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#90606
Complete Question Explanation

Strengthen. The correct answer choice is (D).

Answer choice (A):

Answer choice (B):

Answer choice (C):

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

Answer choice (E):

This explanation is still in progress. Please post any questions below!
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 clbrogesr
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#91698
Hi - could some explain why D is a better choice than C? It seems they could both support the conclusion that the society was a hunter-gatherer society. C could be saying that they used fire to open up the seeds they had collected (or would collect after the fire) while D could be saying that they used fire to move the animals they sought to hunt.

My thoughts on why D is a better choice than D are two-fold. First, it relates more directly to the stimulus. D tells us about a concrete action that hg societies are believed to have taken, including one that could be directly applied to the stimulus, while C only tells us about a piece of knowledge that we are not even sure hg societies had. Second, an assumption in C seems to be that they burned the shells and then collected the seeds. But that would contradict the premise that there was no cultivation after the fire. My first reason is much stronger than my second, although I think they both work against C.

Is that an effective approach to the question? Thanks!
 Adam Tyson
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#91780
That is a good analysis, cbrogesr. Also take note that the seeds in answer C are not edible, so there would be little point to gathering them unless you were going to plant them and cultivate whatever grew, which would weaken the claim that they were hunter-gatherers rather than an agricultural society.

D gives us an explanation for why hunter-gatherers might burn a large area of land, and this, combined with the lack of evidence for cultivation, strengthens the claim that they were still in that stage.
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 clbrogesr
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#91784
Adam Tyson wrote: Tue Nov 02, 2021 6:38 pm That is a good analysis, cbrogesr. Also take note that the seeds in answer C are not edible, so there would be little point to gathering them unless you were going to plant them and cultivate whatever grew
Oh man - you know I definitely gave the LSAT more credit than it deserved. I just assumed that the seeds would become edible once subjected to the heat of a great fire, and now clearly see that that assumption is unfounded. Thanks!
 BMM2021
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#96448
Hi,

I understand agriculture to meant the cultivation of plants and animals, so I didn't choose D because the shepherding of animal populations via fire would seem to imply that the ancient civilizations were practicing agriculture - thus weakening the conclusion. What am I missing here?
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 katehos
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#96460
Hi BMM2021!

There are two main reasons why it's not an issue that (D) references moving animal populations from one area to another:

1. (D) specifies this is something hunter-gatherer societies do, which aligns with the stimulus' conclusion that the society in question was a hunter-gatherer society. Strengthen questions fall into the "Help" family of questions, so we accept the information in the answer choice to be true. If the answer choice says hunter-gatherer societies practice some activities we might commonly associate with agriculture, it's not our job to pick that apart! We accept that this is something hunter-gatherer societies do and focus on the task at hand: asking ourselves if this answer choice strengthens the argument by at least 1%.

2. Even if moving animal populations from one area to another were to constitute 'agriculture' in some regard, the author disagrees with those who suggest the burned areas of land indicates "large-scale agriculture" in the society, not 'agriculture' as a whole. Where is the line between some sort of loosely agricultural activity and large-scale agriculture? Do hunter-gatherer societies unequivocally engage in no activity reminiscent of agriculture whatsoever? We don't know!

Long story short, the phrasing of the answer choice and the stimulus make it so that (D) does not weaken the conclusion. Instead, (D) strengthens the conclusion by offering a reason why hunter-gatherer societies might burn a large area of land.

I hope this helps :)
Kate
 sbose
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#96856
Hi there!

I just want to make sure I understand why B is wrong. Is B wrong because presumably you wouldn't need to burn a large area of land for cooking or heat? I had trouble distinguishing B from D since they both point to reasons why a hunter-gatherer society would need to burn land.

Thank you for your help in advance!
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 goingslow
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#97148
(bumping the previous poster)
 Adam Tyson
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#97437
That's exactly right, sbose and goingslow. Fires for heating and cooking have little to do with the large areas of land being burned that are described in the stimulus. It's not just "they had fire" that matters; it's that they were burning the land (presumably intentionally). Answer B doesn't add any support to the claim that the people burning the land were hunter-gatherers.

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