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Source: Official Guide for the GMAT 13th Ed. Sentence Correction; #76 Official Guide for the GMAT 2015 14th Ed. Sentence Correction; #76


Combining enormous physical strength with higher intelligence,

Combining enormous physical strength with higher intelligence, the Neanderthals appear as equipped for facing any obstacle the environment could put in their path, but their relatively sudden disappearance during the Paleolithic era indicates that an inability to adapt to some environmental change led to their extinction.

4 Explanations


Pradeep Kumar

I also have another doubt here.
Since "The Neanderthals" refers to a single species or single entity it should take the singular verb appears right?
Instead of appear?
Please help.

Oct 8, 2015 • Comment

Cydney Seigerman, Magoosh Tutor

Hi Pradeep,

Good question! :D

While we are talking about one species in this sentence, the term "Neanderthals" is the plural form of the term Neanderthal, which is used to describe a member of the species H. neanderthalensis. "The Neanderthals" refers to the members of that species, so the verb is in the plural conjugation. Additionally, we can tell that the sentence refers to the members of the group from the word "their." If the sentence were referencing the species in a singular form, "their" would be replaced with "its."

This might be clearer with an example. Let's change "Neanderthals" to "Romans." The Romans were a single group of people but when we say "the Romans," we are using the plural form of "Roman" and are talking about multiple people. So, we would need to use the plural form of the verb, just like in the original sentence.

I hope this helps! :)

Oct 25, 2015 • Reply


Arun Prakash

Would you please explain again why option C is incorrect?

Jul 16, 2015 • Comment

Jonathan , Magoosh Tutor

Hi Arun. In (C), the most serious error is that "appear as" incorrectly refers to the PRESENT, as if Neanderthals currently appear.

Also, (C) refers to "their paths" (instead of "their PATH" in the correct answer). Since the sentence is referring to Neanderthals as a single species, not a collection of individuals, "their path" makes more sense than "their paths."

Jul 27, 2015 • Reply


Ankish Kumar

Can we also discuss one additional split path vs paths. Thanks.

Nov 9, 2014 • Comment

Hi Ankish,

Sure! For this sentence, we should use the singular "path" and not "paths." The reason is that the Neanderthals followed a single evolutionary path. Yes, different individual Neanderthals may have followed different paths, in this sentence, we are talking about the entire group of Neanderthals as a species. Thus we need a singular word. :D

I hope that helps! :D

Nov 11, 2014 • Reply


Gravatar Mike McGarry, Magoosh Tutor

May 23, 2013 • Comment

Abhinav Mahapatra


I still do not understand why B is the correct answer choice. Shouldnt present perfect be used for something which has continued from the past, till today? Hence as Neanderthals dont exist anymore, shouldnt answer choice B be incorrect? Would appreciate your help. Thanks

Apr 7, 2016 • Reply


Hi Abhinav,

The tense "to have been equipped" indicates that they were equipped (sometime in the distant past) but are no longer equipped. It does not imply that they are still equipped.

This sentence is saying: something seems to have been true in the past, and is no longer true.

Apr 18, 2016 • Reply

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