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There are recent reports of apparently drastic declines in amphibian

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Re: There are recent reports of apparently drastic declines in amphibian  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jan 2019, 07:02
3/4 on the first 4 questions in 10:13 Total 12:23 on the 6 questions and 5/6 overall. Got the first question wrong because I somehow thought the word allay was to bring attention when in fact it means the exact opposite! Ouch.
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New post 28 Feb 2019, 13:17
Turkish wrote:
Can anyone help me with q4?

Not sure why D is true


4. According to the passage, each of the following is true of endangered amphibian species EXCEPT:

(A) They are among the rarest kinds of amphibians.=> An endangered population is always rare, almost always small, and, by definition, under constant threat of extinction even without a proximate cause in human activities.

(B) They generally have populations that are small in size.=> An endangered population is always rare, almost always small, and, by definition, under constant threat of extinction even without a proximate cause in human activities.

(C) They are in constant danger of extinction.=> An endangered population is always rare, almost always small, and, by definition, under constant threat of extinction even without a proximate cause in human activities.

(D) Those with decreasing populations are the most likely candidates for immediate extinction.=> This is not mentioned by passage then it is the answer, the question is asking about irrelevant info (Except)

(E) The are in danger of extinction due to events that sometimes have nothing to do with human activities.=> An endangered population is always rare, almost always small, and, by definition, under constant threat of extinction even without a proximate cause in human activities.
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Re: There are recent reports of apparently drastic declines in amphibian  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Mar 2019, 00:48
bpdulog wrote:
1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

(A) assess the validity of a certain view
(B) distinguish between two phenomena
(C) identify the causes of a problem
(D) describe a disturbing trend
(E) allay concern about a particular phenomenon

Why is B wrong? Most of the passage is explaining the difference between decline in population and extinction


B is wrong because, critically, the question is asking for the primary purpose of the passage.

The primary purpose of the passage is to assess the claims made in the first paragraph, whereas explaining any difference between declines in population & extinction is surely secondary. The author indicates that this is an evaluation in para 2 when he/she states, "To evaluate these claims...". He/She then goes on to offer a number of different criticisms/evaluations of the arguments made in paragraph 1, arguments which constitute the remainder of the passage.

Hope it helps :)

1. The primary purpose of the passage is to
(A) assess the validity of a certain view 
Correct, “evaluate these claims” mentioned in para 2, which the author then goes on to do for remainder of passage

(B) distinguish between two phenomena 
difference between extinction & decline red herring here, this is secondary – the author’s purpose is to evaluate claims made in para 1

(C) identify the causes of a problem 
author isn’t primarily concerned with identifying causes of decline/ extinctions; he indicates a few in paras 2 & 3 but he is trying to evaluate the conclusions drawn from the trends, not what underlying causes are

(D) describe a disturbing trend 
this misses the point, author clearly mentions he is evaluating the claims trend, and does so by offering counter arguments

(E) allay concern about a particular phenomenon 
although concerns re. this trend may be somewhat allayed by his criticisms, final para indicates that we don’t have great data & we may doom species if there’s inaction, undermining this answer. Moreover, his primary aim is to get to the truth about the claims, rather than persuade the reader that they shouldn’t be concerned.
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New post 02 Mar 2019, 01:17
2
Question 2
2. It can be inferred from the passage that the author believes which of the following to be true of the environmentalists mentioned in lines 5-6?

(A) They have wrongly chosen to focus on anecdotal reports rather than on the long-term data that are currently available concerning amphibians.
Specifically states “there is not enough long-term scientific data” - incorrect

(B) Their recommendations are flawed because their research focuses too narrowly on a single category of animal species.
Para 3, “persistent declines, especially in large populations, indicate a changed ecological context” – so large population declines can indicate bad news – answer incorrect

(C) Their certainty that population declines in general are caused by environmental degradation is not warranted.
Watch-out words – “certainty” & “in general” – passage doesn’t indicate these environmentalists are certain (a very binary claim), or that population declines in general are caused by degradation – they are suggesting that this specific decline in amphibian population is an indicator of environmental degradation.

(D) They have drawn premature conclusions concerning a crisis in amphibian populations from recent reports of declines.
Correct – author argues in passage that their conclusions might be false & may in fact be indicative of e.g. normal fluctuations in population. He/she doesn’t fully dismiss these claims however, therefore can be inferred that he believes they are ‘premature’ – meaning conclusions have been drawn too soon without enough data.

(E) They have overestimated the effects of chance events on trends in amphibian populations.
Author states that there may be ‘random factors’ involved in this trend; this is not attributed to environmentalists
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New post 22 Mar 2019, 03:23
Hey aragonn can you please brief why in Q2 C is wrong ?
Since the author does make a point that several factors could have led to this effect but clearly there ain't enough evidence to prove that this is case of environmental degradation.
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New post 14 Apr 2019, 03:01
AjiteshArun pikolo2510 GMATNinja manishasingh
Can you please help in Q2 C vs D and Q3 D vs E
Why C is trap in Q2 ?
and D in Q3 ?
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Re: There are recent reports of apparently drastic declines in amphibian  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Apr 2019, 05:10
idkksh wrote:
There are recent reports of apparently drastic declines in amphibian populations and of extinctions of a number of the world's endangered amphibian species. These declines, if real, may be signs of a general trend toward extinction, and many environmentalists have claimed that immediate environmental action is necessary to remedy this "amphibian crisis", which, in their view, is an indicator of general and catastrophic environmental degradation due to human activity.


2. It can be inferred from the passage that the author believes which of the following to be true of the environmentalists mentioned in lines 5-6?

(A) They have wrongly chosen to focus on anecdotal reports rather than on the long-term data that are currently available concerning amphibians.

To me, this is a very tempting answer (I chose it :facepalm_man:) The first paragraph says the environmentalists are calling it this an "amphibian crisis," which sounds pretty dramatic and premature. To me, it sounds like these environmentalists are a bit excited and overreacting to the reports that populations are declining. They want to get involved and have "immediate environmental action." Let's hold this one.

(B) Their recommendations are flawed because their research focuses too narrowly on a single category of animal species.

"Their research" jumped out at me. Do we know that this is the environmentalists research? Nope. The environmentalists are just reacting to the release of said research.

(C) Their certainty that population declines in general are caused by environmental degradation is not warranted.

May or may not be true. We don't really know all of the factors. Environmental degradation could certainly be a major factor.

(D) They have drawn premature conclusions concerning a crisis in amphibian populations from recent reports of declines.

The author definitely thinks they are drawing a premature conclusion. 2nd sentence in 2nd paragraph: "A declining population should not be confused with an endangered one." This passage opens up with the author saying that environmentalists are all up in arms about this "amphibian crisis," and then the author counters the environmentalists with historical data and is basically saying that they should "hold their horses," but at the same time, there's not much that we do know for sure.

This is definitely inferred.


(E) They have overestimated the effects of chance events on trends in amphibian populations.

Similar to (D), they are overreacting, but not necessarily "overestimating the effects of chance events." The envionmentalists don't claim anything about "chance events" in this paragraph.

Between (A) and (D)...

(A) They have put too much focus on the reports of amphibian population decline.

(D) They drew premature conclusion concerning amphibian population decline.

I see how (D) is better now, but would love GMATNinja to provide a better explanation.

Hopefully this helps someone... I just wanted to write down my thoughts.

idkksh wrote:
There are recent reports of apparently drastic declines in amphibian populations and of extinctions of a number of the world's endangered amphibian species. These declines, if real, may be signs of a general trend toward extinction, and many environmentalists have claimed that immediate environmental action is necessary to remedy this "amphibian crisis", which, in their view, is an indicator of general and catastrophic environmental degradation due to human activity.

To evaluate these claims, it is useful to make a preliminary distinction that is far too often ignored. A declining population should not be confused with an endangered one. An endangered population is always rare, almost always small, and, by definition, under constant threat of extinction even without a proximate cause in human activities. Its disappearance, however unfortunate, should come as no great surprise. Moreover, chance events—which may indicate nothing about the direction of trends in population size—may lead to its extinction. The probability of extinction due to such random factors depends on the population size and is independent of the prevailing direction of change in that size.

For biologists, population declines are potentially more worrisome than extinctions. Persistent declines, especially in large populations, indicate a changed ecological context. Even here, distinctions must again be made among declines that are only apparent (in the sense that they are part of habitual cycles or of normal fluctuations), declines that take a population to some lower but still acceptable level, and those that threaten extinction (e.g., by taking the number of individuals below the minimum viable population). Anecdotal reports of population decreases cannot distinguish among these possibilities, and some amphibian populations have shown strong fluctuations in the past.

It is Indisputably true that there is simply not enough long-term scientific data on amphibian populations to enable researches to identify real declines in amphibian populations. Many fairly common amphibian species declared all but extinct after severe declines in the 1950s and 1960s have subsequently recovered, and so might the apparently declining populations that have generated the current appearance of an amphibian crisis. Unfortunately, long-term data will not soon be forthcoming, and postponing environmental action while we wait for it may doom species and whole ecosystems to extinction.

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New post 14 Nov 2019, 07:51
After first round of elimination i was left with option A and E. I went ahead with E. The main reason being, the passage ends with raising some level of concern.
Can someone please explain me what I was doing wrong. I am still not convinced with why A is correct and E incorrect.

1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

(A) assess the validity of a certain view
(B) distinguish between two phenomena
(C) identify the causes of a problem
(D) describe a disturbing trend
(E) allay concern about a particular phenomenon
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New post 24 Mar 2020, 20:20
I have few doubts in below questions.

Q1- I think primary purpose of this passage is discussing about the declining trend, hence I marked option C.

Q4- In option E "The are in danger of extinction due to events that sometimes have nothing to do with human activities."

How we can be sure human activities has nothing to do with extinction, it is still ambiguous as per passage.

Q6- Why option B "To cast doubt on an assertion made in the previous sentence" is wrong ?

GMATNinja and experts, kindly clear these doubts.
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Re: There are recent reports of apparently drastic declines in amphibian  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2020, 10:14
hazelnut wrote:
idkksh wrote:
Declines in amphibian populations

There are recent reports of apparently drastic declines in amphibian populations and of extinctions of a number of the world's endangered amphibian species. These declines, if real, may be signs of a general trend toward extinction, and many environmentalists have claimed that immediate environmental action is necessary to remedy this "amphibian crisis", which, in their view, is an indicator of general and catastrophic environmental degradation due to human activity.

To evaluate these claims, it is useful to make a preliminary distinction that is far too often ignored. A declining population should not be confused with an endangered one. An endangered population is always rare, almost always small, and, by definition, under constant threat of extinction even without a proximate cause in human activities. Its disappearance, however unfortunate, should come as no great surprise. Moreover, chance events—which may indicate nothing about the direction of trends in population size—may lead to its extinction. The probability of extinction due to such random factors depends on the population size and is independent of the prevailing direction of change in that size.

For biologists, population declines are potentially more worrisome than extinctions. Persistent declines, especially in large populations, indicate a changed ecological context. Even here, distinctions must again be made among declines that are only apparent (in the sense that they are part of habitual cycles or of normal fluctuations), declines that take a population to some lower but still acceptable level, and those that threaten extinction (e.g., by taking the number of individuals below the minimum viable population). Anecdotal reports of population decreases cannot distinguish among these possibilities, and some amphibian populations have shown strong fluctuations in the past.

It is Indisputably true that there is simply not enough long-term scientific data on amphibian populations to enable researches to identify real declines in amphibian populations. Many fairly common amphibian species declared all but extinct after severe declines in the 1950s and 1960s have subsequently recovered, and so might the apparently declining populations that have generated the current appearance of an amphibian crisis. Unfortunately, long-term data will not soon be forthcoming, and postponing environmental action while we wait for it may doom species and whole ecosystems to extinction.

6. Which of the following best describes the function of the sentence in lines 35-38 [Anecdotal reports of population decreases cannot distinguish among these possibilities, and some amphibian populations have shown strong fluctuations in the past.]?

(A) To give an example of a particular kind of study
(B) To cast doubt on an assertion made in the previous sentence
(C) To raise an objection to a view presented in the first paragraph
(D) To provide support for a view presented in the first paragraph
(E) To introduce an idea that will be countered in the following paragraph



Passage: Amphibian Populations

Question: Purpose

The Simple Story


According to reports, certain amphibian populations are undergoing drastic decline or even extinction. Environmentalists believe that these changes are due to human activity. The passage explains how to evaluate these claims. First, it draws a distinction between a declining population and an endangered population. Then, it explains that a decline may be worse than an extinction, but may also be harmless. Finally, it concludes that there is not enough data to determine whether the amphibian population is actually declining, and whether that decline represents a crisis. However, since there is limited data, and inaction could cause serious problems, the passage argues that people should still act to protect the amphibians.

Sample Passage Map

Here is one way to map this passage. (Note: abbreviate as desired!)

P1:

- Amph declines & extinctions: bad sign?
- Env.: action needed, declines caused by humans

P2:

- Evaluate env. Claims
- Decline doesn’t = endangered

P3:

- Declines worse than extinctions
- But, some declines are okay

P4:

- Limited data
- Don’t know if amphibians are really declining?
- But: should take action now anyways


Step 1: Identify the Question

The phrase function of the sentence in the question stem indicates that this is a Purpose question.

Step 2: Find the Support

Reread the sentence mentioned in the question stem and enough of the surrounding passage to provide context.

“Distinctions must again be made among declines that are only apparent…declines that take a population to some lower but still acceptable level, and those that threaten extinction. Anecdotal reports of population decreases cannot distinguish among these possibilities, and some amphibian populations have shown strong fluctuations in the past.”

The bolded sentence above is the sentence that the question stem refers to.

Step 3: Predict an Answer

The sentence describes being unable to distinguish among possibilities. The possibilities mentioned are the various possible scenarios in which a population declines. The author describes these multiple scenarios in order to express that the environmentalists’ worst-case scenario might or might not be correct: the population decline could be dangerous, but it could also be a random fluctuation. The function of this sentence is to summarize one possible reason that the environmentalists’ belief is too pessimistic.

Step 4: Eliminate and Find a Match

(A) The sentence addresses anecdotal reports, not studies.

(B) The previous sentence serves the same purpose as the sentence referenced in the question: to note that there are multiple possible scenarios under which a population could decline.

(C) CORRECT. This sentence raises an objection to the environmentalists’ view. The environmentalists believe that there is only one possible scenario in the case of the amphibians, that of a dangerous decline caused by human activity. The sentence claims that there are multiple different possible situations, only some of which are dangerous.

(D) In this sentence, the author disagrees with the environmentalists’ view by asserting that their analysis is not the only possible one.

(E) The following paragraph agrees with the sentiment of this sentence, which is that there is not enough data available to fully analyze the causes and extent of population declines.


Struggling between choices C and E on this question. Looking for a clear explanation.

My thought process:
- Lines 35-38 argues that anecdotal reports of declines are unreliable, and not necessarily an indicator of nearing extinction.
- I initially chose C, but then I read back in the first paragraph and they say "if real", which to me seems to acknowledge the lack of reliability of the anecdotal reports and makes an argument of "if they are true, then this is how we should respond". This lack of clarity led me to shelf answer choice C.
- I ended up choosing E because, while I can see that the first part of the concluding paragraph agrees that the data isn't enough, he introduces an idea which is counter to the notion of the data being insufficient to act on --the author seems to infer that anecdotal reports and limited data are all we have to go off of and we have no choice but to act.
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New post 07 Apr 2020, 12:52
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Harsh2111s wrote:
I have few doubts in below questions.

Q1- I think primary purpose of this passage is discussing about the declining trend, hence I marked option C.

Q4- In option E "The are in danger of extinction due to events that sometimes have nothing to do with human activities."

How we can be sure human activities has nothing to do with extinction, it is still ambiguous as per passage.

Q6- Why option B "To cast doubt on an assertion made in the previous sentence" is wrong ?

GMATNinja and experts, kindly clear these doubts.

I'll put Q1, Q4, and Q6 in their own posts.

Question 1


For primary purpose questions, first break down the passage to determine the purpose of each paragraph:

    Paragraph 1: the author introduces the claim of "many environmentalists ("immediate environmental action is necessary to remedy this "amphibian crisis", which, in their view, is an indicator of general and catastrophic environmental degradation due to human activity.")

    Paragraph 2: the author discusses something that would be useful to evaluate that claim (whether a species is actually endangered or just declining)

    Paragraph 3: the author discusses the implications of declining vs. endangered species, with further nuance within the "declining" category

    Paragraph 4: the author states that we don't have enough data to say that species are truly declining. Then, he/she says that this data won't be coming soon, and "postponing environmental action while we wait for it may doom species and whole ecosystems to extinction."

Overall, the author introduces a claim, attempts to evaluate that claim, and then presents a potential outcome of postponing action regarding the claim.

Let's go through the answer choices:
Quote:
(A) assess the validity of a certain view

This fits well -- the author's primary concern is to assess the claim made by environmentalists. (A) is looking good.

Quote:
(B) distinguish between two phenomena

The author does distinguish between declining and endangered species. However, he/she does so in order to evaluate the environmentalists' claim -- because this determination is only included as piece of the author's overall point, it can't be the author's primary purpose for writing the passage. Eliminate (B).

Quote:
(C) identify the causes of a problem

The author is concerned with whether there IS a problem, as claimed by many environmentalists. His/her primary concern is not to identify what might have CAUSED the problem, so (C) is out.

Quote:
(D) describe a disturbing trend

Again, the author attempts to ASSESS the validity of a claim about a trend, not to DESCRIBE that trend. (D) is out.

Quote:
(E) allay concern about a particular phenomenon

"Allay" means to diminish or alleviate concerns. In the last paragraph, the author states that postponing action may "doom species and whole ecosystems to extinction," which certainly doesn't diminish my concerns. The author argues that we don't have enough information to adequately assess the issue, but he/she still thinks that failing to act could have extremely severe consequences.

Because the author doesn't allay concerns about declining populations, (E) is not the right answer. That leaves us with (A), which is the correct answer to question 1.

I hope this helps!
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Re: There are recent reports of apparently drastic declines in amphibian  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Apr 2020, 12:53
2
Harsh2111s wrote:
Q4- In option E "The are in danger of extinction due to events that sometimes have nothing to do with human activities."

How we can be sure human activities has nothing to do with extinction, it is still ambiguous as per passage.

Question 4


This question asks us about "endangered amphibians." The most relevant piece of the passage describes "endangered populations," which must include endangered amphibians. Here is that piece:

    "An endangered population is always rare, almost always small, and, by definition, under constant threat of extinction even without a proximate cause in human activities. Its disappearance, however unfortunate, should come as no great surprise. Moreover, chance events—which may indicate nothing about the direction of trends in population size—may lead to its extinction."

Quote:
According to the passage, each of the following is true of endangered amphibian species EXCEPT:

Quote:
(A) They are among the rarest kinds of amphibians.

Yup, an endangered population is "always rare," so (A) is true. Eliminate (A).

Quote:
(B) They generally have populations that are small in size.

(B) is true because endangered populations are "almost always small." (B) is out.

Quote:
(C) They are in constant danger of extinction.

(C) is almost stated word-for-word in the passage, so it is true. Get rid of (C).

Quote:
(D) Those with decreasing populations are the most likely candidates for immediate extinction.

The passage states that endangered species can be wiped out by chance events that "indicate nothing about the direction of trends in population size." In other words, a random factor could cause an endangered species to go extinct whether its population is growing, declining, or staying the same.

This contradicts (D), so keep this one in.

Quote:
(E) The are in danger of extinction due to events that sometimes have nothing to do with human activities.

Endangered species are "under constant threat of extinction even without a proximate cause in human activities." (E) is true, so it can be eliminated.

(D) is the correct answer to question 4.

Question #6 coming in the next post...
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There are recent reports of apparently drastic declines in amphibian  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Apr 2020, 12:55
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Harsh2111s wrote:
Q6- Why option B "To cast doubt on an assertion made in the previous sentence" is wrong ?

You're not alone in asking about question #6...
coinsy wrote:
Struggling between choices C and E on this question. Looking for a clear explanation.

My thought process:
- Lines 35-38 argues that anecdotal reports of declines are unreliable, and not necessarily an indicator of nearing extinction.
- I initially chose C, but then I read back in the first paragraph and they say "if real", which to me seems to acknowledge the lack of reliability of the anecdotal reports and makes an argument of "if they are true, then this is how we should respond". This lack of clarity led me to shelf answer choice C.
- I ended up choosing E because, while I can see that the first part of the concluding paragraph agrees that the data isn't enough, he introduces an idea which is counter to the notion of the data being insufficient to act on --the author seems to infer that anecdotal reports and limited data are all we have to go off of and we have no choice but to act.

Question 6


Question 6 asks about the function of the following sentence:

    "Anecdotal reports of population decreases cannot distinguish among these possibilities, and some amphibian populations have shown strong fluctuations in the past."

(B) states that the purpose of this sentence is:
Quote:
to cast doubt on an assertion made in the previous sentence.

The previous sentence is:

    "Even here, distinctions must again be made among declines that are only apparent (in the sense that they are part of habitual cycles or of normal fluctuations), declines that take a population to some lower but still acceptable level, and those that threaten extinction (e.g., by taking the number of individuals below the minimum viable population)."

The assertion made in this sentence is that "distinctions must again be made" among different kinds of declining species. The sentence discussed in question 6 says that we cannot make these distinctions using anecdotal reports.

So, the sentence in question doesn't cast doubt on the assertion made in the previous sentence -- the author still believes that we should make these distinctions. He/she just says that we can't do that with certain kinds of reports.

Compare that to (C):
Quote:
(C) To raise an objection to a view presented in the first paragraph

In the first paragraph, the environmentalists claim that reports of amphibian population decline indicate "general and catastrophic environmental degradation due to human activity." By stating that certain reports can't give us all of the information we need to evaluate that claim, the author is raising an objection to the environmentalists' view.

To answer @coinsy's question -- yes, the first paragraph specifies that the environmentalists will only hold their claim if the reported population declines are real. However, being "real" doesn't help to determine which kind of population decline is occurring -- is it part of a normal fluctuation? Or one that will take the population to a low but acceptable level? Or will it truly threaten extinction?

In saying that this determination cannot be made, the author raises an objection even if amphibian populations are declining, as reported.

(C) is the correct answer to question 6.

I hope that helps!
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There are recent reports of apparently drastic declines in amphibian   [#permalink] 07 Apr 2020, 12:55

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There are recent reports of apparently drastic declines in amphibian

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