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V05-06

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V05-06 [#permalink]

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Which of the following best completes the passage below?

At a recent conference on the evolution of humans, a team of scientists proposed the theory that the millions of sweat glands in human skin evolved as a way to keep humans cool while running over long distances or for extended periods. The scientists theorize that this ability developed as a hunting strategy that depended on out-enduring prey by pushing animals to overheat. One of the first things that must be shown, of course, before this theory can be commonly accepted is that .


A. endurance is an advantage for running long distances or for extended periods
B. animals can be pushed to a point where overheating will make them easier prey
C. there are enough sweat glands in human skin to keep humans from overheating
D. early humans were the only hunters to employ this strategy
E. the scientific community can agree on the meaning of “long distances”
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re V05-06 [#permalink]

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Official Solution:


Which of the following best completes the passage below?

At a recent conference on the evolution of humans, a team of scientists proposed the theory that the millions of sweat glands in human skin evolved as a way to keep humans cool while running over long distances or for extended periods. The scientists theorize that this ability developed as a hunting strategy that depended on out-enduring prey by pushing animals to overheat. One of the first things that must be shown, of course, before this theory can be commonly accepted is that .


A. endurance is an advantage for running long distances or for extended periods
B. animals can be pushed to a point where overheating will make them easier prey
C. there are enough sweat glands in human skin to keep humans from overheating
D. early humans were the only hunters to employ this strategy
E. the scientific community can agree on the meaning of “long distances”


Situation: Scientists propose that human sweat glands evolved to aid in hunting animals.

Reasoning: What would have to be shown to make the theory likely to be commonly accepted? The scientists at the conference propose a link between human sweat glands and the ability to hunt animals as prey. Millions of sweat glands, the scientists theorize, would allow humans a great deal of endurance, which would then allow them to out-endure their prey, or run animals to the point of overheating. What must be shown is that an ability to endure longer than animals would be an advantage to hunting.
  1. Endurance is the definition of what is needed for running long distances or for extended periods; this does not need to be proved.
  2. Scientists theorize that sweat glands evolved as part of a hunting strategy. It must be shown, then, that out-enduring animals would make them easier prey.
  3. The purpose of sweat glands in humans was to out-endure prey so maybe even if humans overheat, they can out-endure prey if prey overheats earlier. It is not required to be shown that humans do not over heat at all.
  4. Whether or not any other early hunters used this strategy is irrelevant to a discussion of whether it worked for humans.
  5. In the context of this argument, long distances means merely as far as an animal can run. Agreement on a specific measure of distance is not required.

Answer: B
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Re: V05-06 [#permalink]

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New post 16 Aug 2016, 02:20
Can we also think of choice C as incorrect because the purpose of sweat glands was to out-endure prey so maybe even if humans overheat, they can out-endure prey if prey overheats earlier, because I am not cool with the idea of using general information in CR questions.
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Re: V05-06 [#permalink]

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New post 16 Aug 2016, 04:31
Navinder wrote:
Can we also think of choice C as incorrect because the purpose of sweat glands was to out-endure prey so maybe even if humans overheat, they can out-endure prey if prey overheats earlier, because I am not cool with the idea of using general information in CR questions.


Thank you for the valid input. The explanation has been modified.
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Re V05-06 [#permalink]

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New post 12 Dec 2017, 18:45
I think this is a poor-quality question and I don't agree with the explanation.
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Re: V05-06 [#permalink]

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New post 12 Dec 2017, 18:48
The theory is (let's call it R): " millions of sweat glands in human skin evolved as a way to keep humans cool while running over long distances or for extended periods. ". Then it says that R is based on (let's call it Q): "this ability developed as a hunting strategy that depended on (let's call it P) out-enduring prey by pushing animals to overheat".

So we have a P that is causing Q, which is in turn causing R. (P -> Q -> R)

By asking "One of the first things that must be shown," the question is asking us to prove whether P is correct. IF it is not, the Q will fail, and hence R will fail. Option B (OA) indicates that P is correct.

But I think there is problem here.

R is dependent on Q, but not necesarily on P. If P doesn't exist, but some other factor X exists which is causing Q, then theory R will still hold true, and will be acceptable. R is only dependent on Q, not anything else. X -> Q -> R.

Think about it!! how can whether animals can be pushed to a point where overheating will make them easier prey, or not, will make any impact on the evolution of sweat glands in humans to keep them cool?? There is no logical connection.

Let's say animals can NOT be pushed to a point where overheating will make them easier prey. Still sweat glands may have evolved due to running over long distances, even if this particular hunting strategy had failed. Evolution of sweat glands is dependent on running over long distances, and hunting could be a valid reason. But it has nothing to do with overheating of animals, making them easy prey.

I understand that the question is trying to test us on our ability to understand the cause-effect P -> Q -> R, but I think the example that has been chosen is poor quality.
Re: V05-06   [#permalink] 12 Dec 2017, 18:48
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