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# Some insects are able to feed on the leaves of milkweed, a t

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Some insects are able to feed on the leaves of milkweed, a t [#permalink]  16 Feb 2019, 09:45
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81% (01:10) correct 18% (00:54) wrong based on 11 sessions
Some insects are able to feed on the leaves of milkweed, a toxic plant, by first cutting and draining the vein that secretes the toxin. This method of detoxification guarantees that some insects will always be able to eat milkweed, because the plant could never evolve to produce a toxin that is lethal in the trace amounts left after the vein is cut.

The conclusion drawn in the passage above depends on which of the following assumptions?

(A) The insects that successfully detoxify milkweed are not able to undergo the evolutionary changes necessary to allow them to detoxify other plants.
(B) Unlike milkweed, other kinds of toxic plants would be able to overcome their vulnerabilities to predators through evolutionary changes.
(C) The toxin-carrying veins of the milkweed plant can never evolve in such a way that insects cannot cut through.
(D) The method of detoxification used by insect predators of milkweed would not successfully detoxify other kinds of toxic plants.
(E) There are insects that use means other than draining the toxin in order to feed on toxic plants
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: Some insects are able to feed on the leaves of milkweed, a t [#permalink]  22 Feb 2019, 21:57
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(A) The conclusion to this argument is that some insects will always be able to eat milkweed. If insects can eat other toxic plants, then they can still eat the milkweed. So the conclusion can still be true whether or not the insects can eat other plants.

(B) Again, we don't really care about these other plants. The fact that some insects will always be able to eat milkweed does not depend on other plants at all.

(C) Pay attention to the reason given for why this method of detoxification will always work: the toxin cannot evolve to be lethal in trace amounts. However, what if the vein can't be cut at all? Then the insects wouldn't be able to detoxify the plant. The argument depends on this assumption, because choice C must be true for the argument to stand If it is false, the argument is toast. No insects would eat milkweed if they couldn't cut the vein.

(D) Again this choice focuses on other plants. Even if insects couldn't eat any other toxic plants, they could still eat milkweed. So this is irrelevant.

(E) And this one focuses on other insects. Regardless of what any other insect does, the insects in the argument will still be able to eat milkweed. So the argument does not assume anything about other insects.
Re: Some insects are able to feed on the leaves of milkweed, a t   [#permalink] 22 Feb 2019, 21:57
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