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By identifying stable isotopes of carbon-12 in human tissue, scientist

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By identifying stable isotopes of carbon-12 in human tissue, scientist  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Aug 2015, 07:11
By identifying stable isotopes of carbon-12 in human tissue, scientists have been able to prove that 25% of all carbon molecules consumed by Americans originate in corn. One of the most ubiquitous substances in the North American diet, corn has seemingly innumerable, multifarious uses. Each corn kernel’s endosperm contains a preponderance of starch, a substance made of glucose molecules connected by glycosidic bonds which create long and complex chains of carbohydrate molecules that scientists have learned to separate and rearrange to form crucial raw materials for food and other industries. In the form of cattle feed, corn provides the key ingredient in the production of cheap meat, the basis of the contemporary American diet, while high fructose corn syrup is the major component of carbonated beverages so popular in the West. It could be argued that the current American way of life is not imaginable without the abundant supply of this staple crop. Therefore, given the multitude of corn’s benefits unlocked by modern technology, it is ironic that an earlier culture equally dependent on it for sustenance might have been severely hampered by its limitations.

According to most scientists, corn is a mutated descendent of teosinte, a wild grass native to Central America. The ears of the teosinte plant were not large, encased the seeds in a hard envelope and contained much less seed than comparable grains, making them unappealing to primitive humans. However, several thousand years ago, an evolutionary jump redesigned the teosinte. The tassel, the male inflorescence at the end of a primary lateral branch of the plant, underwent a feminization which monopolized the resources of the lateral branch, creating larger ears with a corresponding number of seeds with higher nutritional content.

This evolutionary path is, according to anthropologist Jared Diamond, a key to the condition of pre-Columbian American societies. While Eurasian societies had an abundance of wild grains available for cultivation and, therefore, moved to agriculture tens of thousands of years ago, a time period which allowed for the creation of large populations and, eventually, a market for advanced technologies, pre-Columbian Americans had no enticement to form agricultural societies. They made this move relatively late and therefore had no time to create societies as large and complex as the Europeans, a fact that led to their defeat when the latter arrived in Central America.

Diamond’s argument is not only innovative and parsimonious but relies on a seemingly unassailable basis of our knowledge of the evolutionary biology of corn. However, historical considerations make one reluctant to accept the veracity of Diamond’s elegant argumentation. Whenever they started to grow, as we now know, Central American societies achieved significant demographic growth and technological progress and were able to mobilize significant resources for the conduct of war. Therefore, one must seek the roots of their defeat not in their dependence on corn but in factors such as epidemics launched by European arrival and the political dissensions in their midst.


One purpose of the second paragraph is to

A. compare the uses and effects of a plant on a culture to the uses and effects, described in the first paragraph, of that plants' descendent on another culture
B. put forth a scientific fact which clarifies a statement made in the first paragraph and whose possible historical significance is presented in the third paragraph
C. explain a statement made in the first paragraph whose possible implications are detailed in the third paragraph
D. describe a scientific process whose possible implications, according to one scholar, are detailed in the third paragraph and fourth paragraphs
E. provide scientific background information that explains the topic which the author is most concerned with in the first paragraph

Help Please!

Answer Choice B. What is the difference between B and C! I don't get it!


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Re: By identifying stable isotopes of carbon-12 in human tissue, scientist  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Aug 2015, 09:43
'B' says historical significance is discussed in the 3rd para - which is true.

'C' says possible implications are discussed in the 3rd para - Not true!
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Re: By identifying stable isotopes of carbon-12 in human tissue, scientist  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jul 2018, 03:21
I argue for Option C . Option B says that second paragraph puts forth a fact . But it is not just mentioning a fact , it is actually explaining .
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Re: By identifying stable isotopes of carbon-12 in human tissue, scientist  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Oct 2018, 20:51
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Re: By identifying stable isotopes of carbon-12 in human tissue, scientist &nbs [#permalink] 30 Oct 2018, 20:51
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By identifying stable isotopes of carbon-12 in human tissue, scientist

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