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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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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.

Originally posted by nakib77 on 10 Oct 2005, 12:53.
Last edited by Bunuel on 04 Jul 2019, 22:08, edited 8 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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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 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 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 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 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 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 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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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. :-)
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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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souvik101990 wrote:

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 146: Sentence Correction


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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

Every question of the day will be followed by an expert reply by GMATNinja in 12-15 hours. Stay tuned! Post your answers and explanations to earn kudos.



Option A :
Verb tense : "made" is incorrect as the fact still stands true.
Construction : "comma + and" requires an Independent clause. However, "dated" has no subject

Doubt: Which of the following construction is correct:
Subject Verb1 ,and Verb2
Subject Verb1 and Verb2


Option B:
Pronoun : "they" has no clear antecedent
Subject Verb : Fossils (plu) and "has been dated" (singular)

Option C:
Subject Verb : Fossils (plu) and "was dated" (singular)
Pronoun : "this" has no clear antecedent

Option D:
Subject Verb : Fossils (plu) and "have been dated" (plu)
Construction : Verb+ing form states the result of the finding and has the same subject as that of modified clause
Pronoun : Replaces "this" with "the sloth"

Option E:
Subject Verb : Fossils (plu) and "was dated" (singular)
Verb tense : "made" is incorrect as the fact still stands true.

Answer : D
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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 22 Jul 2019, 01:03
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Wisdom of Ron about PRESENT PERFECT in option D
In describing a past event that is no longer occurring, we can use either the present perfect or the simple past. the difference between the two is one of semantic meaning:
-----the present perfect (has/have VERBed) is used if the event still has a tangible impact or influence on, or relevance to, the present state of affairs.
-----the simple past is used if the event does NOT have any tangible impact/influence/relevance in the present.
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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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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 31 Oct 2017, 13:42
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Hello fmik7894

You have presented a good analysis of this rather confusing official sentence. Great job there. :thumbup:

I will be glad to help you out with your query. :-)


Quote:
Doubt: Which of the following construction is correct:
Subject Verb1 ,and Verb2
Subject Verb1 and Verb2



Out of the two structures, the second structure is ideal because the connector is not followed by a comma when it joins only two entities in a parallel list.

Having said that, I would like to add that the first structure is not incorrect. There can be a comma before the connector even if it joins only two elements in the parallel list.

We see such structure when the parallel elements are pretty long. So the comma before the connector presents a necessary pause to help understand the meaning of the sentence better.


Quote:
Option A :
Construction : "comma + and" requires an Independent clause. However, "dated" has no subject



Please note that dated is NOT a verb in this official sentence. It is a verb-ed modifier like found. Since found and dated has been used as noun modifiers in this sentence, they form a parallel list and hence, we see dated preceded by and.


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 May 2018, 10:49
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zoezhuyan wrote:
Hi experts

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


I did not pick them up because i think it is illogical to say fossils can make some opinions, while the found of fossils can make some opinions

Would you please confirm ?

Thanks in advance

Have a nice day
>_~

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "opinions" in this question. I assume you're referring to the idea that the discovery of the fossils "made the sloth the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles islands"...? That's not an opinion, exactly, but I agree that it's illogical to say that "fossils... made the sloth the earliest known mammal..."

Here's (D) again:

    "Fossils of the arm of a sloth, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, have been dated at 34 million years old, making the sloth the earliest known mammal on the Greater Antilles Islands."

Notice that the phrase "making the sloth the earliest known mammal..." is now a modifier, not a verb phrase. That phrase is just modifying the previous clause: "Fossils of the arm of a sloth... have been dated at 34 million years old..." And that actually makes a lot of sense: the fossils are really freaking old, and that fact makes the sloth the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles. Because that last "-ing" phrase modifies the entire previous clause, the sentence isn't saying that the fossils themselves "made" the sloth the earliest known mammal -- it's saying that the act of dating the fossils made it the earliest known mammal.

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 27 Jan 2019, 16:49
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Hello Everyone!

Let's take a look at this question, one issue at a time, and narrow it down to the correct choice! To begin, here's the original question with the major differences between the options highlighted in orange:

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

After a quick glance over the options, a few key differences jump out:

1. Comma placement and verb choice after "sloth" (essential vs. non-essential clauses)
2. dated / has been dated / was dated / have been dated (verb tense)
3. made it / making it / making this / making the sloth / made the sloth (verb tense & pronouns)
4. of / on / known on (idioms)


Let's start with #1 on our list, which is to focus on how each sentence handles essential and non-essential clauses. Whenever we see a phrase in the middle of a sentence that's between two commas, it's supposed to be a non-essential clause.

This means that if we removed the phrase, the sentence would remain a complete sentence and wouldn't lose its intended meaning. A quick way to check this is to cross out any non-essential clauses you can find, and read what's left over. If it still makes sense, keep it for later. If it becomes a sentence fragment, or the meaning is totally changed, eliminate it. To make this easier, I've added in the non-underlined portions of the sentence:

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.

This is INCORRECT because the meaning of the sentence is altered by taking out the phrase "and dated at 34 million years old." By removing that phrase, we're simply saying that the presence of sloth fossils found in 1991 is enough proof that they are the earliest known mammals on the islands. But how do we know that? Because they were dated at 34 million years old. If we remove that bit of information, what's left over is vague and confusing for readers.

B. Fossils of the arm of a 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 the Greater Antilles islands.

This is INCORRECT because when we eliminate the non-essential clause, we can clearly see that there is a subject-verb agreement problem. This sentence uses the singular "has been dated" with the plural "Fossils," so let's rule this one out.

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

This is INCORRECT because, if we read the sentence with the non-essential phrase crossed out, it doesn't make sense. It's actually missing a verb! Therefore, let's eliminate this option.

D. Fossils of the arm of a sloth, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, have been dated at 34 million years old, making the sloth the earliest known mammal on the Greater Antilles islands. --> OKAY

E. Fossils of the arm of a sloth which, found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, made the sloth the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles islands. --> OKAY

We can eliminate options A, B, & C because they have problems when dealing with non-essential clauses.

Now that we've narrowed it down to 2 options, let's take a closer look at what we have left:

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 is CORRECT! The non-essential phrase, "found in Puerto Rico in 1991" truly is a non-essential piece of information. The important points (fossils were found, they were dated at 34 million years old, we now know they were the earliest mammals from the island) are all there and punctuated correctly. The sentence also uses the correct verb tense "have been dated" to show that the fossils were dated after they were found, but before the present, which is what we're looking for. It also correctly uses "making" to turn the last clause into an -ing modifier that refers back to the previous phrase, which is what we're looking for.

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

This is INCORRECT for one main reason - it contains two competing verbs! It correctly uses commas to make the phrase "found in Puerto Rico in 1991" a non-essential clause. However, it has two verb phrases (was dated at 34 millions years old / made the sloth the earliest known mammal...) without anything to connect them together. The last phrase should start with "making" to change it to a modifier that shows cause and effect. The fossils were dated at 34 million years old, and that led to them being known as the oldest mammals on the islands. Without the -ing modifier, it's unclear what actions led to what results.


There you have it - option D is the correct choice! This is an incredibly complex question, but if you can focus on the differences between the options, you can narrow down your options to only a couple you can focus on in more detail.


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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 Apr 2019, 01:06
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Rebekah wrote:
Hi, Ninja.
I actually did one question about the use of date.
Actually, date can not be used as "have dated at " or "have been dated at..' since" past perfect implies that this is not the case anymore.
So I eliminated D at once....This one is really made me mad!! Tense is also an absolute judgement to eliminate answers.

It sounds like you might be confusing present perfect tense ("have + verb" or "has + verb") with PAST perfect tense ("had + verb"). An action in past perfect tense ("had dated", for example) must be completed in the past before some other action or marker. But that tense doesn't appear here at all! Instead, we have the present perfect tense "have been dated" -- and whenever you see this tense, it indicates an action that starts in the past and continues into the present.

Again, we could debate whether "have been dated" is ideal here. It basically implies that "dating" an object (i.e., determining its age) is an ongoing process that isn't necessarily completed in a single instant. I suppose that's reasonable enough, since the object continues to get older, and our understanding of its age might continue to evolve. At the very least, it isn't a DEFINITE error to use the present perfect "have been dated" here, especially since there are TONS of other decision points in this question.

And yes, there are times when verb tenses can lead you to definite errors, but that certainly isn't always the case. For more on verb tenses, check out this video.

ballest127 wrote:
GMATNinja

Thank you for your kind explanation.

However, I'm a little bit confused for a part of your explanation.

In explanation for choice A , you mention that the phrase "Fossils of the arm of a sloth… made [the sloth] the earliest known mammal…" makes no sense.

But, In choice D , you accept that the pharse" making the sloth the earliest known mammal on" is correct.

Those two explanations seem quite contradict.

Please help me clarify the issue.

Thank you so much.

If we strip out some of the modifiers in choice (A), we have this:

    “Fossils… made the sloth the earliest known mammal…”

I still think that doesn’t make any sense. How could fossils possibly “[make] the sloth the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles…”? That suggests that fossils somehow led to the existence of the sloth, and that’s clearly nonsense.

The structure in (D) is completely different:

    “…making the sloth the earliest known mammal...”

“Making” is a modifier here, and it modifies the entire preceding clause: “Fossils of the arm of a sloth were dated at 34 million years old…”. And that makes perfect sense: “making the sloth the oldest known mammal of the Greater Antilles” just tells us more information about the consequences of discovering that the fossils were 34 million years old.

Maybe you’re thinking that the “-ing” modifier (“making”, in this case) can only modify a noun? That’s not actually the case. For more on this issue, check out this post or this post.

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 15 Oct 2019, 12:02
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sampriya wrote:
Hi,

@empowergmat verbal in this question in option D and E; the phrases "have been dated at", "was dated at" are in comma pairs why didn't we omit these? also is it like the information in non essential phrases always acts as a modifier and when it doesn't then it is not considered as a non-essential phrase?


Hello sampriya!

The reason we don't eliminate those phrases is that they are ESSENTIAL clauses - they contain the sentence's main verb! Not all phrases with commas on both sides are non-essential phrases - ONLY the ones that don't contain the subject or verb!

Also, modifiers are just one type of non-essential phrase. There are many others, and they follow the same basic rule - if you can eliminate them without creating a sentence fragment, then they are non-essential. If eliminating a phrase also eliminates the subject or verb (which is what would happen if you crossed out those two phrases), then it is essential and needs to stay in the sentence.

I hope that helps clear things up!
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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] 14 Sep 2013, 23:29

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