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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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28 Oct 2018, 01:48
Hi,

I have a confusion between choice C and D. I think even option C can??be the correct answer. Option C states 'Their certainty that population declines in general are caused by environmental degradation is not warranted.' As per my understanding, this is what the author believes about these environmentalists since?? in paragraph 3 the author talks about different types of population declines(habitual cycles being one of them). So, it's not necessarily true that if there is a population decline, environmental degradation would be the cause. So on what grounds can I eliminate optoin C?

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

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04 Nov 2018, 23:52
hazelnut
aragonn

In question two
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.
This clearly shows that these environmentalists believed specifically that degradation is the reason. SO the correct answer seems C

In D They have drawn premature conclusions concerning a crisis in amphibian populations from recent reports of declines.
It might be the case that the environmentalists were concerned only of the decline and not the extinction. So, the answer doesnt seem correct.
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Re: There are recent reports of apparently drastic declines in amphibian  [#permalink]

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05 Nov 2018, 04:08
singh8891 - What you have underlined is not the view of author, but it is the view of ' many environmentalists'. Author's view is given in P2. Author is not so sure about it. this is covered in P2. D is on these lines. Let me know if you need more clarity.
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Re: There are recent reports of apparently drastic declines in amphibian  [#permalink]

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17 Nov 2018, 05:15
singh8891

Question 2 asks about the opinion the author has in regard to the views of the environmentalists.

Paragraph 1 states that the environmental lists is based on these reports that show decline.
Paragraph 2 states that the author thinks, the decline is not necessarily bad because some amphibians in the past were able to recover after they have declined.

Thus, the author thinks that the view of the environmentalists, based on the latest report, is kind of premature because
1. long-term data is not really available, so the reports are may not as accurate as the environmentalists believe.
2.some amphibians wer able to recover, so why should it not be possible that the ones now in threat are also able to do so.

Hence, the conclusion from the environmentalists is premature because it is at the moment not possible to 100% conclude what will happen.

Hope this helps you.
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Re: There are recent reports of apparently drastic declines in amphibian  [#permalink]

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

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

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

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14 Apr 2019, 03:01
AjiteshArun pikolo2510 GMATNinja manishasingh
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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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 ) 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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Re: There are recent reports of apparently drastic declines in amphibian  [#permalink]

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

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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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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.

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.
Re: There are recent reports of apparently drastic declines in amphibian   [#permalink] 28 Mar 2020, 10:14

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