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# At the Cosquer Cave in France, deep sea divers discovered charcoal pri

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At the Cosquer Cave in France, deep sea divers discovered charcoal pri  [#permalink]

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26 Oct 2019, 09:02
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72% (02:21) correct 28% (02:41) wrong based on 202 sessions

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At the Cosquer Cave in France, deep sea divers discovered charcoal prints in the shape of hand stencils, thought to be at least 10,000 years old, on the walls of the undersea cave. Analysis of the prints, which appear in a number of different sizes, showed that they had been made with high-pressure charcoal no denser than that comprising the dense walls of the cave itself. However, scientists were unable to replicate the charcoal prints on the walls of the Cosquer Cave, because small pieces of charcoal from the cave walls do not maintain their consistency underwater and the prints were immediately washed away.

Which of the following, if true, would, taken together with the information above, provide the best basis for the claim that the prints were in fact charcoal handprints made by people during the Upper Paleolithic era, which ended 10,000 years ago?

A. Certain kinds of low-density charcoal cannot maintain their consistency when submerged entirely in water.

B. There is reliable archaeological evidence from other caves confirming that the people of the Neolithic era made charcoal prints using hand stencils as many as 8,500 years ago.

C. Many of the prints found on the cave wall are larger than the average hands of modern people, while the people of the Upper Paleolithic era are known to have been smaller than people living today.

D. The inner walls of the Cosquer Cave are covered with charcoal prints, while the outer walls closest to the water's surface are completely unmarked.

E. Glaciation records show that the Cosquer Cave was above water until the end of the last ice age, 9,600 years ago.

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Re: At the Cosquer Cave in France, deep sea divers discovered charcoal pri  [#permalink]

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25 Nov 2019, 10:58
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“...divers discovered charcoal prints [...] on the walls of [an] undersea cave...”

“...analysis of the prints [...] showed that they had been made with high-pressure charcoal ...”

“...however, scientists were unable to replicate the charcoal prints on the walls of the Cosquer Cave, because small pieces of charcoal from the cave walls do not maintain their consistency underwater and the prints were immediately washed away.

Given that prints are impossible to make underwater, it seems logical that the prints were made before there was water in the cave.

E clearly addresses the issue that prints could not be replicated underwater.

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Re: At the Cosquer Cave in France, deep sea divers discovered charcoal pri  [#permalink]

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16 Dec 2019, 05:09
Official Explanation

We are told that ancient prints on the wall of an undersea cave may be handprints. The charcoal that made the prints has a density similar to that of the cave walls, but attempts to replicate the prints did not work, because small pieces of charcoal fall apart and the prints were washed away.

We are asked to find evidence that supports the claim that the prints were indeed ancient handprints. Keep in mind that the correct answer does not need to prove the thesis provided in the question stem, but only to support it.

Choice E is correct. This choice states that the Cosquer Cave was above water until 9,600 years ago. If this were true, then the handprints, if they were indeed 10,000 years old or older, would have made when the cave was not underwater. This could explain why, although modern attempts to recreate the charcoal prints are ruined by water, the prints could have been made effectively when the cave was dry. This choice undermines the results of the scientists' experiment and strengthens the argument.

Choice A states that some charcoal cannot maintain its consistency when submerged in water. We do not know whether "low-density" charcoal plays any role in this situation at all- the charcoal is as dense as the cave walls, which are said to be dense. Even if the charcoal used in the caves were low-density, this choice would only repeat information from the passage; we already know that charcoal can lose its consistency, because the scientists noticed this in their attempts to recreate the prints.

Choice B states that there were indeed ancient people who made hand stencil prints in caves using charcoal. However, these people lived at a later time than did the people of the Upper Paleolithic era, so the evidence in this choice cannot be retrofitted to support the fact that the people of an earlier era performed the same behaviors.

Choice C implies that the prints on the wall are too large to be handprints made in the Upper Paleolithic era, because they are too large. This weakens the claim made in the passage stem, rather than strengthening it, and cannot be correct.

Choice D states that some cave walls are marked and others are unmarked. While this is an interesting fact, there is no clear connection between this choice and the claim in the passage. Because the entire cave is underwater, there is no reason to believe that any one cave wall is different than any other, and this choice cannot strengthen the claim that the prints are ancient handprints.

Hope it helps
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Re: At the Cosquer Cave in France, deep sea divers discovered charcoal pri   [#permalink] 16 Dec 2019, 05:09
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