QUESTION TYPE: Most Strongly Supported
- Archaeologists found 10,000 years old plant remains at a site.
- If the plants were cultivated, then the people discovered agriculture thousands of years before others did.
- If the plants were wild, then the people ate a wider variety of plants than others did at the time.
ANALYSIS: There’s not much to say here. There are two possibilities, and you can’t combine them.
It’s safe to say that wild plants are the opposite of cultivated. So there are only two possibilities: early agriculture discovery, or wider use of plants.
This is a most strongly supported question. It means there’s some wiggle room in the right answer. On this question, it’s so subtle that you probably didn’t even notice it. I’ve written a note explaining the wiggle room at the bottom of this page. Only read that if you really want to dig deep into how this test works.
- We have no idea. Maybe the archaeologists won’t be able to figure out how the plants were used.
- CORRECT. This is probably true. Either the plants were cultivated, or the group ate plants no one else ate. See the opposite page for a more precise explanation.
- This doesn’t follow. It’s possible the group had reached a more advanced stage with wild plants, and had also discovered how to farm some plants.
- It’s possible the group discovered agriculture, but didn’t cultivate plants at that site. Or maybe all the cultivated plants disintegrated and we won’t find evidence.
- We have no idea which of these two possibilities is more likely. We know one of them is true, but we can’t say which one.
Question 9 Note
Let’s call the people at the site the uggs. We know for sure that they ate a wider variety of plants than anyone else. But how do we know they used plants in a way that no one else did? We actually don’t. It’s just fairly strongly supported.
Suppose there were 1000 types of plants. The uggs ate all 1000 of them at the site.
Other tribes only used 1-2 of these plants each. Perhaps all the other tribes in the world used a total of 200 plants between them.
That means there were 800 plants the uggs used, that no one else used in that way.
Now, suppose the other tribes only used 1-2 types of plants each. But between all the other tribes, there was at least one tribe that ate each one of the 1000 types of plants.
In that case, there would be no plants that the uggs used in a way that no one else did. No tribe used as many plants as the uggs, but at least one tribe used each of the plants the uggs used.
Make sense? So we can’t say for sure that answer B is true. But it’s pretty strongly supported.
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