C are out because of the subject verb agreement issue. pattern of changes is singular, hence we have to use "indicates"
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23 Feb 2007, 17:43
hsampath wrote:
It would have to be D. I dont believe picking the right answer here has anything to do with may and might. "descendant of" is idiomatic not "descendant from". We have ofcourse decided that A, B and C are out because of the subject verb agreement issue. pattern of changes is singular, hence we have to use "indicates"

wow, i didnt even notice the "of" and "from..."
I guess i need to slow down my pace while doing these SCs
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02 Mar 2007, 13:16
Why not C?

i) pattern... may indicate (no subject-verb disagreement)
ii) has descended from (no idiom-related error)
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02 Mar 2007, 13:38
By the way, in the title of this thread, what does the number 47 refer to?
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07 Mar 2007, 09:26
rakesh.id wrote:
Why not C?

i) pattern... may indicate (no subject-verb disagreement)
ii) has descended from (no idiom-related error)

It is not C, because we need Past Simple here, not Past Perfect.
who lived in Africa sometime between 140,000 and 280,000 [b]years ago.[/b], not had lived
I think so...
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07 Mar 2007, 10:42
(D)

pattern is singular so takes a singular vern "indicates". Narrows choice to either D or E

decendent of is correct usage. hence D
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07 Mar 2007, 15:49
1) "The pattern" matches with "indicates"
Narrowed down to (D) and (E)

2) Idiom "descendant of" is right

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02 Jul 2007, 08:26
47.
According to scientists at the University of California, the pattern of changes that have occurred in human DNA over the millennia indicate the possibility that everyone alive today might be descended from a single female ancestor who lived in Africa sometime between 140,000 and 280,000 years ago.

(A) indicate the possibility that everyone alive today might be descended from a single female ancestor who

(B) indicate that everyone alive today might possibly be a descendant of a single female ancestor who had

(C) may indicate that everyone alive today has descended from a single female ancestor who had

(D) indicates that everyone alive today may be a descendant of a single female ancestor who

(E) indicates that everyone alive today might be a descendant from a single female ancestor who

the pattern...indicates.
we are left with D and E.
idiom is descendant OF.
Therefore D.
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28 Aug 2007, 12:29
linau wrote:
may = smth. is possible,
might = less likely to happen. Might expressed a stronger doubt than may.

In this particular case I'd go with E, because this scientists' guess goes way too far in the past and is very unlikely to be proven.

But actually this one is really tough. My very average knowledge of natural sciences makes me think that chance of all this "we all came from the same ancestor in Africa" is very slight and very unlikely to be proven 100%, it's like guessing how old is our galaxy, or who killed dinosaurs. But biologist who worked with DNA for 25 years might think that these changes in human DNA is undisputable proof.

Still, I'm with E. If all this was about lets say, two parents over 50 having a baby and a possibility of having a baby with Down syndrome, or somebody being trialed for 1st degree murder in the state of Texas and possibility of being sentenced to death, I'd choose "may". But in this case I'm going with E

In GMATland, there is no difference between these two words.
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28 Aug 2007, 12:36
D is correct.
E- " descendant from" is incorrect.
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19 May 2008, 22:49
Caas wrote:
rakesh.id wrote:
Why not C?

i) pattern... may indicate (no subject-verb disagreement)
ii) has descended from (no idiom-related error)

It is not C, because we need Past Simple here, not Past Perfect.
who lived in Africa sometime between 140,000 and 280,000 [b]years ago.[/b], not had lived
I think so...

I don't agree. Infact, I think it should be past perfect as it is very clear that the woman used to live there, the action is complete. She does not live there anymore. She had lived there.
C is wrong because it changes the meaning of the sentence. The studies definitely indicate of a possibility. There is no question of "may" in that. The question is on the conclusion - it is probable/possible - it may be so. But the studies definitely indicate so.

Hope its clear.
Re:   [#permalink] 19 May 2008, 22:49
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