IMAT 2011 Q13 [Conclusion | Birds, Human and Apes]

It has long been thought that birds are much less intelligent than humans and apes. But now it seems that some species of birds have the same kind of thinking skills as apes. Crows can create and use tools and are socially sophisticated when finding and protecting food. So how can a bird with a walnut-size brain be capable of such achievements? The answer is that both crows and apes have much bigger brains than you would expect from the size of their bodies.
The same pattern is found in humans, parrots and chimps – all intelligent animals.

Which one of the following can be drawn as a conclusion from the above passage?

A. Apes are not as similar to humans as had been thought.

B. Crows are more intelligent than other species of birds.

C. Animals that cannot create tools are not intelligent.

D. Relative brain size is a better indicator of intelligence than absolute brain size.

E. It could be argued that birds are as intelligent as apes.

To find a conclusion to this type of question, we should remember a few concepts;

  • We can base our conclusion on the text itself by asking “why?” - finding a line in the text that explains why the option we chose is the conclusion.
  • If we can’t base our conclusion on the text, it is likely not our answer.
  • Try to disregard any background knowledge and biases you have. While reading the question and finding the answer, you should consider anything written in the paragraph as the truth.
  • Trying to find the answer based on your general knowledge and reasoning will most likely cause you to miss the correct answer, as the exam writers usually look for controversial topics.
  • We will usually have a word that signals a conclusion, such as “Thus,” “Therefore,” “In summary,” “To conclude,” and “The answer is.” But notice that sometimes the words mentioned will be used to mislead you into thinking that you’ve found the conclusion when you haven’t.

A. Apes are not as similar to humans as had been thought. - It doesn’t seem like anyone is saying it in the paragraph, it’s an assumption, but we can’t base it on the text.

B. Crows are more intelligent than other species of birds. - We never compared crows to other species of birds in the text. While you might think this option is the correct answer based on your general knowledge, as no one mentioned it in the text, it should be considered false and irrelevant.

C. Animals that cannot create tools are not intelligent. - Tools were just given as an example of intelligence, but the writer of the paragraph didn’t say that animals who can’t use tools aren’t intelligent. Because we can’t base it on the text, it can’t be our conclusion.

D. “Relative brain size is a better indicator of intelligence than absolute brain size.” can we base this answer on our text? Yes, we do, and we even have one of the words we mention in the tips for finding the conclusion. “The answer is that both crows and apes have much bigger brains than you would expect from the size of their bodies.

E. It could be argued, but it isn’t relevant and not our conclusion, as well as it isn’t mentioned in the text.