利物浦对沃特福德前瞻: 沃特福德vs南安普顿

2013年經濟學人 不是扁平足而是八字足

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Science and technology

科學與技術

Splay-footed, not flat-footed

不是扁平足而是八字足

A new fossil shows that evolution does not always mean change

新發現的化石顯示,進化并不總意味著變化

Palaeontology

古生物學

Then and now

今與昔

WHEN a coelacanth, a type of lobe-finned fish once considered the missing link between fish and amphibians2, was found off the coast of South Africa in 1938, it came as a shock to palaeontologists.

1938年當一種空棘魚目魚類—曾被認為是一種消失的連接魚類和兩棲動物的物種在南非海岸被發現時,古生物學家們為之一驚。

Until then, the most recent traces of such a creature had been in rocks dating from the last days of the dinosaurs3, 65m years ago.

至到當時,這種生物最新的蹤跡只出現在可以追溯到距今六千五百萬年前恐龍時代末期的化石中。

It was, in its way, as surprising as if a live Tyrannosaurus had been found hiding in an obscure part of Montana.

其驚人程度就如同在蒙大拿的某個陰暗地方發現了一只躲藏于其中的活體霸王龍。

Now the same experience is hitting palaeontologists again—but this time in reverse.

如今,同樣的事件再次讓古生物學家們感到震驚—但是這次恰恰相反,

Instead of finding a living fossil identical to an ancient beast, they have found a real fossil identical to a modern one.

他們不是發現了一個與遠古生物雷同的活化石,而是發現了一個與現代生物一致的真化石。

The fossil in question, a 100m-year-old specimen4 from north-east Brazil, belongs to the genus Schizodactylus.

這里所討論的化石中的生物是一個來自巴西東北部距今一億年前的物種,屬于Schizodactylus昆蟲科。

These are large, carnivorous, cricket-like insects whose feet splay out wildly in different directions.

它們是一些大型,蟋蟀狀食肉昆蟲,其足向不同方向伸展。

Modern Schizodactylus use their feet like snowshoes, to help them remain stable as they travel over sandy terrain5 in search of prey6.

當現代Schizodactylus科昆蟲在沙地中搜尋獵物時,其足有如雪鞋可以幫助它們保持穩定。

If the new fossil—whose discovery has just been published in ZooKeys by Sam Heads of the Illinois Natural History Survey and Léa Leuzinger of the University of Fribourg, in Switzerland—were merely similar to modern splay-footed insects, the find would not be particularly surprising: it simply demonstrates a phenomenon called evolutionary7 stasis, in which a specific type of body form hangs around for a long time.

如果該新發現的化石—它的發掘已經被來自伊利諾亞州自然歷史調查所的山姆.海茲以及來自瑞士夫里堡大學的雷.盧辛格發表在了《Zookeys》雜志上—僅僅是與現代八字足昆蟲相似,那么這一發現也沒有什么大驚小怪的:因為這只顯示了一種叫做進化停止的現象,其間某一特定體態在相當長一段時間內保持不變。

What is surprising is just how static Schizodactylus has been.

然而讓人感到驚奇的是Schizodactylus科昆蟲的進化盡然是如此得緩慢。

Evolutionary stasis is fairly common at the higher levels of the Linnaean system of biological classification.

進化停止在生物分類法的林奈分類體系中的高級別生物里比較常見。

Natural selection hits on a good design.

當自然選擇挑中了一個理想的設計后,

That design is then adopted in slightly different forms by species after species.

一個接一個的物種便以略微不同的形式采納這種設計。

The shelled bodies of turtles, for example, evolved between 250m and 200m years ago, while the body plans of scorpions9 have been around for more than 400m years.

舉個例子,海龜的甲狀軀殼約在2億5千萬年前至2億年前就已經進化完成,相比之下蝎子的身體構制更是在4億多年內都未有大的變化。

That does not mean, however, that a zoologist10 would mistake a 200m-year-old turtle or a 400m-year-old scorpion8 for any species now alive.

然而,這并不意味著一位動物學家可以將一只2億年前的海龜或是一只4億年前的蝎子與現在對應的活體物種混為一談。

What is remarkable11 about the new find is that it is so similar to modern animals that it can be assigned to an existing genus—the lowest level of Linnaean classification above a species—rather than just to some higher taxonomic group.

而這一新發現令人關注的地方在于化石中的物種與現代對應物種是如此得相似以至于它可以被當作是現代物種的某一現存種類—種類是林奈物種分類法中最低的一級,而不是更高級別的種群。

That is rare indeed.

這的確很罕見。

Even the modern coelacanth, on closer examination, had to be put in a different genus from any known fossil.

經過進一步檢驗,就算是現代空棘魚的種類也有別于任何已知化石中的空棘魚的種類。

Clearly the body plan of Schizodactylus is not merely good, but optimal12, at least for the environment the animal lives in.

顯然,Schizodactylus科昆蟲擁有的的身體構制不僅令人滿意,而且是最佳的,至少是為了其所生存的環境而生。

Alas13 for Schizodactylus, the sandy deserts it prefers have retreated from north-eastern Brazil and its optimality14 there has vanished.

而讓Schizodactylus科昆蟲感到悲哀的是其所青睞的沙漠在巴西已經消退而它們的最佳身體構制也隨之消失。

But its discovery shows better what this part of the world was like 100m years ago—and also illustrates15 an important point about evolution that is often forgotten in biologists'understandable focus on the development of novelty.

但是該化石的發現更好地展示了世界的這一地區在1億年前是個什么摸樣---同時也闡明了有關進化的一點重要內容,一個經常在生物學家對于發展的推陳出新所持有的一種可理解的關注中而被遺忘的一點內容。

The first rule of natural selection is: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

自然選擇的第一條規則就是:未損勿修。

詞語解釋

1.evolution n.進化;發展

Within 30 years,humans could be debating whether to take charge of their own evolution.

不出30年,人類將討論是否要掌控自身的進化。

2.amphibian1 n.兩棲動物;水陸兩用飛機

It is being actively16 pursued by amphibian specialists, for example.

舉個例子,許多兩棲類生物研究專家正積極的從事這項工作。

3.creature n.生物;動物

This creature lives in the depth of the ocean.

這種生物生活在海洋深處。

4.obscure a.難解的;不著名的;微暗的

The rules for the competition are somewhat obscure.

比賽的規則有點讓人費解。

5.fossil n.化石;食古不化的人

Coal is a fossil fuel.

煤是一種礦物燃料。


點擊收聽單詞發音收聽單詞發音  

1 amphibian mwHzx     
n.兩棲動物;水陸兩用飛機和車輛
參考例句:
  • The frog is an amphibian,which means it can live on land and in water.青蛙屬于兩棲動物,也就是說它既能生活在陸地上也能生活在水里。
  • Amphibian is an important specie in ecosystem and has profound meaning in the ecotoxicology evaluation.兩棲類是生態系統中的重要物種,并且對環境毒理評價有著深遠意義。
2 amphibians c4a317a734a700eb6f767bdc511c1588     
兩棲動物( amphibian的名詞復數 ); 水陸兩用車; 水旱兩生植物; 水陸兩用飛行器
參考例句:
  • The skin of amphibians is permeable to water. 兩棲動物的皮膚是透水的。
  • Two amphibians ferry them out over the sands. 兩輛水陸兩用車把他們渡過沙灘。
3 dinosaurs 87f9c39b9e3f358174d58a584c2727b4     
n.恐龍( dinosaur的名詞復數 );守舊落伍的人,過時落后的東西
參考例句:
  • The brontosaurus was one of the largest of all dinosaurs. 雷龍是所有恐龍中最大的一種。 來自《簡明英漢詞典》
  • Dinosaurs have been extinct for millions of years. 恐龍絕種已有幾百萬年了。 來自《簡明英漢詞典》
4 specimen Xvtwm     
n.樣本,標本
參考例句:
  • You'll need tweezers to hold up the specimen.你要用鑷子來夾這標本。
  • This specimen is richly variegated in colour.這件標本上有很多顏色。
5 terrain sgeyk     
n.地面,地形,地圖
參考例句:
  • He had made a detailed study of the terrain.他對地形作了縝密的研究。
  • He knows the terrain of this locality like the back of his hand.他對這一帶的地形了如指掌。
6 prey g1czH     
n.被掠食者,犧牲者,掠食;v.捕食,掠奪,折磨
參考例句:
  • Stronger animals prey on weaker ones.弱肉強食。
  • The lion was hunting for its prey.獅子在尋找獵物。
7 evolutionary Ctqz7m     
adj.進化的;演化的,演變的;[生]進化論的
參考例句:
  • Life has its own evolutionary process.生命有其自身的進化過程。
  • These are fascinating questions to be resolved by the evolutionary studies of plants.這些十分吸引人的問題將在研究植物進化過程中得以解決。
8 scorpion pD7zk     
n.蝎子,心黑的人,蝎子鞭
參考例句:
  • The scorpion has a sting that can be deadly.蝎子有可以致命的螫針。
  • The scorpion has a sting that can be deadly.蝎子有可以致命的螫針。
9 scorpions 0f63b2c0873e8cba29ba4550835d32a9     
n.蝎子( scorpion的名詞復數 )
參考例句:
  • You promise me that Black Scorpions will never come back to Lanzhou. 你保證黑蝎子永遠不再踏上蘭州的土地。 來自電影對白
  • You Scorpions are rather secretive about your likes and dislikes. 天蝎:蝎子是如此的神秘,你的喜好很難被別人洞悉。 來自互聯網
10 zoologist MfmwY     
n.動物學家
參考例句:
  • Charles darwin was a famous zoologist.查爾斯達爾文是一位著名的動物學家。
  • The zoologist had spent a long time living with monkeys.這位動物學家與猴子一起生活了很長時間。
11 remarkable 8Vbx6     
adj.顯著的,異常的,非凡的,值得注意的
參考例句:
  • She has made remarkable headway in her writing skills.她在寫作技巧方面有了長足進步。
  • These cars are remarkable for the quietness of their engines.這些汽車因發動機沒有噪音而不同凡響。
12 optimal zmDzhM     
adj.最適宜的;最理想的;最令人滿意的
參考例句:
  • What is the optimal mix of private and public property rights in natural resources?私人和國家的自然資源產權的最適宜的組合是什么?
  • Optimal path planning is a key link for the sailing contest.帆船最優行駛路徑規劃是帆船比賽取勝的關鍵環節。
13 alas Rx8z1     
int.唉(表示悲傷、憂愁、恐懼等)
參考例句:
  • Alas!The window is broken!哎呀!窗子破了!
  • Alas,the truth is less romantic.然而,真理很少帶有浪漫色彩。
14 optimality e9a7463503020dc2d575b144d385c3e9     
n.最優性;最佳性
參考例句:
  • The optimality method are introduced on slope cutting project in the paper. 將優化理論引入到削坡方案的選擇上。 來自互聯網
  • The necessary conditions for optimality were derived calculus of variations. 利用變分法原理,推導出滿足優化問題的必要條件。 來自互聯網
15 illustrates a03402300df9f3e3716d9eb11aae5782     
給…加插圖( illustrate的第三人稱單數 ); 說明; 表明; (用示例、圖畫等)說明
參考例句:
  • This historical novel illustrates the breaking up of feudal society in microcosm. 這部歷史小說是走向崩潰的封建社會的縮影。
  • Alfred Adler, a famous doctor, had an experience which illustrates this. 阿爾弗萊德 - 阿德勒是一位著名的醫生,他有過可以說明這點的經歷。 來自中級百科部分
16 actively lzezni     
adv.積極地,勤奮地
參考例句:
  • During this period all the students were actively participating.在這節課中所有的學生都積極參加。
  • We are actively intervening to settle a quarrel.我們正在積極調解爭執。
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