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Hi Chris!

As you pointed out, both the statements in answer choice (A) and answer choice (E) are attributed to some anthropologists in the passage. Our task, then, is to figure out which group of anthropologists the author agrees with. This is fairly common in RC passages--authors frequently present multiple viewpoints and frequently agree more strongly with one of them over the others. We can't rely on just the immediate phrasing of "some anthropologists say" introducing the statements to determine whether the author agrees or disagrees with them.

The greater context of this passage shows us that the author disagrees with the anthropologists mentioned in the first paragraph, and agrees with the anthropologists in the last paragraph. Immediately following the first paragraph, the author presents evidence that runs counter to the theory presented by the anthropologists who thought that the Aurignacians had a more secure life with plenty of free time to perfect their art. The entire second paragraph basically says that the theory in the first paragraph is unlikely. In contrast, the author presents no counterarguments against the view of the anthropologists in that last paragraph.

If an author presents a viewpoint without providing any arguments against it, we can assume the author agrees with that viewpoint. If an author starts by presenting a viewpoint of others and then laying out an argument against it, the author likely disagrees with that viewpoint. There are some cases where an author will present arguments against a viewpoint that he/she actually agrees with--but in this case, the author will address those arguments to make it clear why, even if it has some weaknesses, it is ultimately the best viewpoint.

Hope this helps!


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