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# Two opposing scenarios, the “arboreal” hypothesis and the “cursorial”

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Re: Two opposing scenarios, the “arboreal” hypothesis and the “cursorial” [#permalink]
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Interesting passage . Took 3 mins to read and 8 mins and 40 seconds to answer :read

-The author talks about 2 hypotheses for the origin of flight in birds
-The author then evaluates both the hypotheses

1. E - evaluate competing hypotheses concerning the origins of bird flight

2. “holds that small dinosaurs ran along the ground and stretched out their arms for balance as they leaped into the air after insect prey or, perhaps, to avoid predators"
This reasoning as to why bird ancestors might have engaged in “flight” type activities is not provided in the discussion of arboreal hypothesis. Hence option (C ) is correct.

3. “and there were no plants taller than a few meters in the environments where Archaeopteryx fossils have been found"
the fact that small animals can climb does not in and of itself undermine the arboreal hypothesis. For C to be correct, it needs to present the entire undermining fact: that many small animals can climb but cannot fly.

also, D is clearly a piece of evidence used to undermine the hypothesis - the earliest known bird did not have trees high enough to glide from, so it probably developed flight in a different way. Once you have D, there really is no reason to go and talk yourself into choosing a trap answer choice such as C.
Option (D) is a clear word justification of the above, Hence correct.

4. “Even if the animals could climb trees, this ability is not synonymous with gliding ability"
The above suggests that scientists were unsure on whether the Archaeopteryx was capable of climbing trees. Option (E) is hence the right answer choice.
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Re: Two opposing scenarios, the “arboreal” hypothesis and the “cursorial” [#permalink]
In Q4 why is option A incorrect??
It is stated that there is no convincing analysis to suggest that archaeopteryx could climb trees and fly with its forelimbs

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: Two opposing scenarios, the “arboreal” hypothesis and the “cursorial” [#permalink]
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MithilaGauri wrote:
In Q4 why is option A incorrect??
It is stated that there is no convincing analysis to suggest that archaeopteryx could climb trees and fly with its forelimbs

Posted from my mobile device

And that's what option (E) states: "Scientists are uncertain whether it was capable of climbing trees." Hence, it's the correct answer.

On the other hand, Option (A) is incorrect as there is no mention in the paragraph about presence of feathers on Archaeopteryx's limbs.
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Re: Two opposing scenarios, the “arboreal” hypothesis and the “cursorial” [#permalink]
u1983 broall

Could you please the following question to the RC?

Which of the following best describes the organization of the passage?

A traditional hypothesis is presented, analyzed, and then rejected in light of newly discovered evidence.

A hypothesis is presented and critiqued, and then a second hypothesis, supported by more-compelling evidence, is presented.

Certain scientific facts are presented, and then two hypotheses attempting to account for those facts are discussed and evaluated.

Two opposing hypotheses are introduced and contrasted, and then evidence is presented to demonstrate that both hypotheses are likely flawed.

Two hypotheses are introduced, the evidence invoked to support them is evaluated, and then a recommendation is made for further research.
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Re: Two opposing scenarios, the “arboreal” hypothesis and the “cursorial” [#permalink]
Hi Experts, Can you tell an efficient way to solve these long RC passages? I solved this with 75% accuracy but it took me a long time. For instance, Q3, in which it is asked which of the following was mentioned for discussion of A hypothesis vs B hypothesis? Now, since there are so many details here in both the hypothesis, it took me 4 minutes to figure out what was mentioned in paragraph 2 while not mentioned in paragraph 1. This is way too much time. How do I go about improving this?

I read the entire passage and answered the first question in about 4 minutes, but the third question took me 4 minutes to go through so much detail for both theories and similarly question 4th question took about 3+ minutes because I was focused on eliminating the answer choices.

GMATNinja, VeritasKarishma - can you please advise?

Please advise. thank you!
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Re: Two opposing scenarios, the “arboreal” hypothesis and the “cursorial” [#permalink]
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sdlife wrote:
Hi Experts, Can you tell an efficient way to solve these long RC passages? I solved this with 75% accuracy but it took me a long time. For instance, Q3, in which it is asked which of the following was mentioned for discussion of A hypothesis vs B hypothesis? Now, since there are so many details here in both the hypothesis, it took me 4 minutes to figure out what was mentioned in paragraph 2 while not mentioned in paragraph 1. This is way too much time. How do I go about improving this?

I read the entire passage and answered the first question in about 4 minutes, but the third question took me 4 minutes to go through so much detail for both theories and similarly question 4th question took about 3+ minutes because I was focused on eliminating the answer choices.

GMATNinja, VeritasKarishma - can you please advise?

Please advise. thank you!

sdlife - Actually, I would say the passage is not complicated. It is structured in a really neat fashion and I don't have to waste time looking for an answer at the wrong place.
I give a quick read to the passage and this is what I note:
Passage 1 - Talks about "arboreal". In second half, talks about "issues with arboreal" taking example of Archaeopteryx.
Passage 2 - Talks about "cursorial". Doesn't talk much about issues of cursorial. Seems more convinced with this one.

Answer 1 is straight forward then.
Answer 2, I agree is a bit more complicated to locate though my strategy was to focus on the second paragraph. I looked for things that cursorial did discuss and then cross checked to see which one was missing from first paragraph.
Answer 3 was very easy to locate. I focused on the second half on first paragraph. First point - not known whether could climb trees. Didn't find it in the options. Second point - No trees tall enough - found it in options. Answer
Answer 4 was then obviously (E) from the analysis of answer 3 above.
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Re: Two opposing scenarios, the “arboreal” hypothesis and the “cursorial” [#permalink]
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sdlife wrote:
Hi Experts, Can you tell an efficient way to solve these long RC passages? I solved this with 75% accuracy but it took me a long time. For instance, Q3, in which it is asked which of the following was mentioned for discussion of A hypothesis vs B hypothesis? Now, since there are so many details here in both the hypothesis, it took me 4 minutes to figure out what was mentioned in paragraph 2 while not mentioned in paragraph 1. This is way too much time. How do I go about improving this?

I read the entire passage and answered the first question in about 4 minutes, but the third question took me 4 minutes to go through so much detail for both theories and similarly question 4th question took about 3+ minutes because I was focused on eliminating the answer choices.

GMATNinja, VeritasKarishma - can you please advise?

Please advise. thank you!

Great analysis, VeritasKarishma!

sdlife, also remember that you do not need to get ALL of the questions right to get a great verbal score! If you are struggling that much with a question, make an educated guess and move on! Otherwise, you'll find yourself rushing and making mistakes on questions that you SHOULD get right.

If you're looking for a general framework for how to get a bit more efficient on RC, you might enjoy this thread, or potentially this video. I'm not sure whether they'll resonate with you, but they might be worth a quick peek.

Manukaran wrote:
Can someone explain why not option C for Q3.

Question #3 asks which answer choice undermines the "arboreal hypothesis." Let's take a look at answer choice (C):
Quote:
Many small animals are capable of climbing trees.

This one is tempting because the author does mention it while listing potential flaws in the arboreal hypothesis. Remember, the arboreal hypothesis holds that the ancestors of birds started by climbing trees and gradually began to glide to the ground, and then to fly. So if many small animals are capable of climbing trees, then it is possible that some of those animals eventually began to glide and then to fly. Thus, by itself, the fact that "many small animals are capable of climbing trees" is totally consistent with the arboreal hypothesis!

More context is given in the full sentence from the passage: "Many small animals, and even some goats and kangaroos, are capable of climbing trees but are not gliders." The last bit of the sentence -- that animals that are capable of climbing trees are not necessarily gliders -- is the part that really undermines potential evidence for the arboreal hypothesis. If certain animals can climb but cannot glide, then any arboreal adaptations in Archaeopteryx cannot be used as evidence that it began gliding down from trees.

Because (C) does not include the key information that potentially undermines the arboreal hypothesis, it is not the correct answer.

Quote:
(D) Plants in Archaeopteryx’s known habitats were relatively small

Again, the arboreal hypothesis "holds that bird ancestors began to fly by climbing trees and gliding down from branches with the help of incipient feathers: the height of trees provides a good starting place for launching flight, especially through gliding."

This hypothesis relies on the height of trees to provide a good starting place for launching flight. Sure, we don't know exactly how tall the trees need to be, but the fact that "there were no plants taller than a few meters in the environments where Archaeopteryx fossils have been found" certainly undermines the arboreal hypothesis.

(D) is the best choice.

I hope that helps!
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Re: Two opposing scenarios, the “arboreal” hypothesis and the “cursorial” [#permalink]
4. The passage suggests which of the following regarding the climbing ability of Archaeopteryx?

(A) Its ability to climb trees was likely hindered by the presence of incipient feathers on its forelimbs.
(B) It was probably better at climbing trees than were its maniraptoran dinosaur cousins.
(C) It had certain physical adaptations that suggest it was skilled at climbing trees.
(D) Scientists have recently discovered fossil evidence suggesting it could not climb trees.
(E) Scientists are uncertain whether it was capable of climbing trees

Can someone please help with question 4, as to why the answer choice is E and C. Thank you in advance.

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Re: Two opposing scenarios, the “arboreal” hypothesis and the “cursorial” [#permalink]
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hemantbafna wrote:
4. The passage suggests which of the following regarding the climbing ability of Archaeopteryx?

(A) Its ability to climb trees was likely hindered by the presence of incipient feathers on its forelimbs.
(B) It was probably better at climbing trees than were its maniraptoran dinosaur cousins.
(C) It had certain physical adaptations that suggest it was skilled at climbing trees.
(D) Scientists have recently discovered fossil evidence suggesting it could not climb trees.
(E) Scientists are uncertain whether it was capable of climbing trees

Can someone please help with question 4, as to why the answer choice is E and C. Thank you in advance.

GMATNinja

Hi hemantbafna,

Option C is incorrect as there is no concrete evidence presented to suggest that the Archaeopteryx had certain physical adaptations, that suggest it was skilled at climbing. Author is only hypothesizing, as he mentions most of the times: "Even if the animals could climb trees.......", which in turn makes Option E a strong choice, as the throughout the passage, author seems to be uncertain about whether the Archaeopteryx was capable of climbing trees.

Let me know if this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: Two opposing scenarios, the “arboreal” hypothesis and the “cursorial” [#permalink]
bm2201 wrote:
hemantbafna wrote:
4. The passage suggests which of the following regarding the climbing ability of Archaeopteryx?

(A) Its ability to climb trees was likely hindered by the presence of incipient feathers on its forelimbs.
(B) It was probably better at climbing trees than were its maniraptoran dinosaur cousins.
(C) It had certain physical adaptations that suggest it was skilled at climbing trees.
(D) Scientists have recently discovered fossil evidence suggesting it could not climb trees.
(E) Scientists are uncertain whether it was capable of climbing trees

Can someone please help with question 4, as to why the answer choice is E and C. Thank you in advance.

GMATNinja

Hi hemantbafna,

Option C is incorrect as there is no concrete evidence presented to suggest that the Archaeopteryx had certain physical adaptations, that suggest it was skilled at climbing. Author is only hypothesizing, as he mentions most of the times: "Even if the animals could climb trees.......", which in turn makes Option E a strong choice, as the throughout the passage, author seems to be uncertain about whether the Archaeopteryx was capable of climbing trees.

Let me know if this helps.
Thanks.

Thank you that helps in understanding. The author just hypotheses rather than stating that Archaeopteryx can climb.
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Two opposing scenarios, the “arboreal” hypothesis and the “cursorial” [#permalink]
VeritasKarishma GMATNinja - Can you please help in highlighting the activities from the passage that are referred in option C ?

2. Which of the following is included in the discussion of the cursorial hypothesis but not in the discussion of the arboreal hypothesis?

(A) discussion of some of the features of Archaeopteryx
(B) description of the environment known to have been inhabited by bird ancestors
(C) possible reason why bird ancestors might have been engaging in activities that eventually evolved into flight
(D) description of the obvious features of animals with gliding ability
(E) An estimate of the amount of time it took for bird ancestors to evolve the kind of flapping flight that allowed them to become completely airborne
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Two opposing scenarios, the “arboreal” hypothesis and the “cursorial” [#permalink]
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PanpaliaAnshul wrote:
VeritasKarishma GMATNinja - Can you please help in highlighting the activities from the passage that are referred in option C ?

2. Which of the following is included in the discussion of the cursorial hypothesis but not in the discussion of the arboreal hypothesis?

(C) possible reason why bird ancestors might have been engaging in activities that eventually evolved into flight

What are the activities that eventually evolved into flight?

Arboreal hypothesis - climbing trees and gliding down from branches

Cursorial hypothesis - ran along the ground and stretched out their arms as they leaped into the air

Why were the bird ancestors engaging in these activities?

For arboreal hypothesis we are not given why they climbed trees and glided down from branches.

For cursorial hypothesis we are given that the ran along the ground and stretched out their arms for balance as they leaped into the air after insect prey or, perhaps, to avoid predators
We are given why they were carrying out these activities that evolved into flight.
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Re: Two opposing scenarios, the arboreal hypothesis and the cursorial [#permalink]
I was confused with question 1 with option A. Here two hypothesis are presented and authord did give an evedience of Archaeopteryx to counter these hypothesis. So why can not A be the answer?
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Re: Two opposing scenarios, the arboreal hypothesis and the cursorial [#permalink]
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AbhishekDhanraJ72 wrote:
I was confused with question 1 with option A. Here two hypothesis are presented and authord did give an evedience of Archaeopteryx to counter these hypothesis. So why can not A be the answer?

While the passage does present evidence that challenges certain aspects of both the "arboreal" and "cursorial" hypotheses, it does more than just present counter evidence. The passage evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of each hypothesis, discusses their logical consistency, and considers various factors that support or undermine them. The intention of the passage is not solely to present counter evidence but to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the competing hypotheses.

Therefore, answer option (A) is not the best choice because it does not capture the full scope of the passage, which goes beyond presenting counter evidence to the hypotheses. The passage also aims to analyze and compare the hypotheses, consider their feasibility, and discuss supporting evidence for each.
Re: Two opposing scenarios, the arboreal hypothesis and the cursorial [#permalink]
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