GMAT Critical Reasoning
In order to withstand tidal currents, juvenile horseshoe crabs frequently burrow in the sand. Such burrowing discourages barnacles from clinging to their shells. When fully grown, however, the crabs can readily withstand tidal currents without burrowing, and thus they acquire substantial populations of barnacles. Surprisingly, in areas where tidal currents are very weak, juvenile horseshoe crabs are found not to have signifi cant barnacle populations, even though they seldom burrow.
Which of the following, if true, most helps to explain the surprising fi nding?
- A Tidal currents do not themselves dislodge barnacles from the shells of horseshoe crabs.
- B Barnacles most readily attach themselves to horseshoe crabs in areas where tidal currents are weakest.
- C The strength of the tidal currents in a given location varies widely over the course of a day.
- D A very large barnacle population can signifi cantly decrease the ability of a horseshoe crab to fi nd food.
- E Until they are fully grown, horseshoe crabs shed their shells and grow new ones several times a year.
Correct Answer: E