Male boto dolphins often carry objects such as weeds or sticks. Researchers first thought this was play behavior, but...

JasonD on November 17, 2019


Can I get an explanation for this one?

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Annie on November 17, 2019

Hi @JasonD,

This question is asking you to determine the pattern of reasoning in the argument and then find the answer choice which matches it. The first step in doing so is to break down the argument:

Premise: Male boto dolphins often carry objects such as weeds or sticks.
Premise: If this were play, we would expect females and juveniles to do so too, but only adult males do.
Conclusion: Therefore, it is more likely to be a mating display.

Now that we've broken down the argument, try to see if you can tell what the argument is doing before you turn to the answer choices. Here, we are given two alternatives for why male dolphins would carry objects. Then, we are told why one alternative is likely not correct. And that leaves us with the conclusion. Try to look for an answer choice that operates in the same manner.

Answer Choices:

(A) is incorrect. This answer choice is tempting as it appears to set up two options. However, this reasoning is not ruling out an alternative, but is rather following an if, then pattern.

(B) is incorrect. This answer choice does not set up two options.

(C) is incorrect. This answer choice sets up an if, then pattern. It does not have two options.

(D) is correct. This is a very tricky answer as it seems to be setting up another if, then pattern. However, while it uses these terms, it actually is providing us with two different options, and then giving us a reason that one cant occur. Option (1) is that construction on the building is on schedule. Option (2) is that construction is not on schedule. We are told that Option (1) doesn't work because the foundation has just started. Therefore, this eliminates option (1) leaving us only with option (2). This is the same breakdown as seen in the argument.

(E) is incorrect. This answer is looking into the future and using words such as "probably" and "will." The argument in question is dealing with the present and uses much more concrete phrasing.

JasonD on November 17, 2019

Thank you for clarifying!