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# Geographers and historians have traditionally held the view

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Joined: 14 Sep 2017
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Location: Italy

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Updated on: 02 Nov 2017, 06:32
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Geographers and historians have traditionally held the view that Antarctica was first sighted around 1820, but some sixteenth-century European maps show a body that resembles the polar landmass, even though explorers of the period never saw it. Some scholars, therefore, argue that the continent must have been discovered and mapped by the ancients, whose maps are known to have served as models for the European cartographers.

Which of the following, if true, is most damaging to the inference drawn by the scholars?

A) the question of who first sighted Antarctica in modern times still much debated, and no one has been able to present conclusive evidence.

B) between 3000 and 9000 years ago, the world was warmer than it is now, and the polar landmass was presumably smaller.

C) there are only a few sixteenth-century global maps that show a continental landmass at the South Pole.

D) most attributions of surprising accomplishments to ancient civilization or even extraterrestrials are eventually discredited or rejected as preposterous.

E) ancient philosophers believed that there had to be a large landmass at the south pole to balance the northern continents and make the world symmetrical.

Originally posted by Fedemaravilla on 01 Nov 2017, 15:56.
Last edited by Fedemaravilla on 02 Nov 2017, 06:32, edited 1 time in total.
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01 Nov 2017, 17:02
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Fedemaravilla wrote:
Geographers and historians have traditionally held the view that Antarctica was first sighted around 1820, but some sixteenth-century European maps show a body that resembles the polar landmass, even though explorers of the period never saw it. Some scholars, therefore, argue that the continent must have been discovered and mapped by the ancients, whose maps are known to have served as models for the European cartographers.

Which of the following, if true, is most damaging to the inference drawn by the scholars?
A) the question of who first sighted Antarctica in modern times still much debated, and no one has been able to present conclusive evidence.
B) between 3000 and 9000 years ago, the world was warmer than it is now, and the polar landmass was presumably smaller.
C) there are only a few sixteenth-century global maps that show a continental landmass at the South Pole.
D) most attributions of surprising accomplishments to ancient civilization or even extraterrestrials are eventually discredited or rejected as preposterous.
E) ancient philosophers believed that there had to be a large landmass at the south pole to balance the northern continents and make the world symmetrical.

Dear Fedemaravilla,

I'm happy to respond. This is a very good CR question.

We know that some 16th century European maps show a southern polar mass even though nobody in Europe had seen Antartica. That's evidence.

There's also a piece of evidence at the end: "maps [of the ancients] are known to have served as models for the European cartographers."

Finally, the conclusion: "the continent must have been discovered and mapped by the ancients."

The conclusion is a bold conclusion about extensive travel by the ancients. What would weaken it?

(A) the question of who first sighted Antarctica in modern times still much debated, and no one has been able to present conclusive evidence.
This may be, but it's irrelevant to what the ancients did or didn't do. This is incorrect.

(B) between 3000 and 9000 years ago, the world was warmer than it is now, and the polar landmass was presumably smaller.
Hmm. If Antartica had been smaller, it would have been harder to find, but this doesn't mean that that the ancients couldn't find it. This is incorrect.

(C) there are only a few sixteenth-century global maps that show a continental landmass at the South Pole.
Irrelevant. If there are only some, why do they have that mass to the south? That's the common feature we need to explain: it doesn't have to present on every map. This is incorrect.

(D) most attributions of surprising accomplishments to ancient civilization or even extraterrestrials are eventually discredited or rejected as preposterous.
This is vague and suggestive. Other impressive stuff turned out to be false, so this impressive thing will turn out to be false. This is not a watertight form of argument, so this is incorrect.

(E) ancient philosophers believed that there had to be a large landmass at the south pole to balance the northern continents and make the world symmetrical.
Bingo! The ancients put the southern land mass on their map, not because they sailed there and discovered it, but for philosophical reasons about balance. That totally would explain why an Antartica-like thing would be at the bottom of ancient maps, thus suggesting this to 16th century map makers, but the ancients never left their ports to discover this. They simply sat in their armchairs and came up with this by philosophizing. This would explain how the mass go on the maps without any adventurous sea journeys happening. This is by far the best answer.

OA = (E)

This is a great question and an interesting topic.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Mike McGarry
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02 Nov 2017, 12:23
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Geographers and historians have traditionally held the view that Antarctica was first sighted around 1820, but some sixteenth-century European maps show a body that resembles the polar landmass, even though explorers of the period never saw it. Some scholars, therefore, argue that the continent must have been discovered and mapped by the ancients, whose maps are known to have served as models for the European cartographers.

Which of the following, if true, is most damaging to the inference drawn by the scholars?

A) the question of who first sighted Antarctica in modern times still much debated, and no one has been able to present conclusive evidence. -Okay. Lets mark it as contender, but I am pretty sure that we will find something better

B) between 3000 and 9000 years ago, the world was warmer than it is now, and the polar landmass was presumably smaller. -This strengthens the argument, since it confirms the presence of the landmass.

C) there are only a few sixteenth-century global maps that show a continental landmass at the South Pole. -This partially strengthens the argument, since the presence of landmass is characterised here.

D) most attributions of surprising accomplishments to ancient civilization or even extraterrestrials are eventually discredited or rejected as preposterous. -This strengthens the argument.

E) ancient philosophers believed that there had to be a large landmass at the south pole to balance the northern continents and make the world symmetrical. -Correct. This gives an alternate reasoning for the presence of landmass on the globe.
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Re: Geographers and historians have traditionally held the view &nbs [#permalink] 02 Nov 2017, 12:23
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