QUESTION TEXT: Archaeologist: Neanderthals, a human-like species living 60,000…
QUESTION TYPE: Weaken
CONCLUSION: Neanderthals probably preserved smoked meat.
REASONING: Many Neanderthal fireplaces had lichen and grass. Such fires produce a lot of smoke, but not much heat or light.
ANALYSIS: The archaeologist is making an unstated assumption: there was no other reason that the Neanderthals used lichen and grass for their fires.
- This is a trap answer. The archaeologist wasn’t saying the Neanderthals used only lichen fires. They were saying that they did use them, and implied that the only reason to use them would be to produce smoke for meat.
- CORRECT. This strongly weakens the argument. It says the Neanderthals didn’t choose to use smoke fires. They were forced to. If that’s the case, they may not have used the fires to smoke meat. It was simply the only type of fire they had available for heat and light.
- This shows the Neanderthals went to great efforts to make lichen fires. But it doesn’t tell us what they used those fires for.
- So? We modern humans have other methods of preserving meat, but we do still smoke it. The presence of other methods hasn’t eliminated our desire for smoked meat.
- This gives a reason for smoking meat, which helps strengthen the author’s argument.
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