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Please help me with the meaning of this sentence:

While it is likely that fewer varieties of plant seeds have reached Hawaii externally than internally, more varieties are known to be adapted to external than to internal transport.

Does it mean that fewer varieties of seeds have reached Hawaii externally that internally, i.e. more varieties have reached internally but more varieties are known to adapt to external transport. ?

Cheers.

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It means "although we believe fewer varieties of seeds have got to Hawaii externally than internally, we know that more varieties are adapted to external than to internal transport."

Most seeds adapt better to external transport. In spite of that, we believe (from whatever clues we have) most varieties that have reached Hawaii, have done so by means of internal transport.

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See meanings 3 and 4 (esp the latter) for while in this very good dictionary.

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  • Yeah, but it's just the normal definition of while taken to mean at the same time that [it is true that]. The bigger issue was not noticing that likely qualified the following phrase as uncertain. – lly Apr 2 '17 at 11:55

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