Complete Question Explanation
Resolve the Paradox. The correct answer choice is (C)
Your task in this Paradox question is to select the answer choice that most helps to resolve the
question of why sugar maples are more likely to show signs of decline consistent with calcium
deficiency in certain forests than are spruce or fir trees.
You are told that spruce, fir, and sugar maples trees all need calcium to survive, and that the calcium
level in the soil declines when a forest is subject to acid rain. Yet, despite the trees common need for
calcium, the sugar maples are much more likely to show signs of decline consistent with calcium
deficiency than are spruces or firs in forests that receive significant acid rain.
This situation is surprising, because you have been given no reason to think that sugar maples would
react to the calcium deficiency any differently than spruces or firs. Your prephrase is that the correct
answer will provide information concerning what makes spruces and firs distinct from sugar maples
in this respect.
The incorrect answers will not help to resolve the paradox, either because they merely explain
one side set of facts, attack one set of facts, or are not relevant to the facts. Because this stimulus
concerned a surprising difference between things you would have thought be the same, an answer
telling you another way in which the trees are similar will not resolve the paradox.
Answer choice (A): This information would affect the sugar maples, fir and spruce trees in the same
way. Since you cannot resolve this paradox by showing how the trees are the same, this choice is
Answer choice (B): This choice does not help resolve the paradox, because it attacks the fact that in
the same forests, subject to the same acid rain, the sugar maples are much more likely to show signs
of decline consistent with calcium deficiency.
Answer choice (C): This is the correct answer choice. This choice provides the cause for the
difference between sugar maples and the firs and spruce trees, i.e., the ability of the latter group to
extract calcium from a mineral compound common in the soil and unaffected by acid rain.
Answer choice (D): The stimulus provides no reason to think that this information about the varying
calcium levels required by sugar maples throughout the year is material to the surprising difference
between sugar maples and the other trees.
Answer choice (E): While this answer choice provides information differentiating sugar maples from
spruces or firs, the stimulus provides no reason to think that sugar maples being native to the areas
that receive a lot of acid rain has anything to do with the difference in the way acid rain affects the