GMAT Critical Reasoning

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Source: Knewton

Level: 3

At the Cosquer Cave in France, deep sea divers discovered charcoal prints in the shape of hand stencils, thought to be at least 10,000 years old, on the walls of the undersea cave. Analysis of the prints, which appear in a number of different sizes, showed that they had been made with high-pressure charcoal no denser than that comprising the dense walls of the cave itself. However, scientists were unable to replicate the charcoal prints on the walls of the Cosquer Cave, because small pieces of charcoal from the cave walls do not maintain their consistency underwater and the prints were immediately washed away.

Which of the following, if true, would, taken together with the information above, provide the best basis for the claim that the prints were in fact charcoal handprints made by people during the Upper Paleolithic era, which ended 10,000 years ago?

  • A Certain kinds of low-density charcoal cannot maintain their consistency when submerged entirely in water.
  • B There is reliable archaeological evidence from other caves confirming that the people of the Neolithic era made charcoal prints using hand stencils as many as 8,500 years ago.
  • C Many of the prints found on the cave wall are larger than the average hands of modern people, while the people of the Upper Paleolithic era are known to have been smaller than people living today.
  • D The inner walls of the Cosquer Cave are covered with charcoal prints, while the outer walls closest to the water's surface are completely unmarked.
  • E Glaciation records show that the Cosquer Cave was above water until the end of the last ice age, 9,600 years ago.

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