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QOTD: Archaeologists working in the Andes Mountains recently

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QOTD: Archaeologists working in the Andes Mountains recently  [#permalink]

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New post 09 May 2018, 22:44
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Verbal Question of The Day: Day 276: Critical Reasoning


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Archaeologists working in the Andes Mountains recently excavated a buried 4,000-year-old temple containing structures that align with a stone carving on a distant hill to indicate the direction of the rising sun at the summer solstice. Alignments in the temple were also found to point toward the position, at the summer solstice, of a constellation known in Andean culture as the Fox. Since the local mythology represents the fox as teaching people how to cultivate and irrigate plants, the ancient Andeans may have built the temple as a religious representation of the fox.

Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument is based?

(A) The constellation known as the Fox has the same position at the summer solstice as it did 4,000 years ago.

(B) In the region around the temple, the summer solstice marks the time for planting.

(C) The temple was protected from looters by dirt and debris built up over thousands of years.

(D) Other structural alignments at the temple point to further constellations with agricultural significance.

(E) The site containing the temple was occupied for a significant amount of time before abandonment.

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QOTD: Archaeologists working in the Andes Mountains recently  [#permalink]

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New post 09 May 2018, 22:45
The conclusion is that "the ancient Andeans may have built the temple as a religious representation of the fox." How does the author arrive at that conclusion?

  • Archaeologists recently excavated a buried 4,000-year-old temple in the Andes Mountains.
  • The temple contains "structures that align with a stone carving on a distant hill to indicate the direction of the rising sun at the summer solstice." - Don't worry if you don't understand the meaning of "solstice." Even without knowing the definition, we can infer that the author is referring to some specific time of the year. What's important is that the temple-makers were apparently aware of the sun's position at that specific time when they built those structures.
  • "Alignments in the temple were also found to point toward the position, at the summer solstice, of a constellation known in Andean culture as the Fox." - If the temple-makers constructed some structures related to the position of the sun at the summer solstice, then it would make sense that other structures in the temple are related to the summer solstice. Now we have some other structures pointing to the position of the Fox constellation at the summer solstice. This is evidence (not proof) that the temple-makers designed these structures with the Fox constellation's position in mind.
  • "Local mythology represents the fox as teaching people how to cultivate and irrigate plants." - The fox was obviously an importantly animal to the people of that culture.

So we have evidence that the temple-makers took the summer-solstice position of celestial bodies into account when designing the temple. Some temple structures point towards the position of the Fox constellation, and the fox was an important animal to those people. This suggests that "the ancient Andeans may have built the temple as a religious representation of the fox."

Notice that the conclusion contains the word may. The author is not trying to PROVE that the temple was built as a religious representation of the fox. The author is simply arguing that, based on the evidence cited in the passage, this may have been the case.

Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument is based?

Quote:
(A) The constellation known as the Fox has the same position at the summer solstice as it did 4,000 years ago.

The conclusion is based on the finding that the temple has alignments pointing towards the position, at the summer solstice, of a constellation.

But this finding is based on the CURRENT alignments. The temple was built 4,000 years ago. What if the constellation has shifted over the course of the last 4,000 years? In that case, the alignment found by the archaeologists would be different than the alignment that existed when the Andeans built the temple. Thus, we would not be able to use the CURRENT alignment to make conclusions about the intentions of the Andeans 4,000 years ago.

Without this assumption, the evidence is clearly undermined, so hang on to (A).

Quote:
(B) In the region around the temple, the summer solstice marks the time for planting.

This may or may not be true, but it is not a required assumption. The author argues that the temple was built to represent the fox. The author is not trying to argue that the temple served a specific agricultural function. Eliminate (B).

Quote:
(C) The temple was protected from looters by dirt and debris built up over thousands of years.

Sure, it is possible that looters moved some of the structures around, but that doesn't make this a required assumption. Even if looters had entered the temple and removed some objects, the structures referred to in the passage could still have their same positions. Eliminate (C).

Quote:
(D) Other structural alignments at the temple point to further constellations with agricultural significance.

If the temple structures point to no other constellations besides the Fox constellation, then it is reasonable to conclude that the temple may have been built to represent the fox. However, if the temple pointed to multiple constellations, then it is less likely that the temple was built to represent the fox in particular. In fact, (D) seems to suggest that the temple-makers were more concerned with agriculture in general than with the fox.

So (D) might weaken the argument. Regardless, it is certainly not a required assumption. Eliminate (D).

Quote:
(E) The site containing the temple was occupied for a significant amount of time before abandonment.

The amount of time that the temple was occupied is irrelevant to the argument. Eliminate (E).

(A) is the best answer.
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QOTD: Archaeologists working in the Andes Mountains recently  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jun 2018, 08:13
Question Stem (too much to absorb in less time but its possible):-

1) 4,000-year-Old Temple helps to indicate the direction of the rising sun at the summer solstice
2) 4,000-year-Old Temple helps to indicate, at the summer solstice, a constellation known in Andean culture as the Fox.
3) Andean culture represents the fox as teaching people how to cultivate and irrigate plants

Conclusion:- the ancient Andeans may have built the temple as a religious representation of the fox (i.e. as teaching people how to cultivate and irrigate plants)

Assumption:- without which you cannot have the aforesaid conclusion.

Negated option:-

(A) The constellation known as the Fox does not have the same position at the summer solstice as it did 4,000 years ago. Point no. 2 above speaks about alignment. Significance of temple is lost as it does not help in indicating the constellation at summer solstice. If this is the case then the same conclusion cannot be drawn. i.e. - pokes a hole in the conclusion.

Other options:-

(B) In the region around the temple, the summer solstice marks the time for planting. - out of scope (conclusion is not about identifying the timing of summer solstice)

(C) The temple was protected from looters by dirt and debris built up over thousands of years. - out of scope

(D) Other structural alignments at the temple point to further constellations with agricultural significance. - out of scope

(E) The site containing the temple was occupied for a significant amount of time before abandonment. - out of scope

Best answer is (A)
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QOTD: Archaeologists working in the Andes Mountains recently  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Sep 2018, 17:23
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I had a few deviations from above reasoning w.r.t. argument understanding and woud like to have your two cents.

Quote:
Archaeologists working in the Andes Mountains recently excavated a buried 4,000-year-old temple containing structures that align with a stone carving on a distant hill to indicate the direction of the rising sun at the summer solstice. Alignments in the temple were also found to point toward the position, at the summer solstice, of a constellation known in Andean culture as the Fox.

Here are my short notes:
Structures in temple point to:
a. rising sun
b. Fox
Whether same structures present to sun and fox is irrelevant to the argument.

Quote:
Since the local mythology represents the fox as teaching people how to cultivate and irrigate plants, the ancient Andeans may have built the temple as a religious representation of the fox.

Keyword: since marks premise and the clause following coma is the conclusion.

I linked religious representation to teaching people how to cultivate and irrigate plants

Unfortunately, for me I linked the purpose of building the temple to a greater importance than knowing if temple makers were aware of in which direction sun rose or where fox was present.

There is a clear leap between the alignment of temple structures in first two sentences and linking religious importance of temple to fox.

Why can not a valid assumption be:
People of Andes area are atheists and used to kill fox for securing their tribes.
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QOTD: Archaeologists working in the Andes Mountains recently  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Sep 2018, 17:59
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Conclusion - the ancient Andeans may have built the temple as a religious representation of the fox.

Now as we know Something must backup our conclusion. Why the above statement is conclusion. Well this conclusion is finding for following statements.
1. Alignments in the temple were also found to point toward the position, at the summer solstice,
2. the summer solstice, of a constellation known in Andean culture as the Fox.
3. the local mythology represents the fox as teaching people how to cultivate and irrigate plants

assumption is hidden premise between conclusion and premise. One more thing a question can have multiple assumptions. pre-prase a few before POE.
1. the ancient Andeans used to build temple as a religious representation of its gods.
2. there should be some proof that the summer solstice was known in Andean culture as the Fox. if other wise this argument will fall.
3. a solid proof that the local mythology represents the fox as teaching people how to cultivate and irrigate plants.

A is following the 2nd point. Negation test can help you to prove your point.

Regarding your doubts.

I linked religious representation to teaching people how to cultivate and irrigate plants

Unfortunately, for me I linked the purpose of building the temple to a greater importance than knowing if temple makers were aware of in which direction sun rose or where fox was present.

---- again there can be multiple conclusion. You have to keep things open. A gmat question can be tough if there are multiple conclusion and a few are really obscure between premises.

There is a clear leap between the alignment of temple structures in first two sentences and linking religious importance of temple to fox.

Why can not a valid assumption be:
People of Andes area are atheists and used to kill fox for securing their tribes. ---- For sure this cant be an assumption.

Assumption question will normally fit one of the following categories:
A. Eliminates an alternate cause for the stated effect
B. Shows that when the cause occurs, the effect occurs
C. Shows that when the cause does not occur, the effect does not occur
D. Eliminates the possibility that the stated relationship is reversed
E. Shows that the data used to make the causal statement are accurate, or eliminates possible problems with the data

Giving you an opportunity, read these notes and find why this can't be an assumption.
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Re: QOTD: Archaeologists working in the Andes Mountains recently  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Sep 2018, 09:54
souvik101990 wrote:

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 276: Critical Reasoning


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Archaeologists working in the Andes Mountains recently excavated a buried 4,000-year-old temple containing structures that align with a stone carving on a distant hill to indicate the direction of the rising sun at the summer solstice. Alignments in the temple were also found to point toward the position, at the summer solstice, of a constellation known in Andean culture as the Fox. Since the local mythology represents the fox as teaching people how to cultivate and irrigate plants, the ancient Andeans may have built the temple as a religious representation of the fox.

Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument is based?

(A) The constellation known as the Fox has the same position at the summer solstice as it did 4,000 years ago.

(B) In the region around the temple, the summer solstice marks the time for planting.

(C) The temple was protected from looters by dirt and debris built up over thousands of years.

(D) Other structural alignments at the temple point to further constellations with agricultural significance.

(E) The site containing the temple was occupied for a significant amount of time before abandonment.



Premises:
Archaeologists excavated an old temple containing structures that align with a stone carving on a distant hill to indicate the direction of the rising sun at the summer solstice. Alignments in the temple were also found to point toward the position, at the summer solstice, of a constellation known in Andean culture as the Fox.
Local mythology represents the fox as teaching people how to cultivate and irrigate plants

Conclusion: the ancient Andeans may have built the temple as a religious representation of the fox.

(A) The constellation known as the Fox has the same position at the summer solstice as it did 4,000 years ago.

This is certainly an assumption of the argument. If the Fox does not have the same position as it did 4,000 years ago, the entire argument falls apart. Then the alignments would be pointing to something else or they wouldn't be alignments pointing to something. Then the point of representation of the fox does not arise.

(B) In the region around the temple, the summer solstice marks the time for planting.

The importance of summer solstice is not discussed and is irrelevant.

(C) The temple was protected from looters by dirt and debris built up over thousands of years.

Dirt and looters are irrelevant to the argument.

(D) Other structural alignments at the temple point to further constellations with agricultural significance.

Not an assumption. Doesn't matter what the other alignments point to.

(E) The site containing the temple was occupied for a significant amount of time before abandonment.

Again, not an assumption. Even if it were not occupied, it doesn't break out argument.

Answer (A)
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Re: QOTD: Archaeologists working in the Andes Mountains recently  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Sep 2018, 00:32
I simply could not understand certain parts of the premises GMATNinja. The 1st thing is that the alignment of certain structures indicates the position of rising sun during the summer solstice 2nd it tells about the position of the constellation fox and fox tells how to cultivate.
Basically I am not able connect all the information and find the assumption while reading the argument!

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Re: QOTD: Archaeologists working in the Andes Mountains recently &nbs [#permalink] 11 Sep 2018, 00:32
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