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Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated

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Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 10 Sep 2018, 02:39
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Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles islands.


A. sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of

B. sloth, that they found in Puerto Rico in 1991, has been dated at 34 million years old, thus making it the earliest mammal known on

C. sloth that was found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, making this the earliest known mammal of

D. sloth, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, have been dated at 34 million years old, making the sloth the earliest known mammal on

E. sloth which, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, made the sloth the earliest known mammal of


Verbal Question of The Day: Day 146: Sentence Correction


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https://www.nytimes.com/1996/04/16/science/mammal-bones-found-in-amber-for-first-time.html

Fossils of the arm of a sloth, found in Puerto Rico five years ago, have been dated at 34 million years old, making it the earliest known mammal on the islands and presumably an inhabitant at the time of the hypothesized separation, Dr. MacPhee said. The age of the amber-preserved mammal, though not precise, could be further evidence of when these migrations occurred, particularly of when they might have ended.

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Originally posted by nakib77 on 10 Oct 2005, 12:53.
Last edited by Bunuel on 10 Sep 2018, 02:39, edited 6 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: QOTD: Fossils of the arm  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Oct 2017, 00:23
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I’ve always had a soft spot for this question, just because it has such a wide variety of issues and errors. It also has an interesting little verb tense thing that really doesn’t matter at all: you could easily fixate on the difference between "was dated" (past tense) and "has/have been dated" (present perfect tense), but you don't have to choose between them at all. There are plenty of other issues to worry about instead.

Quote:
(A) sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of

The “it” (which presumably refers back to the sloth) is the first thing that jumps out at me. “Fossils of the arm of a sloth… made [the sloth] the earliest known mammal…” Huh? That makes no sense. How the heck would the fossils of a sloth make the sloth the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles?

The much smaller issue is that I see no real need for that first comma, but that’s unlikely to ever be a deciding factor on a GMAT question. But the nonsensical main clause is enough to wipe out (A).

Quote:
(B) sloth, that they found in Puerto Rico in 1991, has been dated at 34 million years old, thus making it the earliest mammal known on

This time, the pronoun “they” is the first thing that catches my eye. Who the heck is “they”? The fossils?

Plus, we have a subject-verb problem: “fossils… has been dated” is spectacularly wrong. (B) is gone.

Quote:
(C) sloth that was found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, making this the earliest known mammal of

Subject-verb fail again: “fossils… was dated.” Nope.

But there’s more: the phrase “that was found in Puerto Rico in 1991” seems to modify the sloth itself, and that makes no sense. Unless you think that the sloth had actually been alive for 34 million years. Maybe moving really slowly helps you live longer?

Finally, the word “this” is used as a singular pronoun, and that’s an unacceptable use of the word “this” on the GMAT. I’ve only ever seen “this” used as an article on the GMAT (“this week” or “this magnificent GMAT forum”), but never as a pronoun.

So we have lots of good reasons to eliminate (C).

Quote:
(D) sloth, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, have been dated at 34 million years old, making the sloth the earliest known mammal on

This one looks pretty good. The subject-verb agreement works: “fossils… have been dated at 34 million years old…” Cool. The modifier “found in Puerto Rico in 1991” is nicely set apart with commas, so it seems to refer to the entire phrase “fossils of the arm of a sloth”, and not just the sloth itself, as we saw in (C).

And the last part of the underlined portion (“making the sloth the earliest known mammal…”) actually names the sloth instead of using a pronoun, and that adds a bit of extra clarity. It might not be strictly necessary, but it’s nice. We can keep (D).


Quote:
(E) sloth which, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, made the sloth the earliest known mammal of

Thanks to the modifier “which”, which typically modifies the immediately preceding noun, it really sounds like the sloth itself was found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and that makes no sense. (I also can’t make much sense of the comma placement in that part of the sentence, but again, comma placement isn’t really a major emphasis on GMAT SC.)

We also have the same problem that we had in (A): “fossils… made the sloth the earliest known mammal…” That’s nonsense, too.

So we can ditch (E), and (D) is our answer.
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Re: Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Oct 2005, 17:45
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nakib77 wrote:
Q28:
Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles islands.
A. sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of
B. sloth, that they found in Puerto Rico in 1991, has been dated at 34 million years old, thus making it the earliest mammal known on
C. sloth that was found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, making this the earliest known mammal of
D. sloth, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, have been dated at 34 million years old, making the sloth the earliest known mammal on
E. sloth which, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, made the sloth the earliest known mammal of


B,C,E out due to the S-V disagreement: fossils is a plural noun, thus it must be followed by a plural verb.
A is out with the wrong tense of "dated" ( it should be present perfect as the fact continues to the present.) . Besides, the use of "of" is wrong, "the earliest known mammal" must be the earliest of the same kind of thing, "islands" is not the same kind to " mammal".

D it is!
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Re: Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Oct 2005, 19:46
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A. 'and dated at 34 million years old' is wrong. it suggests the actin of dating it is simultaneous with the act of discovering it

B. - 'they' has no clear referent

C. - 'of the island' is not idiomatic

D. sloth, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, have been dated at 34 million years old, making the sloth the earliest known mammal on

E. - awkward sentence

D is the best choice.
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Re: Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Mar 2011, 11:16
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Let us first clear up a few things. This is not a test of the usage of ‘which’ or ‘that’. GMAT doesn’t test that aspect any more as it would not like to indulge in this controversial usage.

This is a clearly test of SV agreement, tense and idiom. What is the verb and what is its subject? Made is the verb and what made it the earliest mammals? The fossils made it (it stands for the sloth) because only fossils are dated and not any other thing. So the subject is the plural fossils and let us find the matching verb with a proper number and tense.


A. Sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of …. ‘Made it’ is wrong tense to use for something that was initiated in the past, and which remains even today so. The right tense should be the present perfect ‘have made’. Mammals of is unidiomatic


B. sloth that they found in Puerto Rico in 1991, has been dated at 34 million years old, thus making it the earliest mammal known on … Fossils …. Has been dated – S-V mis - match.

C. sloth that was found in Puerto Rico in 1991 was dated at 34 million years old, making this the earliest known mammal of …… Fossils … was dated –S-V mis-match and use of past tense which is wrong.

D. sloth, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, have been dated at 34 million years old, making the sloth the earliest known mammal on……. Correct number agreement, proper tense usage and right idiom – the perfect choice

E. sloth which, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, made the sloth the earliest known mammal of….. Fossils was dated SV mis - match , wrong tense and wrong idiom
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Re: Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jun 2011, 07:01
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Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years
old, made it the earliest known mammal of
the Greater Antilles islands.

A. sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of
Do not use a comma before "AND" to separate two verbs that have same subject. Either eliminate the comma or add subject to the second verb, ( fossils were dated) creating a second main clause. Here subject is Fossils and two verbs are found and dated.

B. sloth, that they found in Puerto Rico in 1991, has been dated at 34 million years old, thus making it the earliest mammal known on
Fossils of the arm of sloth-->plural. "has been dated at 34 million years old"-->singular. Eliminate

C. sloth that was found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, making this the earliest known mammal of
Fossils of the arm of sloth-->plural. "was dated at 34 million years old"-->singular. Eliminate

D. sloth, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, have been dated at 34 million years old, making the sloth the earliest known mammal on
Fossils of the arm of sloth-->plural. "have been dated at 34 million years old"-->plural. Correct

E. sloth which, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, made the sloth the earliest known mammal of
, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, --> non-essential modifier whereas essential modifier is required.
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Re: Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Sep 2013, 21:03
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This is OG13 Q81

Fossils is Plural, hence B C and E can be eliminated immediately subject verb agreement issue.

D seems to be correct, But can some faculty give in depth explanation WHY A is wrong D is correct.
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Re: Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Sep 2013, 23:13
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honchos wrote:
This is OG13 Q81

Fossils is Plural, hence B C and E can be eliminated immediately subject verb agreement issue.

D seems to be correct, But can some faculty give in depth explanation WHY A is wrong D is correct.


Hi honchos.

A is wrong because of the comma.

A) Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles islands.
The green part is modifier that should be blocked off both sides by commas. However, there is only a comma on the right, not on the left. Grammatically, this is wrong structure.

D). sloth, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, have been dated at 34 million years old, making the sloth the earliest known mammal on
The modifier is blocked off perfectly both sides by two commas. Hence, D is a correct sentence.

Hope it's clear.
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Re: Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Sep 2013, 23:29
pqhai wrote:
honchos wrote:
This is OG13 Q81

Fossils is Plural, hence B C and E can be eliminated immediately subject verb agreement issue.

D seems to be correct, But can some faculty give in depth explanation WHY A is wrong D is correct.


Hi honchos.

A is wrong because of the comma.

A) Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles islands.
The green part is modifier that should be blocked off both sides by commas. However, there is only a comma on the right, not on the left. Grammatically, this is wrong structure.

D). sloth, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, have been dated at 34 million years old, making the sloth the earliest known mammal on
The modifier is blocked off perfectly both sides by two commas. Hence, D is a correct sentence.

Hope it's clear.



Noted, I still believe there is more grammatical flaws here in A. However i have noted your explanation, that is quite impressive.
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Re: Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Sep 2013, 18:55
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honchos wrote:
pqhai wrote:
A) Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles islands.


Noted, I still believe there is more grammatical flaws here in A. However i have noted your explanation, that is quite impressive.
There is more to A that's wrong. When a section of a sentence is set off by commas, as is "and dated" in version A, that section of the sentence is unnecessary. That is, the sentence should read logically and grammatically with the isolated section excised. Try that with (A)

Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles islands.

You get nonsense! How did fossils make the sloth the earliest known mammal? The dating is what made it the earliest known mammal, and (D) makes that logical connection clear, unlike (A).

Hope this helps!
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Re: Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated  [#permalink]

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New post 19 May 2014, 10:54
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russ9 wrote:
Can someone please explain why "WAS dated" is wrong. Wasn't the fossil dated in the past? - Referring to choice E.




Hi russ9,

Let’s first understand the usage of the two tenses.

The simple past tense is used to represent an event/action that happened in the past and has no effect in the present time.

The present perfect tense is used to represent an event/action that started at some point of time in the past and
1. either has continued till now
2. or ended in the past but its effect is still visible in the present.

Now, in the given sentence what is the result or effect of the fact that the fossils have been dated/was dated at 34 million years old.

Effect: It makes the sloth the earliest known mammal on the Greater Antilles islands.

Is this effect still visible in the present?
Yes, so the present perfect tense is correctly used here.


If we consider the simple past tense as the correct answer in this option then the effect won’t be visible in the present. In that case the meaning of the sentence becomes that when these fossils were dated at 34 million years old, at that point of the time the sloth was the earliest known mammal on the Greater Antilles islands.


Let’s understand this with one more official question. I have taken this question from OG-13 with the correct option.

• Rock samples taken from the remains of an asteroid about twice the size of the 6-mile-wide asteroid
o that eradicated the dinosaurs
• have been dated at 3.47 billion years old
• and thus are evidence of the earliest known asteroid impact on Earth.


In this case the present perfect tense (have been dated) is used because its effect (and thus are evidence of…..) is visible in the present.


Hope this helps! :)
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Re: Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Mar 2015, 03:55
Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles islands.

A. sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of
Usage"and" shows \\sm and IC both are missing + "it" has no reference

B. sloth, that they found in Puerto Rico in 1991, has been dated at 34 million years old, thus making it the earliest mammal known on
"that" refers to sloth which is not a subject + "they" doesn't have a reference + Usage of "has been" is wrong must be have been + "it" has no reference.

C. sloth that was found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, making this the earliest known mammal of
Same as B

D. sloth, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, have been dated at 34 million years old, making the sloth the earliest known mammal on
Correct

E. sloth which, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, made the sloth the earliest known mammal of
Which refers to "sloth" not to the subject hence wrong


Hence D
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Re: Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jun 2016, 22:36
g3lo18 wrote:
I thought a verb-ed modifier must modifier the preceding noun entity.

Isn't found a past tense verb-ed modifier?

Hi g3lo18, found is a past participle. Past participles have a bit of a flexibility in terms of what they modify: They can modify the Noun or the Noun-Phrase (whichever makes sense) immediately before the participle.

There are quite a few official examples (other than this one) that corroborate this point. I am listing a few:

An OG 13 question:

In 1995 Richard Stallman, a well-known critic of the patent system, testified in Patent Office hearings that, to test the system, a colleague of his had managed to win a patent for one of Kirchoff's laws, an observation about electric current first made in 1845 and now included in virtually every textbook of elementary physics.

- made modifies observation (and not electric current)

An OG 12 question:

Diabetes, together with its serious complications, ranks as the nation’s third leading cause of death, surpassed only by heart disease and cancer.

- surpassed modifies nation’s third leading cause (and not death)

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses modifier issues of Participial Phrases, their application and examples in significant detail. If someone is interested, PM me your email-id, I can mail the corresponding section.
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Re: Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Oct 2016, 02:26
Hello everyone,
I still have problems to understand the pronoun - one antecedent issue in this setence. As far as i know:

- Sentences should convey the intended meaning without any ambiguity.. Thus, each pronoun must refer to one and only one antecedent . If there are sentences with more than one pronoun then the reader is left confused about the sense.

- The pronoun-anticedent pair must make sense. Pronouns can only refer to nouns, if they refer to any other part of the sentence the usage is considered incorrect.

Lets analyse the first option:
Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles islands.

So here are my questions:
A noun can also be included into a prepositonal phrase, right?

Fossils of the arm of a sloth ...

Since "of" is a prepositonal phrase marker, there are two different nouns available: "the arm" and "a sloth". Thus, it is not clear without any ambiguity what "it" refers to? This ambiguity is solved in answer option D by explicity using "the sloth"?

I would be deeply grateful if someone could help me with that issue.
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Re: Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated  [#permalink]

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KARISHMA315, the issue here is that in (B), (C), and (E), we have the noun modifiers ("relative pronouns", if you like grammar jargon) "which" and "that." With rare exceptions, these modifiers will point to the immediately preceding noun. So if we look at (B), (C), and (E) very strictly and literally, the sentences are saying that the sloth was found. And that doesn't make sense, unless you think that sloths live for millions of years. :)

When participles (often an "-ed" or "-ing" word, such as "found" or "making" or "including") are used as modifiers -- and that's exactly what "found" is doing in (A) and (D) -- they're much more forgiving in terms of their placement. It's fine for the participle "found" to modify the entire phrase that precedes it. So the phrase beginning with "found" can modify "fossils of the arm of a sloth", and not necessarily just the sloth.

I hope this helps!
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Re: Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jul 2017, 11:42
nakib77 wrote:
Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles islands.

A. sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of

B. sloth, that they found in Puerto Rico in 1991, has been dated at 34 million years old, thus making it the earliest mammal known on

C. sloth that was found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, making this the earliest known mammal of

D. sloth, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, have been dated at 34 million years old, making the sloth the earliest known mammal on

E. sloth which, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, made the sloth the earliest known mammal of




How In option D, "have been dated at 34 million years old' is correct? "Has/Have been" is used for any action which was initiated in past and still continuing? here we are talking about dating age of the fossils which if continue to present then 34 would not be constant and by now it might has been 200 years, isn't it?
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Re: Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Aug 2017, 14:04
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gmat4varun wrote:
How In option D, "have been dated at 34 million years old' is correct? "Has/Have been" is used for any action which was initiated in past and still continuing? here we are talking about dating age of the fossils which if continue to present then 34 would not be constant and by now it might has been 200 years, isn't it?



Hello gmat4varun,

I will be glad to help you with this one. :-)

Present perfect tense verb is also used when the there is no definite time frame of the action.

In the given official sentence, we do not know when exactly the fossils have been dated. In case of such an indefinite time frame, use of present perfect tense is correct.

Let's see a simple sentence to understand this usage:

He has visited France twice.

From the above-mentioned sentence, we cannot say whether "he" visited France long back in the past or in the recent past. All we get to know that he has been to France twice.


Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha
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Re: Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2017, 00:13
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gmat4varun wrote:
How In option D, "have been dated at 34 million years old' is correct? "Has/Have been" is used for any action which was initiated in past and still continuing? here we are talking about dating age of the fossils which if continue to present then 34 would not be constant and by now it might has been 200 years, isn't it?

Hi gmat4varun, in this portion of the sentence, the sentence is not really talking about dating age, but the act of dating.

So, the act of dating has been done (at some unspecified time before now, and hence the use of present perfect).

The result of that act (of dating) was that the fossils were found to be 34 million years old (at the time when this act of dating was done).

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses Present perfect tense, its application and examples in significant detail. If someone is interested, PM me your email-id; I can mail the corresponding section.
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Re: Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2017, 05:02
Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles islands.

A. sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of - Though this sentence has not grammatical errors, option D gives much clear and better understanding of the sentence.

B. sloth, that they found in Puerto Rico in 1991, has been dated at 34 million years old, thus making it the earliest mammal known on ==> What does "they" refer to? Also, the plural subject fossils does not go with singular "has" - Hence, Incorrect

C. sloth that was found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, making this the earliest known mammal of ==> Changes the meaning, it is not that they found "sloth" it should be fossils and the plural subject fossils does not go with singular "was" - Hence, Incorrect

D. sloth, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, have been dated at 34 million years old, making the sloth the earliest known mammal on - CORRECT

E. sloth which, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, made the sloth the earliest known mammal of - the plural subject fossils does not go with singular "was" - Hence, Incorrect

Hence - D
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Re: Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Aug 2017, 11:06
GMATNinja wrote:
KARISHMA315, the issue here is that in (B), (C), and (E), we have the noun modifiers ("relative pronouns", if you like grammar jargon) "which" and "that." With rare exceptions, these modifiers will point to the immediately preceding noun. So if we look at (B), (C), and (E) very strictly and literally, the sentences are saying that the sloth was found. And that doesn't make sense, unless you think that sloths live for millions of years. :)

When participles (often an "-ed" or "-ing" word, such as "found" or "making" or "including") are used as modifiers -- and that's exactly what "found" is doing in (A) and (D) -- they're much more forgiving in terms of their placement. It's fine for the participle "found" to modify the entire phrase that precedes it. So the phrase beginning with "found" can modify "fossils of the arm of a sloth", and not necessarily just the sloth.

I hope this helps!




Hi,

According to OG explanation to a similar problem (OG2017, problem 723), comma ing modifier must have distinct object to refer.

Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumbering her letters to anyone else.

I don't understand why in this example "outnumbering" does not have a distinct object to refer to but "..., making the sloth" is considered to have a clear referent, which is "fossils"
Re: Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated &nbs [#permalink] 27 Aug 2017, 11:06

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