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Can someone explain why this AC is correct, and if my reasoning is correct for the other incorrect ACs?

(A) Is this correct because this is is the only AC concerning only horses? And the whole passages is about domesticated vs. wild horses..So, if the # of butchered horse bones was > than untouched, it would weaken Olsen's hypothesis because they wanted to keep them alive to ride?? And if butchered < untouched it would strengthen her hypothesis because the ones that died did so naturally? (Please let me know if this reasoning is even close)

(B) we don't care about other species

(C) we only care about the past; not modern hunting

(D) This is the AC I picked. I'm guessing it is incorrect because in order to corroborate her hypothesis, we only need to know information about the horses. Other species are irrelevant.

(E) we don't care about human remains
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This is the way I thought about it:

Olsen's hypothesis is that, based on horse mortality patterns (more males > females, fully grown males, full skeletons, buried with humans), Botai horses were domesticated and ridden. If we analyzed the remains of any other species of animal (such as in D), like a chicken, there could be similar mortality patterns (which may suggest the reason for more males/fully grown males could be some other reason besides riding, since you can't ride a chicken). I guess that would maybe weaken Olsen's hypothesis. There could also be different mortality patterns - but noticing different mortality patterns in some other species that consist of the 10% of bones found at Botai doesn't necessarily strengthen Olsen's hypothesis about riding horses; at the very least, it's more irrelevant in evaluating her hypothesis than A is. Ultimately, I don't think it matters much what the Botai people did with their pigs or chickens in evaluating Olsen's conclusion about riding horses, as much it matters to focus on the horses and their relationship to people based on horse bones.

Meanwhile, in A), if # of butchered horse bones > untouched horse bones, this would weaken Olsen's hypothesis. This could suggest that all of Olsen's observations remain true (more males, fully grown, full skeletons), but ultimately, more horses were butchered to be eaten despite the unusual way the Botai people kept them. Maybe there were only a few horses that were used to pull the carcasses of hunted wild horses back to camp, where all horses were eventually slaughtered for meat. This would at least oppose the final line (line 55) - that there is a "relationship to horses beyond that of merely hunting them as a source of meat".

If the # of butchered horse bones < untouched horse bones, this strengthens everything that has already been stated in the passage. It's okay if there is a small # of butchered horse bones, since we do know that there were SOME wild horses that were hunted (line 50), so long as that number does not overwhelmingly exceed the horses used for companionship & riding.
 Brook Miscoski
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Ao and Kithly,

The question asks us to identify information that could help evaluate Olsen's hypothesis.

His hypothesis is that the Botai domesticated horses to ride them instead of hunting wild horses for their meat. In the passage, you should have identified the basis of his hypothesis, which is that you would have expected a different proportion of males and females if the Botai had hunted horses for meat, and they would have chopped up horses for food instead of carry them whole to a burial ground, which they did for at least some of the horses.

We don't have direct information about whether the horses were used for meat, so any information that is more direct might be helpful.

(A) Whether many of the horses were butchered would be more direct evidence and would help evaluate the last basis of his argument, since it would show the proportion of horses that were probably not used for food. The answer to this can change whether we believe Olsen. If there were lots of butchered bones, we don't believe him. If mostly the horses were not butchered, it's more believable that they were used for riding. This is a good way to evaluate his hypothesis.
(B) Sheep and Goats=off topic, eliminate.
(C) Number of other tribes=off topic, eliminate.
(D) Other species=off topic, eliminate.
(E) Human remains=not about cannibalism, eliminate.

So, Ao, your path to choosing (A) was good. I wouldn't try to make it more complex.
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A problem I had with this question is it presumes that horses used for riding were not also then butchered at some point. I don't see why we should assume that, if a horse was butchered, that's evidence that it wasn't ridden.
 Rachael Wilkenfeld
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Hi Flex,

There's a few reasons we would think that bones from domesticated horses would have different marks from those that were hunted. The stimulus tells us that the bones were found in ceremonial burials, suggesting that they would be unlikely to butcher a domestic horse in the same way as a hunted horse. But mostly, we would expect them to be different because the passage tells us that they look different. It tells us that hunted horses are rarely brought as a full skeleton, but domestic horses were buried whole. That means that we can tell from the skeleton if it was likely wild or domesticated.

Hope that helps.
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Yes, thank you Rachael! I guess if a horse were butchered, the skeleton would no longer be whole.

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