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OG CR:Birds have been said to be descended

This topic has 2 expert replies and 1 member reply

Top Member

OG CR:Birds have been said to be descended

Post Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:54 pm
Elapsed Time: 00:00
  • Lap #[LAPCOUNT] ([LAPTIME])
    Birds have been said to be descended from certain birdlike dinosaur species with which they share distinctive structural features. The fossil record, however, shows that this cannot be so, since there are bird fossils much older than the earliest birdlike dinosaur fossils that have been found.

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

    A) The birdlike dinosaurs have no descendants.
    B) There are no flightless dinosaur species that have the distinctive structural features shred by birds and birdlike dinosaurs.
    C) There are no birdlike dinosaur fossils that are older that the bird fossils but have nit yet been unearthed.
    D) It could not have been the case that some birds were descendant from one of the bird like dinosaur species and other birds from another.
    E) Birds cannot have been descended from dinosaur species with which the birds do not share the distinctive structural features.


    OA:C

    Source:OG 2017

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    Post Sun Sep 25, 2016 7:16 am
    When we're approaching an ASSUMPTION question, we're looking for the logical gap between the premises and conclusion - the thing that MUST be true for the argument to hold.

    Premise: there are bird fossils much older than the earliest birdlike dinosaur fossils that have been found.

    Conclusion: It cannot be true that birds are descended from these birdlike dinosaur species.

    What would indicate a flaw in this logic? Sometimes when looking for an assumption, it helps to think about "what ifs" that would make the conclusion untrue:
    - what if some of these birdlike dinosaurs evolved into birds, but others stayed as they were?
    - what if an animal species and the type of species they branched off from could be alive at the same time?
    - what if the fossil record is incomplete, and doesn't give us enough puzzle pieces to make inferences about chronology?

    Assumptions: Here's what's necessary for this premise to support this conclusion:
    - we have a fossil record comprehensive enough to give us a complete evolutionary picture
    - evolution is linear, not branching. Descendent species cannot be contemporaneous with ancestor species.

    As you're going through answer choices, ask yourself - does this HAVE to be true for the conclusion to hold?

    A) The birdlike dinosaurs have no descendants.

    This does not have to be true for the argument to hold. The birdlike dinosaurs could have had descendants, but just not these bird descendants.

    B) There are no flightless dinosaur species that have the distinctive structural features shared by birds and birdlike dinosaurs.
    Irrelevant. There is no direct connection between flightless dinosaurs and birdlike dinosaurs or birds.

    C) There are no birdlike dinosaur fossils that are older that the bird fossils but have nit yet been unearthed.
    Yes, this MUST be true for the argument to hold. If the reverse were true - there ARE older birdlike dinosaurs, but we haven't found them yet - then the logic of this argument would fall apart. The fossils we currently have wouldn't reflect the true chronology. Correct.

    D) It could not have been the case that some birds were descendant from one of the bird like dinosaur species and other birds from another.
    The idea of evolutionary branching is germane to the argument, but because the conclusion itself talks about "the earliest birdlike dinosaur fossils," we can assume that all such species are included in this group. Distinctions within the group wouldn't matter to the argument.

    E) Birds cannot have been descended from dinosaur species with which the birds do not share the distinctive structural features.
    This doesn't have to be true. Birds could be very distant descendants of dinosaurs that had very different features. We're specifically looking at the connection to BIRDLIKE dinosaurs, and whether the chronology we see indicates a line of descent. This is irrelevant.

    The correct answer is C.

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    Post Mon Sep 26, 2016 10:14 am
    NandishSS wrote:
    Birds have been said to be descended from certain birdlike dinosaur species with which they share distinctive structural features. The fossil record, however, shows that this cannot be so, since there are bird fossils much older than the earliest birdlike dinosaur fossils that have been found.

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

    A) The birdlike dinosaurs have no descendants.
    B) There are no flightless dinosaur species that have the distinctive structural features shred by birds and birdlike dinosaurs.
    C) There are no birdlike dinosaur fossils that are older that the bird fossils but have nit yet been unearthed.
    D) It could not have been the case that some birds were descendant from one of the bird like dinosaur species and other birds from another.
    E) Birds cannot have been descended from dinosaur species with which the birds do not share the distinctive structural features.


    OA:C

    Source:OG 2017
    Let's quickly list down the premise and the conclusion here:

    Premises
    1. Birds are said to have descended from bird-like dinosaur species with shared distinctive structural features
    2. Bird fossils much older than earliest bird-like dinosaurs discovered

    Conclusion:
    Birds could not have evolved from bird-like dinosaurs

    Let's now look at the options and try negating each of them:
    A. This added premise makes no difference to the conclusion one way or the other. They could have had descendants without this structural similarity or maybe not. This does not add any information. Incorrect.
    B. There is no relative or comparative timeline given for any other dinosaur specie. So, whether they share those characteristic or not, no idea to know if they ore-date this bird-like species or come later. Incorrect.
    C. This is an interesting option. Archeology is an ever evolving field with newer findings often leading to date shifting for artefacts. What if there are fossil remains of this bird-like species which hasn't been unearthed yet. Clearly, the author is assuming all fossil discoveries related to species have already been made. Correct
    D. The premise talks about the generic category of birds and specifically structural similarities with a bird-like dinosaur specie. This option contradicts the premise. Incorrect.
    E. The premise talks about birds having evolved from bird-like dinosaur species. Thus, the author has already evaluated the possibility and it is a part of he premise. Incorrect

    Thus, he correct answer is C.

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    Post Tue Sep 27, 2016 2:41 am
    NandishSS wrote:
    Birds have been said to be descended from certain birdlike dinosaur species with which they share distinctive structural features. The fossil record, however, shows that this cannot be so, since there are bird fossils much older than the earliest birdlike dinosaur fossils that have been found.

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

    A) The birdlike dinosaurs have no descendants.
    B) There are no flightless dinosaur species that have the distinctive structural features shred by birds and birdlike dinosaurs.
    C) There are no birdlike dinosaur fossils that are older that the bird fossils but have nit yet been unearthed.
    D) It could not have been the case that some birds were descendant from one of the bird like dinosaur species and other birds from another.
    E) Birds cannot have been descended from dinosaur species with which the birds do not share the distinctive structural features.
    Premise: There are bird fossils much older than the earliest birdlike dinosaur fossils that have been found.
    Conclusion: Birds could not have descended from certain birdlike dinosaur species.

    Apply the NEGATION TEST.
    When the correct answer choice is negated, the conclusion will be invalidated.

    C, negated:
    Birdlike dinosaur fossils that are older than the bird fossils have not yet been unearthed.
    Here, there are birdlike dinosaur fossils buried in the Earth that are OLDER than the bird fossils, invalidating the conclusion that birds could not have descended from certain birdlike dinosaur species.
    Since the negation of C invalidates the conclusion, C is the correct assumption: a statement that MUST BE TRUE for the conclusion to be valid.

    The correct answer is C.

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