While studying a large colony of macaque monkeys, scientists interacting with baby monkeys under a week old found tha...

ryan on May 28 at 04:52PM

Is E completely true?

E says "baby macaques under a week old only imitate human gestures also used by adult macaques." But the passage only discusses 4 gestures that the scientists were using. How can E conclude that baby macaques under a week old ONLY imitate human gestures also used by adult macaques without performing a large quantity of other gestures? Isn't it possible that there's a bunch of other gestures the scientists didn't use but is mimicked and isn't performed by adult macaques?

5 Replies

Victoria on May 28 at 09:54PM

Hello @ryan-fadden,

It is significant to note here that the question stem reads: "the statements above, if true, most strongly support which one of the following?" Therefore, we are looking for the answer choice which is most strongly supported by the information that is provided to us by the passage. Using the process of elimination, E emerges as the strongest answer choice.

A is incorrect because the passage clearly states that the baby macaques did not mimic some of the scientists' gestures. This means that baby macaques under a week old do not naturally mimic whatever they see, eliminating A as a possible correct answer choice.

B is incorrect because it only provides an explanation for why the baby macaques did not imitate the hand gestures made by the scientists. We are no closer to determining why the babies did not imitate the scientists when they opened and closed their mouths.

C is incorrect because the passage provides no information on the purpose behind these gestures. In addition to this, it is irrelevant why the adult macaques smack their lips and stick out their tongues when interacting with the babies. It is simply important to note that these are the only gestures used by the scientists that are also used by adult macaques.

D is incorrect because we cannot possibly know what the babies are thinking when interacting with the scientists. Additionally, this provides no information regarding why the babies only mimicked two of the four actions.

E is the correct answer as it is directly supported by the passage. The baby macaques mimicked two of the four gestures used by the scientists and these two gestures were the only two also used by adult macaques when interacting with babies. While we cannot guarantee that baby macaques ONLY imitate the gestures also used by adult macaques based on the limited sample of gestures explored, this conclusion is the one most strongly supported by the information provided in the passage and is, therefore, the correct answer.

Hope this is helpful! Please let us know if you have any further questions.

ryan on May 29 at 02:24PM

Very helpful, thank you. One follow up question. Hypothetically, do you think that E would be correct if the question stem asked, "Which of the following must be true?" I understand that the LSAT would probably never have a question like this but I'm trying to understand the line between what answers are acceptable for "most strongly supported" and "must be true" question stems.

Ravi on May 29 at 03:51PM

@ryan-fadden,

Great question. If the question stem had said, "Which of the following
must be true," then (E) would not have been the correct answer, nor
would have any other answer been correct. The difference between a
most strongly supported and a must be true question is that most
strongly supported answers are probably/likely true, whereas must be
true answers have to be true. (E) doesn't have to be true, although
it's likely true.

Does this answer your question? Let us know if you'd like any more
clarification!

ryan on May 29 at 04:07PM

Perfect. Thanks

Ravi on May 30 at 01:36PM

@ryan-fade-in, you're welcome!