Agricultural societies cannot exist without staple crops. Several food plants, such as kola and okra, are known to have

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Agricultural societies cannot exist without staple crops. Several food plants, such as kola and okra, are known to have been domesticated in western Africa, but they are all supplemental, not staple, foods. All the recorded staple crops grown in western Africa were introduced from elsewhere, beginning, at some unknown date, with rice and yams. Therefore, discovering when rice and yams were introduced into western Africa would establish the earliest date at which agricultural societies could have arisen there.

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

(A) People in western Africa did not develop staple crops that they stopped cultivating once rice and yams were introduced.

(B) There are no plants native to western Africa that, if domesticated, could serve as staple food crops.

(C) Rice and yams were grown as staple crops by the earliest agricultural societies outside of western Africa.

(D) Kola and okra are better suited to growing conditions in western Africa than domesticated rice and yams are.

(E) Kola and okra were domesticated in western Africa before rice and yams were introduced there.



OA A

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Premise 1 - Agricultural Societies --> Staple Crops
Premise 2 - Rice and yam --> First Staple Crops in Africa

Conclusion - Time when rice and yam were introduced --> Start of Agricultural Societies in W.Africa

Let us look at each of the answer options -

A - let us negate this answer option.
"people developed staple crops before rice and yam were introduced" - this statement weakens the conclusion. If this were indeed true, then it is entirely possible that agricultural societies developed before the time when rice and yam were introduced.

B - even if there are plants that could be domesticated to be staple crops, we do not know whether they were ever domesticated.
Negating this option does not weaken the argument.

C - Not relevant.
We are only concerned with what happened in Western Africa.

D - Does not mean that kola and rice are/were used as staple foods. This answer option, thus, has no impact on the argument.
(If they were indeed used as staple foods, this could weaken the argument).

E - "Domesticated" is not the same as "staple foods".
We are concerned with whether they were staple crops or not.