With which one of the following statements regarding the sign for "sheep" (line 6) would the author of the passage be...

Daniel on February 4, 2020

Support for A

Where in the passage is there support for A? It seems to be a bit of a leap but maybe I am missing something.


on February 4, 2020

Hello @dannyod,

What do we know about the sheep symbol?

"The sign for 'sheep' for example, is not an image of a sheep, but rather a circled cross..."

This is one of the abstract symbols as mentioned on lines 5-6.

Answer choice A is saying that, because the inscription does not have to resemble a sheep, sheep could be represented by any type of symbol. The symbol is not based on the appearance of its object. Therefore, this circled cross could be replaced with something else, and still be taken to mean "sheep."

I believe this is the leap that you are referring to. Sometimes we have to make these inferences on "author most likely to believe" questions. However, I really hate this question, so I don't blame you for missing it. The wording of A is unfair in my opinion, but we do not get a chance to argue with the test makers. I think the best strategy here is the process of elimination. When we have 4 answers which we can eliminate with support from the passage, it is better to choose the one that we are uncertain of.

B. The word "abstract" tells us that we don't really know where the signs came from. There is no information to indicate that these symbols were created in a radically different way.

C. I am not seeing a distinction between agricultural products and industrial products.

D. The fact that it had "long puzzled researchers" means that the researchers had scrutinized these symbols.

E. The only political reference I can find is the "villagers' contributions to the temple-based grain and livestock pools." This inference was made based on the token system, which predated the tablet on which the sheep symbol appeared.

Daniel on February 17, 2020

Thank you for your help!

Avi on June 11, 2020

I too struggled with this question. I had a hard time choosing from A and B and even after your explanation I can't see why A is less assumed than B. We have no clue that it could've been replaced without a loss of significance the same way that we don't know that it has a very different way of getting its meaning than metal.