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Critical Reasoning: Conclusion Strengthening Questions

As part of the courting season of lance-tailed manikins, a beta male follows the alpha male to the female, where they both perform a dance made of a complex series of stunts and flight displays. After the performance, only the alpha male mates, however. Researchers deduce that the beta male hopes to benefit by one day becoming an alpha male himself.

Which of the following, if true, most seriously strengthens the researchers' argument?

Good on ya, mate!


This answer choice directly supports the researchers' conclusion. If some of the beta males which performed the dance in 2006 actually became alpha males in 2007, the conclusion that the beta males participate in the alpha male's dance in the hope of one day becoming alpha males themselves is strengthened.



This answer choice does not support the conclusion. If the beta males of 2006 were still beta males in 2007, the conclusion that they are performing the dance in the hope of becoming alpha males is weakened since there has not been any change in their status.



This answer choice neither strengthens nor weakens the conclusion. Though the missing beta manikins may have become alphas somewhere else, we don't know that; they may have died, for example. Since the data here does not tell us where they went or what they did, it cannot support the researchers' theory.



This answer choice does not strengthen nor weaken the conclusion since it goes beyond the scope of the argument. The argument deals specifically with the manikin species and more specifically with the benefits beta males get from dancing with alpha males (not benefits they get from the group).



This answer choice does not directly strengthen the researchers' conclusion. Logically, someone/something has to replace the alpha males, but claiming that its the beta males who replace the alpha males involves too many assumptions. You are looking for an answer choice that clearly and directly strengthens the researchers' theory.

Research done by zoologists from 2006 to 2007, where manikin males were tagged the first year, then checked the following year, shows that both alphas and betas had the same status in 2007.
Bird watchers have reported that 30% of beta manikin males seen in the spring of 2006 were not found among the group in the spring of 2007.
Zoologists are recognizing the social benefits awarded to beta males by the group in a large variety of bird species. 
Only 90% of lance-tailed manikin alpha males survive from one mating season to the next.
A genetic survey of the chicks born in the group's nests in 2006 and in nearby groups in 2007 has shown that 15% of the beta males which performed the dance in 2006 became alpha males  of neighboring groups in 2007.