Biologist: Researchers believe that dogs are the descendants of domesticated wolves that were bred to be better compa...

Letitia on December 13, 2018

Preptest 65, Section 4, Q23

Can someone please explain the answer B? My answer was A.

8 Replies

Ravi on December 14, 2018

@letc,

We're looking for the underlying principle of the biologist's argument.

The first sentence of the stimulus is context/background information. The second sentence of the stimulus, "It has recently been found that some breeds of dog are much more closely related genetically to wolves than to most other breeds of dog," is the premise. The next sentence, "This shows that some dogs are descended from wolves that were domesticated much more recently than others," is the conclusion.

Thus, the argument structure is P - >C, or

Some breeds of dogs much more closely related to wolves than dogs - >some dogs descended from wolves that were domesticated much more recently than others

In our answer, we want to find one that correctly paraphrases the argument structure we've outlined above.

Answer choice (A) is tricky because it contains the paraphrases of the premise and conclusion, but it puts them in the wrong spots. This is where I suspect you made your mistake; you put the conclusion in the sufficient condition and the premise in the necessary condition, which is backward. (A) gives us C - >P instead of the P - >C mapping that we're looking for.

Answer choice (B) says, "If one breed of dog is more closely related to wolves than to another breed of dog, then the former breed of dog has more recent undomesticated wolf ancestors than the latter breed has." This answer accurately captures the underlying principle of the biologist's argument, as it correctly paraphrases the author's premise and conclusion, putting the premise in the sufficient condition and the conclusion in the necessary condition. (B) maps out P - >C just as we were looking for.

Meredith on November 11, 2019

I thought B was wrong because of the term "undomesticated" .... can you please clarify. The prompt only discusses domesticated wolves

Ava on February 26, 2020

@Ravi I had the same question as Meredith above. I got thrown off by the use of the term "undomesticated." Can you explain why that's okay here?

Niloo on May 1, 2021

Ravi Joon?

HELLLUURRR

Mazen on April 25 at 04:46PM

Not a tutor, but hoping to help, here's my understanding of the term "undomesticated" in the context of answer-choice B.

The necessary condition in answer-choice B refers to the conclusion in the stimulus. The conclusion however uses "domesticated" whereas the B uses "undomesticated", hence the increased level of difficulty.

By the way, using the process of elimination leaves us with B, which is being rendered by students comments. I would note that confusing is not wrong; and when four are conclusively wrong whether because they reverse the logic of the principle or are irrelevant, they are wrong and should not be picked. So already B is looking better than the rest.

Nevertheless, the necessary condition in B is saying the same thing as the conclusion only in the negative: A wolf X that has been domesticated much more recently than wolf Y means that wolf X has been undomesticated for much longer than wolf Y.

So a breed of dog that its descended from wolf X (which, as stated above, has been domesticated much more recently than a breed of dog that was descended form wolf Y as shown by the comparing the proximity of their genetics) is a breed of dog that has an ancestor wolf that has been undomesticated longer that the ancestor wolf of breed dog Y. This is may understanding.


But let me go at it in one more way:

Pre-phrasing the underlying principle prior to going after the answer-choices left me with this principle: "the breeds of the dogs that are much more closely related genetically to wolves than to most other breeds of dogs is evidence of them being descended from wolves that were domesticated much more recently than others."
However, it is unlikely that I would find an exact match especially that deep into the section, question #23. So I have to stay flexible when it comes to a paraphrase.

Well, by virtue of having been "domesticated much more recently than others" these wolves were undomesticated the longest comparative the "others," i.e. wolves that were domesticated long ago.

I hope an LSAT expert will correct me if I am wrong.

Mazen on April 25 at 04:59PM

I noticed some words omitted and awkward phraseology in my explanation above, so I rewrote it.

Not a tutor, but hoping to help, here's my understanding of the term "undomesticated" in the context of answer-choice B.

The necessary condition in answer-choice B refers to the conclusion in the stimulus. The conclusion however uses "domesticated" whereas B uses "undomesticated", hence the increased level of difficulty.

By the way, using the process of elimination leaves us with B, which is being rendered by students comments as confusing. I would note that confusing is not necessarily wrong; and when four are conclusively wrong whether because they reverse the logic of the principle or are irrelevant, they are wrong and should not be picked. So already B is looking better than the rest.

Nevertheless, the necessary condition in B is saying the same thing as the conclusion only in the negative: A wolf X that has been domesticated much more recently than wolf Y means that wolf X has been undomesticated for much longer than wolf Y.

So a breed of dog that its descended from wolf X (which, as stated above, has been domesticated much more recently than a breed of dog that was descended form wolf Y as shown by the comparing the proximity of their genetics) is a breed of dog that has an ancestor wolf, X, that has been undomesticated longer that the breed of dog whose ancestor wolf is Y.

Still confusing? Okay: saying that Y was domesticated long ago compared to X which was domesticated much more recently is equivalent to saying that X was undomesticated for longer than Y. This is may understanding.


But let me go at it in one more way:

Pre-phrasing the underlying principle prior to going after the answer-choices left me with this principle: "the breeds of the dogs that are much more closely related genetically to wolves than to most other breeds of dogs is evidence of them being descended from wolves that were domesticated much more recently than others."
However, it is unlikely that I would find an exact match especially that deep into the section, question #23. So I have to stay flexible when it comes to a paraphrase.

Well, by virtue of having been "domesticated much more recently than others" these wolves were undomesticated the longest comparative the "others," i.e. wolves that were domesticated long ago.

I hope an LSAT expert will correct me if I am wrong.

Emil on May 5 at 01:38AM

Hi Mazen,

Great explanation! As to the word "undomesticated," this is the LSAT expecting test takers to have a degree of knowledge about a general process- that is that domesticated animals come from wild or domesticated ones. While the stimulus only tells us the part of the process that end with domesticated wolves becoming dogs, we can assume that at some point those domesticated wolves were domesticated from a population of undomesticated wolves.

Mazen on May 7 at 05:40PM

Emil,

Thank you for your input.