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Complete Question Explanation

Weaken. The correct answer choice is (C).

Answer choice (A):

Answer choice (B):

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

Answer choice (D):

Answer choice (E):

This explanation is still in progress. Please post any questions below!
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Can someone go over this. I wasnt sure if i was supposed to explain what makes the ants protect the matter (why) or another reason why the ants did and the same result happened.

Thank you
 Luke Haqq
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Hi katnyc!

This question involves cause and effect reasoning. A general causal relationship being claimed is:

Cause :arrow: Effect
ants :arrow: healthier orchid
The stimulus also suggests there's a more specific causal relationship:

Cause :arrow: Effect
nutrients :arrow: healthier orchid
That is, the ants bring extra nutrients and these in turn result in a healthier orchid.

The question stem asks for an alternative explanation, so that means we want a different cause that has the same effect. This is what answer (C) offers: "The ants that live in hollow places in the roots of orchids prey on an insect species whose members eat the orchids' roots." Instead of extra nutrients, this is suggesting the following cause and effect relationship:

Cause :arrow: Effect
eliminate pests :arrow: healthier orchid
(C) thus provides pest elimination, rather than extra nutrients, as an alternative explanation for the orchids being healthier.

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