- Fri Dec 20, 2019 7:28 pm
Hi Zhon! This kind of question is indeed not super common on the LSAT. It's kind of like one of those old ACT analogy questions: "Finger is to Hand as Toe is to ?".
As always with Reading Comprehension, we want to Pre-Phrase as exact an answer as possible before looking at the answer choices. What is the general relationship between the cattle economy and the population size?
Well, let's look back at what the text tells us. The information relevant to this question is contained in the second paragraph. Regarding the population: "During the fourteenth century, the population of Great Zimbabwe probably exceeded 10,000. This was an extraordinary size for a city at that time in an environment of typical African savanna woodland." In other words, the population was surprising, given the shortcomings of the area that the paragraph goes on to list. The paragraph then explains how the cattle economy eschews those shortcomings and allowed for a large population to flourish. So a solid generalized answer to the question "What is the relationship between these two things?" would be something like "The first thing is a system that allows for the second thing to unexpectedly flourish." Or even more basic: "The second thing owes its unlikely success to the first thing."
What analogy in our answer choices matches that basic Pre-Phrase? Answer Choices (A) and (C) do not, those are both simply listing two things that often go hand-in-hand and complement each other. (E) does not; it merely lists the parts and then the whole. Answer Choice (D) is probably the closest wrong answer, since the first thing does in some instances facilitate the occurrence of the second thing. But it doesn't really match our Pre-Phrase; athletic contests aren't an unlikely success, and they don't really owe that success to sports stadiums (one can think of many popular athletic contests that don't involve sports stadiums, for example most marathons). Answer Choice (E), on the other hand, matches our Pre-Phrase very well. The system of Irrigation allows something as unlikely as a farm in the desert to exist and maybe be successful.
The keys to this question are honing in on the right areas of the passage, and creating a strong Pre-Phrase. Hope that helps!