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QOTD: Metal rings recently excavated form seventh-century settlements

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QOTD: Metal rings recently excavated form seventh-century settlements [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jan 2018, 03:17
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Verbal Question of The Day: Day 194: Critical Reasoning


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Metal rings recently excavated form seventh-century settlements in the western part of Mexico were made using the same metallurgical techniques as those used by Ecuadorian artisans before and during that period. These techniques are sufficiently complex to make their independent development in both areas unlikely. Since the people of these two areas were in cultural contact, archaeologists hypothesize that the metallurgical techniques used to make the rings found in Mexico were learned by Mexican artisans from Ecuadorian counterparts.

Which of the following would it be most useful to establish in order to evaluate the archaeologists' hypothesis?

(A) Whether metal objects were traded from Ecuador to western Mexico during the seventh century
(B) Whether travel between western Mexico and Ecuador in the seventh century would have been primarily by land or by sea
(C) Whether artisans from western Mexico could have learned complex metallurgical techniques from their Ecuadorian counterparts without actually leaving western Mexico.
(D) Whether metal tools were used in the seventh-century settlements in western Mexico
(E) Whether any of the techniques used in the manufacture of the metal rings found in western Mexico are still practiced among artisans in Ecuador today

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QOTD: Metal rings recently excavated form seventh-century settlements [#permalink]

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Since we are trying to evaluate the archaeologists' hypothesis, let's start by identifying that hypothesis: "the metallurgical techniques used to make the rings found in Mexico were learned by Mexican artisans from Ecuadorian counterparts."

Great, now let's break down the reasoning that supports that hypothesis:

  • Metal rings were recently found in the ruins of 7th-century settlements in the western part of Mexico.
  • Those rings were made using the same techniques as those used by Ecuadorian artisans before and during the 7th century. So it is likely (though not certain) that the Ecuadorians were using those techniques before the people in western Mexico.
  • The techniques used to make the rings are pretty complex, so it's unlikely that the techniques were developed independently in each location. If we had been talking about some simple process, it would be possible that each civilization developed the process on their own. But in this case, it is more likely that only ONE of the two cultures developed the techniques.
  • The people of western Mexico were in cultural contact with the people of Ecuador. Therefore, it is possible that the groups learned from one another.

According to the archaeologists, this evidence suggests that the Mexican artisans learned how to make the rings from the Ecuadorian artisans. What would be most useful to establish in order to evaluate the archaeologists' hypothesis?

Quote:
(A) Whether metal objects were traded from Ecuador to western Mexico during the seventh century

We know that it is unlikely that both groups developed the techniques for making the rings independently. As a result, the archaeologists believe that the people in western Mexico must have learned to make the rings from the Ecuadorians. But what if the people in western Mexico NEVER actually made the rings? What if they simply traded with the Ecuadorians for their rings? That would nullify the hypothesis, so let's hang on to this one.

Quote:
(B) Whether travel between western Mexico and Ecuador in the seventh century would have been primarily by land or by sea

It doesn't matter HOW the two groups were in contact. All that matters is that the two groups were in cultural contact. This information is irrelevant, so eliminate (B).

Quote:
(C) Whether artisans from western Mexico could have learned complex metallurgical techniques from their Ecuadorian counterparts without actually leaving western Mexico.

The archaeologists argue that the artisans from western Mexico learned the techniques from their Ecuadorian counterparts, but the archaeologists don't care about WHERE that learning took place. Whether it took place in Mexico, Ecuador, or somewhere else, the archaeologists hypothesis could still be valid. (C) can thus be eliminated.

Quote:
(D) Whether metal tools were used in the seventh-century settlements in western Mexico

We want to determine whether the artisans from western Mexico learned the techniques for making the metal rings from the Ecuadorian artisans. We have no idea what kinds of tools were used by the Ecuadorians to make those rings (maybe the tools were metal, maybe they were not), so choice (D) can be eliminated.

Quote:
(E) Whether any of the techniques used in the manufacture of the metal rings found in western Mexico are still practiced among artisans in Ecuador today

The hypothesis is only concerned with 7th-century artisans in western Mexico and whether those artisans learned how to make metal rings from Ecuadorian artisans during that time. It makes no difference whether those techniques are still used in Ecuador today, so eliminate (E).

Choice (A) is the best answer.
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Re: QOTD: Metal rings recently excavated form seventh-century settlements [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jan 2018, 02:40
Metal rings recently excavated form seventh-century settlements in the western part of Mexico were made using the same metallurgical techniques as those used by Ecuadorian artisans before and during that period. These techniques are sufficiently complex to make their independent development in both areas unlikely. Since the people of these two areas were in cultural contact, archaeologists hypothesize that the metallurgical techniques used to make the rings found in Mexico were learned by Mexican artisans from Ecuadorian counterparts.

Which of the following would it be most useful to establish in order to evaluate the archaeologists' hypothesis?

(A) Whether metal objects were traded from Ecuador to western Mexico during the seventh century
(B) Whether travel between western Mexico and Ecuador in the seventh century would have been primarily by land or by sea
(C) Whether artisans from western Mexico could have learned complex metallurgical techniques from their Ecuadorian counterparts without actually leaving western Mexico.
(D) Whether metal tools were used in the seventh-century settlements in western Mexico
(E) Whether any of the techniques used in the manufacture of the metal rings found in western Mexico are still practiced among artisans in Ecuador today

Hi,

Let's start with the conclusion of the argument.
"archaeologists hypothesize that the metallurgical techniques used to make the rings found in Mexico were learned by Mexican artisans from Ecuadorian counterparts".

And now let's find the basis of this hypothesis or premise as per gmat parlance .

1.Metal rings have been excavated in Mexico which were made from using the same metallurgical techniques as those used by Ecuadorian artisans before and during that period.
2.These techniques are way too complex to be developed in both Mexico and Ecuador independently.
3.People of both the countries were in cultural contact.

On the basis of the aforementioned reasons the archaeologists hypothesize that the metallurgical techniques used ..................................

Now let's play with the argument a bit and try to find some connection apart from the one that the argument states.

It is possible that both these countries traded things and the metal rings found in Mexico were not actually made in Mexico but were traded to mexico by ecuador for something .
The argument assumes that the ring were actually made in Mexico but there's a possibility that the were made in Ecuador and reached Mexico as a part of a barter deal or trade since both the countries were in cultural contact.

Now there's a "golden mantra" for all evaluation questions.

By answering Yes and No to the statement provided in the options you must be able to support and completely destroy the conclusion.

Let's start with the options.
A is in line with our "Pre thinking".
Let's try to answer both positively and negatively to the statement and see if it follows the "evaluation mantra".

If I say Yes the metal objects were traded from E to M then the argument conclusion falls apart because we have an alternate explanation.
and when I say No to the statement then the archaeplogists hypothesis seems valid because we are eliminating a possible explanation.

Hope it helps.
Re: QOTD: Metal rings recently excavated form seventh-century settlements   [#permalink] 05 Jan 2018, 02:40
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QOTD: Metal rings recently excavated form seventh-century settlements

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