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Either food scarcity or excessive hunting can threaten a population of

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Re: Either food scarcity or excessive hunting can threaten a population of  [#permalink]

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New post 31 May 2018, 21:28
Question Stem:-
Either food scarcity (hereafter FS) or excessive hunting (hereafter EH) can threaten a population of animals.
FS, individuals reach reproductive maturity later than otherwise.
EH, individuals that reach reproductive maturity earlier will come to predominate.

Required:- whether prehistoric mastodons became extinct because of food scarcity or human hunting

Correct answer choice should identify whether reproductive maturity was sooner or later from analysis of fossilized fuels. Answer choice B does that perfectly:-

(B) the average age at which mastodons from a given period reach reproductive maturity can be established from their fossilized remains
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Re: Either food scarcity or excessive hunting can threaten a population of  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jun 2018, 06:31
Premise:
-Food scarcity or excessive hunting can threaten a population of animals
-Food scarcity: individuals will reach reproductive maturity LATER than OTHERWISE
-Excessive Hunting: individuals who reach reproductive maturity EARLIER will come to predominate.

Conclusion:
-It should be possible to determine whether mastodons became extinct because of FOOD SCARCITY OR HUMAN HUNTING, since there are fossil remains from before and after mastodon populations declined and ______

Pre-thinking:
There appear to be 2 causes that can impact reproductive maturity (food scarcity - leads to LATER maturity; excessive hunting - leads to EARLIER maturity). But earlier or later THAN WHAT? The prompt doesn't establish what the "normal" time is. The prompt concludes that there should be a way to figure out whether mastodons were victims of food scarcity or human hunting though, so I'd be looking for an answer that establishes the "normal" age of maturity of the mastodon. That way, having the fossils will allow us to figure out if they matured earlier or later than normal.
(B) the average age at which mastodons from a given period reach reproductive maturity can be established from their fossilized remains ---- this option is on same lines. Correct response.

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Re: Either food scarcity or excessive hunting can threaten a population of &nbs [#permalink] 20 Jun 2018, 06:31

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