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## #19 - A tree's age can be determined by counting the annual

BethRibet
• PowerScore Staff
• Posts: 199
• Joined: Oct 17, 2012
#23534
Hi Johnclem,

Thanks for the question.

Knowing how old the tree is in itself wouldn't tell us how old the tomb is, because we have no idea when it was cut, only how old the tree is. But what we're placing here is which tombs are older or younger than each other -- their *relative* ages. It still could be true that we wouldn't be able to determine the relative ages of the tombs, just from their logs, based only on the facts in the argument. But answer choice C gives us new information -- essentially that every tomb has logs which contain this same pattern. So if we use that pattern as a baseline, the more rings that come after that pattern, the more years passed from the initial years that created that pattern, before the tree was cut, and that means that tomb was built more recently. Whereas if the tomb has the pattern only with no more rings, then it would have been one of the first ones (or the first one) built, because the tree was cut right after the time period that created this pattern of rings. No outside information is needed here -- this all comes from the stimulus and the answer choice.

Hope this helps!
Beth
pranavshah7887
• Posts: 6
• Joined: Jul 10, 2020
#77622
Hi,
I am having a difficult time to understand the question stem for this one. While reading for the first time, I mistook this as a strengthen/support question. Pasting the stem here for reference - Which one of the following, if true, contributes most to an explanation of the archaeologists' success in using annual rings to establish the relative ages of the tombs at the Pazyryk site?. Could you please help me understand how am I supposed to decipher that this is a 'resolve the paradox' problem.
Even if I force myself to accept that there is an obscure paradox hidden somewhere in the question, I am not able to spot it clearly. Can you please help me see the two opposing views here, as typical of 'resolve the paradox' type questions.

Many thanks
Pranav
Jeremy Press
• PowerScore Staff
• Posts: 945
• Joined: Jun 12, 2017
#77693
Hi Pranav,

A couple features of this stimulus AND question stem push us into the Resolve the Paradox mode of thinking.

We only have a set of facts in the stimulus, and not a complete argument. There is no conclusion (and, by extension, no premises), and the question stem isn't asking us to support an "argument" or a "conclusion." Strengthen questions generally contain an argument, with a conclusion for which the correct answer choice serves as additional support (an additional premise). Since we're just given a set of facts here, we're not thinking "Strengthen" question.

The question stem also asks for an answer that provides an "explanation" of something in the stimulus (in this case, the archaeologists' success). In Resolve the Paradox questions, the correct answer choice generally serves the function of explaining why some facts (usually, surprising or paradoxical facts) are true. So the "explanation" language in the question stem is another sign that we're dealing with a Resolve question.

Sometimes the "Paradox" in a Resolve the Paradox question isn't quite a full-on contradiction. Sometimes it's just a puzzling or otherwise noteworthy observation. That's this question. It's probably not accurate to say the archaeologists' "success" is in "tension" (or seeming contradiction) with any of the other facts in the stimulus. But it sure is puzzling and noteworthy. Just by looking at the logs I can tell the relative ages of the tombs? How do I know they're cutting those logs from trees that are the same age? And if they're not, how am I going to figure out the relative age of the tombs? That's a bit of a puzzle, a surprising and noteworthy observation. The question stem wants me to explain that puzzle with some (assumed) fact. That's exactly what I do in Resolve the Paradox questions: use an assumed fact in an answer to explain a seeming puzzle/paradox in the stimulus!

I hope this helps!

Jeremy
pranavshah7887
• Posts: 6
• Joined: Jul 10, 2020
#78108
Thanks for the insights Jeremy!! This helps for sure.

Thanks
Pranav
PresidentLSAT
• Posts: 43
• Joined: Apr 19, 2021
#86504
Hi,

Per the explanation, "The fact that the trees in the Pazyryk Valley have growth patterns distinct from other trees will not help explain how the Pazyryk trees, once cut, can be relatively compared to each other, so this choice is wrong."

Shouldn't that be precisely why they were able to determine the ages? If there is a pattern of rainfall exclusive to those trees, why do we care about other trees? we already know that they were limited to trees in the valley so the reliable recurrence of rainfall should account for how they were able to determine the ages of the tomb.
Rachael Wilkenfeld
• PowerScore Staff
• Posts: 618
• Joined: Dec 15, 2011
#87236
Exactly as you said, President. We don't care about those trees in the other valleys. They are irrelevant to resolving this paradox about the trees used from this specific valley. The information in answer choice (B) doesn't impact the conclusion because it's on a different sort of comparison, and it's wrong for that reason.
simonsap
• Posts: 33
• Joined: Jun 14, 2021
#87999
"successful used annual rings to determine the RELATIVE AGES of ancient tombs..constructed from FRESHLY cut logs."

Each log used in a given tomb was fresh. So safe to assume each tomb was constructed in a given period from trees that were very close in age.

Only answer C accounts for differences in tree age

eg. 50 year old tree used to construct 2000 year tomb
tree has 50 rings
3 thick rings = 3 rainy years
6 thin rings = 6 drought years
ashpine17
• Posts: 96
• Joined: Apr 06, 2021
#88338
But why does C help? From the stimulus alone aren’t we able to tell the relative age of each tomb by just counting the number of rings? It does say one ring per year….so if the logs in one tomb have 10 rings and the logs in another have 8, can’t we conclude from that alone that the first tomb is older by the second by two years?
ashpine17
• Posts: 96
• Joined: Apr 06, 2021
#88339
And what is the point of the freshly cut? Is that to show the ages of the logs used to construct the tomb are the same? Because I was thinking maybe different logs from differently aged trees might have been used to construct the same tomb
ashpine17
• Posts: 96
• Joined: Apr 06, 2021
#88341
since it says "annual rings" does that mean each tree with this distinctive pattern is at least 12 years old?

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