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#17- Jones: Prehistoric wooden tools found in South America

sunj289
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Hi,

I'm not sure if I understood this problem correctly. But I'm having a difficult time understanding/distinguishing between the answer choices B and C.

Perhaps I did not understand the stimulus correctly, but if someone could kindly explain this problem for me I would greatly appreciate any help!

Thanks.
Ron Gore
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Thanks for your question, sunj289.

This question is of the Point At Issue type, a First (Prove) Family question. Your task here is to select the answer choice that presents a statement concerning which the two speakers would disagree

Jones, the first speaker, concludes that the attribution made by "scientists" of prehistoric wooden tools found in South America to peoples whose ancestors first crossed into the Americas from Siberia to Alaska can't be correct. His premises for this conclusion are: 1) the tools have been dated to 13,000 years ago; 2) to get so far south, the peoples must have been migrating south well before 13,000 years ago; and 3) no similar wooden tools dating to before 13,000 years ago have been found between Alaska and South America (i.e., the route the migrating peoples would have taken).

In essence, Jones says the tools found in South America can't have belonged to peoples who migrated there from Siberia through Alaska and southward through what is now North America, because we would have found evidence of similar wooden tools along their migration path, almost as if they were dropping archeological breadcrumbs for the scientists to track. Since their migration apparently would have taken a long period of time, and since the peoples made it to South America by 13,000 years ago, Jones believes that we would have found evidence of similar tools along the migration path earlier than 13,000 years ago, left behind during their long journey.

Smith disagrees with Jones' conclusion that the attribution of the tools to the people described above cannot be correct. Smith bases his disagreement on the fact that the tools found in South America were found in peat bogs, which are rare in the Americas, but which also have the ability to preserve wooden artifacts. In areas without such peat bogs, you would be unable to find wooden tools from so long ago.

To answer this question, you must look for an answer choice that contains something (fact/opinion) that was discussed by both speakers, and concerning which the two speakers would disagree.

Here, both speakers talk about whether the scientist's attribution of the tools to the migrating peoples could be correct in light of the fact that no such tools dating to before 13,000 years ago have been found anywhere between Alaska and South America.

Jones would say no, it's not possible. Smith would say it is possible, because natural processes would have decomposed any tools left along the migration path within only a few years, unless they were in a peat bog or some similarly preserving environment.

For that reason, answer (B) is correct.

You also mentioned answer (C). For (C) to be correct, Smith and Jones would have to disagree over whether the dating of the wooden tools by the scientists is accurate. However, neither Smith nor Jones raises the dating of the tools as an issue. In fact, Jones relies on the dating to come to his conclusion. Smith does not raise the issue of dating, and so we have no basis to say whether he would agree or disagree with the accuracy of the dating.

Hope all that helps.

Ron
sunj289
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Thank you so much for the extensive explanation!
Ron Gore
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You're very welcome! Glad to help.
yrivers
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Hi,

I'm a bit confused with this question. I somehow chose the answer, but options B, C, and E all seem the same to me. If you ask Jones and Smith, I think both would say the following for each answer:

Jones - no the dating is not correct
Smith - evidence is inconclusive

Perhaps I'm not understanding the fundamental difference between the two folks. Could you explain what each is really arguing? And why each option is wrong/right?

Thanks,
Yaesul
Dave Killoran
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Hey Yaesul,

We moved in an explanation of this question from another section of the forum, and now that explanation is posted at the top of this thread. Please take a look at that and let us know if it helps clarify this one. If not, we'll go back and take a look at it more deeply :-D

Thanks!
Dave Killoran
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