Marine biologists had hypothesized that lobsters kept together in lobster traps eat one another in response to hunger...

greatdane28 on November 15, 2019

Why is E the right answer?

I am very confused either by the question or the answer choice. If someone could just explain why E is correct I'm sure I'll understand.

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greatdane28 on November 15, 2019

Is it the "in response to hunger" part that we need to keep in mind? So the answer is that we are assuming the food they could get whilst in the cage didn't staunch their hunger so they must've eaten each other, but since they did not the hypothesis was wrong?

Annie on November 15, 2019

Hi @greatdane28,

This question is asking you to do two things. First, you need to isolate the argument against the marine biologists' hypothesis. The best way to do this is to break down the argument into its component parts.

Premise: The marine biologists hypothesized that lobsters in traps eat each other when hungry.
Premise: But, there are instances of lobsters sharing traps for weeks.
Premise: Eight lobsters once shared a trap for two months without eating on another.
Conclusion: The marine biologists' hypothesis is wrong.

Now that you've broken down the argument you want to move on to step two. Here, you need to find the answer choice which provides an assumption that that argument is based on. I like to think of this as just looking for another premise that, when added in to the argument, makes the conclusion true. On this type of question, you can check your work by looking at what would happen if the answer choice were false. For the right answer, when you "negate" it, the whole argument will fall apart.

Answer Choices:
(A) is incorrect. While this answer choice supports the conclusion of the argument, it is not vital to the conclusion being true. If you negate it, aka say that "lobsters not caught in lobster traps have not been observed eating one another," the conclusion of the argument would still stand.

(B) is incorrect. This answer choice is off topic. The conclusion does not depend on it being true.

(C) is incorrect. This answer choice is off topic. The conclusion does not depend on it being true.

(D) is incorrect. The argument does not have to do with other marine species. Therefore, the conclusion does not depend on this answer choice being true.

(E) is correct. This answer choice is filling a gap in the argument, and therefore it is necessary to make the argument correct. For instance, if we learned that the 8 lobsters were fully satisfied by other food while in the trap, then they would not have gotten hungry, and they would have had no reason to eat each other. If this was the case, that example would not provide any evidence to contradict the marine biologists' argument.