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Please post your questions below! Thank you!
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This question was particularly strange to me and I'm having trouble seeing why the right answer is B. Could someone post an explanation? Thank you!
 Paul Marsh
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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!
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irrigation and a farm in a desert sounds extreme. Does Great Zimbabwe's cattle economy contribute the most to population? How about mining? I chose D. It is important but not mandatory.
 Robert Carroll
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The main point of the second paragraph is that the size of Great Zimbabwe's population was larger than the underlying biome would seem to permit, and that this size is accounted for by the cattle economy. We thus want an answer that shows some method of enabling something that looks unlikely for its environment. A farm in a desert would certainly be unlikely for the environment, and irrigation would be a putative method to achieve that unusual circumstance.

Answer choice (D) doesn't fit at all - a sports stadium would be exactly the right environment for an athletic contest. We want something that enables an otherwise unexpected thing to happen in an inhospitable environment.

Robert Carroll

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