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# The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet su

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Re: The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet su [#permalink]
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such a tricky question
Now, I think D is the correct one. Both A and D look correct, but what makes D the correct one, is the part that says "Thus, tetracycline in their food probably explains..."
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Re: The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet su [#permalink]
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Use negate technique for choice A: The tetracycline deposits FORMED after the bodies were buried.

If the tetracycline formed after the bodies were buried, this kind of antibiotic still did not relate to the tetracycline that produced by bacteria in beer and bread.
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The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet surprisingly few of their skeletons show the usual evidence of this disease. The skeletons do show deposits of tetracycline, an antibiotic produced by a bacterium common in Nubian soil. This bacterium can flourish on the dried grain used for making two staples of the Nubian diet, beer and bread. Thus, tetracycline in their food probably explains the low incidence of typhus among ancient Nubians.

So I chose (D), because it most directly speaks to the evidence in the argument, "tetracycline in their food...'. However, I do not know whether this would be a valid GMAT question. (A) also provides a perfectly reasonable assumption on which the argument depends. If the tetracycline entered bodies after those bodies had been buried, then clearly it was not responsible for preventing typhus.

In GMAT-land, I can't remember seeing an assumption question in which two answer choices are assumptions upon which the argument depends, but one of them speaks more directly to the text/conclusion. If this is valid, and it is simply slipping my mind as to ever having seen such a question, surely this question is a 700+. I'd be interested to see if anyone has encountered a similar question. If so, then this is definitely a valid question, and a toughie .
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Re: The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet su [#permalink]
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ChrisLele wrote:
The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet surprisingly few of their skeletons show the usual evidence of this disease. The skeletons do show deposits of tetracycline, an antibiotic produced by a bacterium common in Nubian soil. This bacterium can flourish on the dried grain used for making two staples of the Nubian diet, beer and bread. Thus, tetracycline in their food probably explains the low incidence of typhus among ancient Nubians.

So I chose (D), because it most directly speaks to the evidence in the argument, "tetracycline in their food...'. However, I do not know whether this would be a valid GMAT question. (A) also provides a perfectly reasonable assumption on which the argument depends. If the tetracycline entered bodies after those bodies had been buried, then clearly it was not responsible for preventing typhus.

In GMAT-land, I can't remember seeing an assumption question in which two answer choices are assumptions upon which the argument depends, but one of them speaks more directly to the text/conclusion. If this is valid, and it is simply slipping my mind as to ever having seen such a question, surely this question is a 700+. I'd be interested to see if anyone has encountered a similar question. If so, then this is definitely a valid question, and a toughie .

ChrisLele
The conclusion of this argument is "Tetracycline in their food probably explains the low incidence of typhus among ancient Nubians" as in the last sentence. This means that author expects food to be a reason for presence of Tetracycline. I understand that presence of tetracycline can be linked a defender kind of assumption, but we also know that tetracycline has always been there in Nubian soil, making me to go away from A, and the conclusion here should defend the low incidence of typhus( and not the presence of tetracycline on skeletons).
Let me know if this sounds logical or even if there is some flaw here.

The source of this question is a CR document from a gmatclub member. It says the question is from gmatclub or MGMAT. Just hoping for this to be true now
gmat-prep-critical-reasoning-collection-106783.html#p840353
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Re: The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet su [#permalink]
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IMO D

Because on negating A we get. The tetracycline deposits did form after the bodies were buried (Nothing told about scenario before bodies were buried). this implies two statements.
1) Tetracycline formed only after bodies were buried
2) Tetracycline formed both before and after bodies were buried

1 inverses the conclusion but 2nd does not inverse the conclusion.

Hence D
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joshnsit wrote:
The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet surprisingly few of their skeletons show the usual evidence of this disease. The skeletons do show deposits of tetracycline, an antibiotic produced by a bacterium common in Nubian soil. This bacterium can flourish on the dried grain used for making two staples of the Nubian diet, beer and bread. Thus, tetracycline in their food probably explains the low incidence of typhus among ancient Nubians.

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

A. The tetracycline deposits did not form after the bodies were buried.
B. The diseases other than typhus to which the ancient Nubians were exposed would not be affected by tetracycline.
C. Typhus is generally fatal.
D. Tetracycline is not rendered ineffective as an antibiotic by exposure to the process involved in making bread and beer.
E. Bread and beer were the only foods eaten by the ancient Nubians which could have contained tetracycline.

Facts: few of the skeletons of Nubians show the usual evidence of the disease typhus even though they inhabited an area in which typhus occurred,. But their skeletons show deposits of tetracycline, an antibiotic produced by a bacterium common in Nubian soil. This bacterium can flourish on the dried grain used for making two staples of the Nubian diet, beer and bread.

Missing Information:There is no alternate explanation to what is shown in bold or it is not falsified, such as Tetracycline being rendered ineffective as an antibiotic by exposure to the process involved in making bread and beer.

Conclusion:Thus, tetracycline in their food probably explains the low incidence of typhus among ancient Nubians.

Choice D is the best match for the missing information.

Choice A seems very close. To eliminate one of the two, we have to focus on the reason for the conclusion. It is shown in bold. It means that the author believes that tetracycline was their in their food and this would eliminate A because choice A is more a premise. So actually attacking author's argument is showing tetracycline in the food is not responsible for the low incidence of the disease.
So the assumption of D saying that the tetracycline in the food is effective, is required.
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Re: The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet su [#permalink]
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There is one more point, which makes A weak as an assumption. If tetracycline deposited from the soil into the skeletons of these bodies, it still does not explain why only "few of their skeletons showed the usual evidence of typhus. After all, the ancient nubians inhabited in the area where typhus occurred, making them more susceptible to the disease. Most of them would have incurred the disease when they were alive. Typhus would invade their bodies when they were alive.
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Re: The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet su [#permalink]
The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet surprisingly few of their skeletons show the usual evidence of this disease. The skeletons do show deposits of tetracycline, an antibiotic produced by a bacterium common in Nubian soil. This bacterium can flourish on the dried grain used for making two staples of the Nubian diet, beer and bread. Thus, tetracycline in their food probably explains the low incidence of typhus among ancient Nubians.

Which of the following is an assumption on which the argument relies?
Conclusion- tetracycline in their food probably explains the low incidence of typhus among ancient Nubians.

(A) The tetracycline deposits did not form after the bodies were buried.

(B) The diseases other than typhus to which the ancient Nubians were exposed would not be affected by tetracycline.- irrelevant, we are concerned whether tetracycline in food explains the low incidence of typhus

(C) Typhus is generally fatal.- irrelevant

(D) Tetracycline is not rendered ineffective as an antibiotic by exposure to the process involved in making bread and beer.

(E) Bread and beer were the only foods eaten by the ancient Nubians which could have contained tetracycline.- irrelevant, the argument claims tetracycline in food

I was down to options A and D and chose option A.

A on negation, The tetracycline deposits did form after the bodies were buried.
D on negation, Tetracycline is rendered ineffective as an antibiotic by exposure to the process involved in making bread and beer.
Both options seem like assumptions to me.

AjiteshArun , GMATNinja , MagooshExpert , GMATGuruNY , VeritasPrepBrian , MartyTargetTestPrep , DmitryFarber , VeritasKarishma , generis , nightblade354 other experts - please enlighten
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The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet su [#permalink]
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The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet surprisingly few of their skeletons show the usual evidence of this disease. The skeletons do show deposits of tetracycline, an antibiotic produced by a bacterium common in Nubian soil. This bacterium can flourish on the dried grain used for making two staples of the Nubian diet, beer and bread. Thus, tetracycline in their food probably explains the low incidence of typhus among ancient Nubians.

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

(A) The tetracycline deposits did not form after the bodies were buried.

Skywalker18, Our conclusion is that tetracycline explains why there was a low incidence of typhus. Our premises give an indication as to why we discovered that tetracycline was in use by these people. (A) tries to attack a premise by saying that the buildup occurred after death, but does this destroy our argument? For one, another premise does say that tetracycline is in the soil, so that would actually strengthen our argument on that front. Second, not taking this into account, just because the buildup occurred after doesn't mean that the people didn't take it. It is equally as likely that they ate the grains even if the buildup wasn't on the bones. We would need another assumption about how tetracycline only builds up on bones if it is consumed. Our premise is being used to show a presence of an item, but just because the presence is questioned doesn't mean that it wasn't effective or in use.
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Re: The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet su [#permalink]
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Skywalker18 wrote:
I was down to options A and D and chose option A.

A on negation, The tetracycline deposits did form after the bodies were buried.
D on negation, Tetracycline is rendered ineffective as an antibiotic by exposure to the process involved in making bread and beer.
Both options seem like assumptions to me.

They could both be assumptions, but, of the two, only (D) is necessary for arriving at the conclusion. If (A) is not true, the argument still has some decent support for the conclusion that the ancient Nubians consumed tetracycline when they consumed food. If (D) is not true, then the conclusion is virtually unsupported.

It's a funny question though, I have to admit, because the part about the bone deposits is part of the support for the conclusion, and that support does not work without (A).
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joshnsit wrote:
The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet surprisingly few of their skeletons show the usual evidence of this disease. The skeletons do show deposits of tetracycline, an antibiotic produced by a bacterium common in Nubian soil. This bacterium can flourish on the dried grain used for making two staples of the Nubian diet, beer and bread. Thus, tetracycline in their food probably explains the low incidence of typhus among ancient Nubians.

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

(A) The tetracycline deposits did not form after the bodies were buried.

(B) The diseases other than typhus to which the ancient Nubians were exposed would not be affected by tetracycline.

(C) Typhus is generally fatal.

(D) Tetracycline is not rendered ineffective as an antibiotic by exposure to the process involved in making bread and beer.

(E) Bread and beer were the only foods eaten by the ancient Nubians which could have contained tetracycline.

One of the reasons I prefer a "missing link" strategy for CR assumption questions, as opposed to the more popular negation technique, is that I get to leave everything alone and simply drop in a line wholesale to test whether I can go from premise to conclusion seamlessly. Try (A) and (D), respectively, in this manner:

PASSAGE (premise): This bacterium [common in Nubian soil and that produces an antibiotic called tetracycline] can flourish on the dried grain used for making two staples of the Nubian diet, beer and bread.

ANSWER: A. The tetracycline deposits did not form after the bodies were buried.

PASSAGE (conclusion): Thus, tetracycline in their food probably explains the low incidence of typhus among ancient Nubians.

It seems a little strange to discuss the Nubian diet as a premise, then insert information about tetracycline and skeletal remains, for which we have to reach back further in the passage to qualify, and then return to the idea of food being a primary determinant in the low incidence of typhus among ancient Nubians. I would not write off the answer, but I cannot say that X (the premise) connects to Z (the conclusion) through it. I would yellow light the answer in my first pass, but I would be hoping for a better, more fitting bridge to connect the two lines from the passage. Try (D) out in the same way:

PASSAGE (premise): This bacterium [common in Nubian soil and that produces an antibiotic called tetracycline] can flourish on the dried grain used for making two staples of the Nubian diet, beer and bread.

ANSWER: Tetracycline is not rendered ineffective as an antibiotic by exposure to the process involved in making bread and beer.

PASSAGE (conclusion): Thus, tetracycline in their food probably explains the low incidence of typhus among ancient Nubians.

Wow, if that is not a perfect bridge or "missing link," then I am not sure what more we could want. The premise mentions the diet of the ancient Nubians, the answer choice rules out the possibility that an active antibiotic compound suspected to be a part of that diet would be rendered ineffective prior to consumption, and then the conclusion about food follows. This is a green light answer, one that we cannot find fault with.

Between (A) and (D), then, the latter is directly related to the premise and the conclusion that follows, so it is the safer bet, and we should choose it. The order in which the sentences are presented in the passage is crucial to the process I have outlined. Anyway, I hope that helps. Just remember that when you find friction, you are probably not pursuing the path of least resistance, and in Verbal, that often translates into a wrong answer.

- Andrew
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The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet su [#permalink]
ChiranjeevSingh wrote:
joshnsit wrote:
The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet surprisingly few of their skeletons show the usual evidence of this disease. The skeletons do show deposits of tetracycline, an antibiotic produced by a bacterium common in Nubian soil. This bacterium can flourish on the dried grain used for making two staples of the Nubian diet, beer and bread. Thus, tetracycline in their food probably explains the low incidence of typhus among ancient Nubians.

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

(A) The tetracycline deposits did not form after the bodies were buried.

Let me explain why option A is wrong.

First of all, the following version of A would be correct:

The tetracycline deposits did not form from the tetracycline that entered into the bodies after the bodies were buried.

This version is correct because the negation of this option would mean that the tetracycline deposits we see today are the result of the tetracycline that entered into Nubians' bodies after they were buried. So, this tetracycline could not have prevented typhus while they were living since it entered after their bodies were buried.

However, the original option A is wrong because the negation of the original option A means that the tetracycline deposits formed after the bodies were buried. We don't have a problem with this; the deposits could have formed after the death of those people; we just need tetracycline to be in their bodies while they were alive. Rather, "deposits" are expected to form over a long period of time. Thus, the fact that they formed after the death of Nubians doesn't mean that tetracycline was not there in the bodies of Nubians while they were alive. Tetracycline could easily have been in their bodies while they were alive, and then once they died, deposits formed over a long period of time. Simple!

Wrong. Not so simple, as it turns out.

If the T deposits formed after the fact, the argument loses its basis for maintaining that T was in the food supply. It may have been, but the argument's capacity to make such a claim, and therefore maintain that its anti-bac activity is responsible for low disease incidence, is rendered hollow. The argument could maintain that T is responsible on the basis of its having anti-bac effects and possibly being in the food supply because it flourishes on the grain used to make the food staples, but that's not what it does. It works from the premise that the T in the skeletons was T from when the skeletons were those of living people.

(A) is a necessary assumption.
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Re: The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet su [#permalink]
aletheia225 wrote:
Wrong. Not so simple, as it turns out.

If the T deposits formed after the fact, the argument loses its basis for maintaining that T was in the food supply. It may have been, but the argument's capacity to make such a claim, and therefore maintain that its anti-bac activity is responsible for low disease incidence, is rendered hollow. The argument could maintain that T is responsible on the basis of its having anti-bac effects and possibly being in the food supply because it flourishes on the grain used to make the food staples, but that's not what it does. It works from the premise that the T in the skeletons was T from when the skeletons were those of living people.

(A) is a necessary assumption.

I see. So, according to you, this official question has two correct options?
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The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet su [#permalink]
The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet surprisingly few of their skeletons show the usual evidence of this disease. The skeletons do show deposits of tetracycline, an antibiotic produced by a bacterium common in Nubian soil. This bacterium can flourish on the dried grain used for making two staples of the Nubian diet, beer and bread. Thus, tetracycline in their food probably explains the low incidence of typhus among ancient Nubians.

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

(A) The tetracycline deposits did not form after the bodies were buried.

(B) The diseases other than typhus to which the ancient Nubians were exposed would not be affected by tetracycline.

(C) Typhus is generally fatal.

(D) Tetracycline is not rendered ineffective as an antibiotic by exposure to the process involved in making bread and beer.

(E) Bread and beer were the only foods eaten by the ancient Nubians which could have contained tetracycline.

The conclusion of the argument says that tetracycline in nubians food probably explains low incidence of typhus among nubians. So the valid assumption here is tetracycline in the food prevents nubians from getting typhus.Option D defends the conclusion by saying that tetracycline is not rendered ineffective as an antibiotic by exposure to the process involved in making food.Had it been rendered ineffective how do we justify the low incidence of typhus among nubians.Remember this is an assumption on which argument relies.Option A is not a necessary assumption. Because there could be other reasons for tetracycline deposits. Author doesn't say that tetracycline enters one's body only via food. So this is not an assumption on which argument relies or dependent. Hope this helps.
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Re: The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet su [#permalink]
This is how I see it:

The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred (Okay) (TY -- Typhus),
yet
surprisingly few of their skeletons show the usual evidence of this disease (Okay, why is that? Or what evidence concludes that these people suffered from TY?).

The skeletons do show deposits of tetracycline, an antibiotic produced by a bacterium common in Nubian soil (Okay, so no answer to my previous question, but new info - Tetracycline (TC) is found in these skeletons).

This bacterium can flourish on the dried grain used for making two staples of the Nubian diet, beer and bread. (So there's a good chance that people who ate beer and bread made from dried grains inadvertently consumed this bacteria)

Thus, tetracycline in their food probably explains the low incidence of typhus among ancient Nubians. (One way or the other - somehow it is this TC that protected Nubians from TY)

Checking the answer choices: (We're looking for the negative scenario here - that its not TC consumed through good which helped in protecting people against TY)

(A) The tetracycline deposits did not form after the bodies were buried.
- So, if the deposits did form after the bodies were buried under ground (which is also where this bacteria is commonly found, so there is indeed a good chance), is this explaining how it is not the TC present in their staple diet, that protected these people from TY? Even if there's a good chance of TC being built up as a result of being underground in such grounds, can it actually prove that consuming TC is not how people got protected from TY? No.

(B) The diseases other than typhus to which the ancient Nubians were exposed would not be affected by tetracycline.
- So? What difference does it make? I need to prove TC is ineffective against TY. Just because other diseases are unaffected against TC, does not mean TY will also be unaffected

(C) Typhus is generally fatal.
- So? All this does is encourage me more to actually consume Nubian bread and beer. Wait, it is causing me to become biased now. I need to remain unbiased. Is this helping me prove TC is not the reason why people were protected? No.

(D) Tetracycline is not rendered ineffective as an antibiotic by exposure to the process involved in making bread and beer.
- Okay, what does that mean? Rendered ineffective? some sort of changes that are made in this TC (we dont know what kind of change, and it does not matter) which would cause it to lose its antibiotic behavior, when the grains (where these bacterium is also found generally) are treated for making bread and beer. If that is the case then TC cannot be the reason for protecting people against TY, unless people had other ways to consume those versions of TC that still retained their antibiotic behavior. But at the same time, we are also assuming that it is the antibiotic behavior that is protecting people against TY. Something to look out for in the other options maybe. But till now, this does look as the best choice among all.

(E) Bread and beer were the only foods eaten by the ancient Nubians which could have contained tetracycline.
- While this does answer the points I raised before (marked in italics), is it proving that TC is not the reason? No.

So the strongest choice available - Option D.
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answer explanations like the ones in the comments tell me that it is very easy to defend an answer choice when you know that it is the correct answer choice. some answer explanations on CR forum seem extremely biased toward the correct answer choice because the authors are especially trying to prove that it is correct. it would be interesting to read someone's thoughts while they are answering the question and before they have seen the answer.
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Re: The ancient Nubians inhabited an area in which typhus occurred, yet su [#permalink]
For me option A stood out as if we were to assume that "T" did form after the bodies were buried , there is a possibility that the bacteria in the soil thereafter deposited T on the body (buried but not decomposed to skeleton) which may be scraped of the typhus form the body and as the body decomposed we were left with the deposits of T but no signs of the disease.

Only consideration would be that person has to be alive for the antibiotic to work and fight the typhus, with this understanding D would make more sense.

Just my thinking on the answer choices.[/b]
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