For years, scholars studying the earliest Mesoamerican : GMAT Critical Reasoning (CR)
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# For years, scholars studying the earliest Mesoamerican

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For years, scholars studying the earliest Mesoamerican [#permalink]

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07 May 2005, 19:19
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For years, scholars studying the earliest Mesoamerican writings operated under the assumption that the most ancient form of these writings is the script known as La Mojarra. This script was discovered on several ancient artifacts, the most famous is La Mojarra Stela, a tablet which dates from approximately 150 A.D. However, after the excavation of the Zapotec monuments in the valleys of Oaxaca in 1992, the oldest Mesoamerican writing is now believed to be that of the Zapotecs, who it has been determined were using a system of hieroglyphs and a bar and dot system of numerals as early as 600 B.C. to document the reigns of their kings.

Which of the following discoveries, if true, most substantially weakens the conclusion above?

(A) Writing tablets from the Mayan empire near Oaxaca are discovered which document preliminary building plans for a tomb containing bodily remains and date back to 800 B.C.
(B) The inscription on a cracked tablet, in a previously unidentified script, is discovered to describe events that pre-date the founding of the Zapotec Civilization.
(C) The religious icons worshipped by the Zapotec are discovered to share mythological origins with deities described in La Mojarra Stela.
(D) Subsequent analyses of the glyphs on La Mojarra Stela show that they are most likely derivations of those inscribed on the Zapotec Monuments.
(E) The violence that typically accompanied regime changes in the Zapotec empire led to the destruction of many artifacts including tablets and decorative carvings.
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09 May 2005, 06:54
(B) could mean that the Mesoamerican writing started even before Zapotec civilization.
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09 May 2005, 08:36
GO with "A"

A) Writing tablets from the Mayan empire near Oaxaca are discovered which document preliminary building plans for a tomb containing bodily remains and date back to 800 B.C.

So some other civilization existed before Zapotec.

(B) The inscription on a cracked tablet, in a previously unidentified script, is discovered to describe events that pre-date the founding of the Zapotec Civilization.

This strengthens not weaken the arg.
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09 May 2005, 09:21
I will go with A

GMATT73, What is the source of this question, I hope I don't get hit with something like this at the fag end of my verbal section.
Had to refer to dictionary for 'Mesoamerican' - it includes Mayan civilization.

B states 2 things about the inscription
1. unidentified script
2. describes events that pre-date the founding of the Zapotec Civilization

Just because it is unidentified we cannot say that it predates the Zapotecs script.
Describing an event will occur only after it takes place so we are not sure if the description had taken place before the Zapotec Civilization or after, so IMO B can be eliminated.
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10 May 2005, 06:36
OA is A.

OE:

Explanation:
Weaken Question
Task: Find the assumptions in order to attack/undermine one of them.

Read the Argument and Extract Necessary Information:

The argument states that based on the discovery of this new writing system (bar and dot) that is older than the La Mojarra that the new system is the oldest system. This makes the assumption that there is no system older than both.

Formulate an Answer to the Question
Weaken by showing that there could be a system older than both the systems mentioned in the argument.
(A) Keep. Since 800 BC is before 600 BC this points to a system that is older than La Mojarra and the dot system.

(B) Irrelevant. This does not attack the assumptions since it address the date of the events described rather than the date the tablet was written. The tablet could have been written much later than the events it describes.

(C) Irrelevant. This does not address any of the assumptions.

(D) Strengthens This introduces that the La Mojara script was developed from the Zapotecs writing system which would support that the Zapotec script was earlier.

(E) Irrelevant This choice does not directly say whether violence destroyed the writing, and without that information it does not attack the assumptions. Additionally the use of typically and many make the answer very uncertain about the effects which again reduces the ability of this choice to weaken clearly
10 May 2005, 06:36
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