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Complete Question Explanation

The correct answer choice is (A).

Answer choice (A): This is the correct answer choice.

Answer choice (B):

Answer choice (C):

Answer choice (D):

Answer choice (E):

This explanation is still in progress. Please post any questions below!
  • Posts: 69
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Isnt the part in question a qualification of the author's point that Rohwer's data does not support his assertions? It seemed like the paragraph was basically saying "Rohwer's data does not support might help explain the age-related differences, but not differences within age groups." The question is asking about the part that says it might help explain the age-related differences. To me it seemed like this part was introducing a qualification or addressing potential counterarguments, and I don't see how this supports the idea that plumage variation does not signal individual status. Can someone explain? Thank you
 Anthony Esposito
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Hi KC,

Here's why Answer Choice A (the correct answer choice) does support the idea that plumage variation does not signal individual status.

The author spends roughly lines 16-24 putting forth Rohwer's conclusion, claims, and supporting data. Then, in Line 25, the author turns on Rohwer's conclusion, stating that it is not supported by Rohwer's data (and then proceeds to give data from Rohwer that works against Rohwer's conclusion that "almost without exception birds with darker throats win conflicts with individuals having lighter plumage (line 20).") Lines 30-35 go on to say that it's not so much that dark throat necessarily indicate fighting ability (see the particular data the author used from Rohwer referenced just above), but that dark throats is an indication of age with is an indication of high status (than the lighter throated juveniles).

So, we get back to the question: Why does the author refer to the fact that adult Harris sparrows are usually dark throated (lines 31-32)? Well, it's to show that dark plumage doesn't indicate fighting ability (Rohwer's conclusion) - which would be an individual status signaler, but rather something else, age, which would be a group status signaler.

Hope that helps,

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