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Critical Reasoning: Investigation Questions

During ancient times, the floknee was a common animal in the Wekerlee district long before the arrival of humans to the area. However, as the number of clogberry bushes, the floknee's main source of food, became scarce, so did the floknee population. Therefore, the arrival of human inhabitants to the area caused the animal to die out.

Which of the following would it be most useful to establish in order to evaluate the argument?

Incorrect.

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The answer to this question would not help us determine whether the humans caused the floknee to die out. The fact that it was active during the day or only at night is irrelevant.

Incorrect.

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This answer choice asks a question about a topic that has no relation to the argument. The conclusion deals with what caused the creature to die out, not what the culture of the humans in the area thought about it.

Incorrect.

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If we answered the question in this answer choice we still would not know whether the author was correct. We would need to assume far too much to determine that the floknee died out because of a drought. For all we know, the floknee could be a desert creature.

Incorrect.

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Since the argument refers to events that took place a long time ago, the current status of the area is beyond the scope of the argument. The conclusion deals with something that happened in the past so the number of predators in the area today is irrelevant.

Nicely done!

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We are told that the lack of clogberry bushes caused the floknee's extinction. However, we are not given any data that links the humans to the number of floknees or to the number of bushes. Just because humans arrived at the area does not mean they killed these animals.

If humans ate clogberries, or destroyed the bushes for some reason, then they did indirectly cause the floknees to die out. However, if they had nothing to do with their diminishing food source, then they are not the cause for the creature's extinction.

Whether the floknee was a nocturnal creature
Whether the clogberries were eaten by humans, or their numbers otherwise dwindled by human activity
Whether the humans that inhabited the Wekerlee district had mythological beliefs and traditions about the floknee
Whether the rainfall in the Wekerlee district towards the end of the floknee's existence was frequent
Whether there is a high population of predators living in the Wekerling district today