富勒姆vs沃特福德: 沃特福德vs南安普顿

2013年經濟學人 八字足而非平足

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Science and Technology

科學技術

Palaeontology

古生物學

Splay-footed, not flat-footed

八字足,而非平足

A new fossil shows that evolution does not always mean change

一個新的化石表明:進化并不總是意味著改變

Then and now

過去與現在

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.

以前人們一度認為一種叫做腔棘魚的鰭魚是魚類和兩棲類之間缺少的環節,1938年當腔棘魚在南非海岸沿海被發現時,古生物學家對它的出現大感震驚。

Until then, the most recent traces of such a creature had been in rocks dating from the last days of the dinosaurs4, 65m years ago.

在此之前,這種動物最近的遺跡出現在6500萬年前恐龍時代后期的巖層中。

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

而它這次的出現方式,就好像一個活生生的霸王龍屬被發現藏身在蒙大拿州的模糊地帶一樣令人驚訝。

Now the same experience is hitting palaeontologists again—but this time in reverse. Instead of finding a living fossil identical to an ancient beast, they have found a real fossil identical to a modern one.

現在,同樣的經歷再次讓古生物學家碰上了,不過這次相反。他們不是找到了一個與古獸相同的活化石”,而是找到了一個跟現代獸類相同的真正化石。

The fossil in question, a 100m-year-old specimen5 from north-east Brazil, belongs to the genus Schizodactylus.

所討論的的化石采自巴西東北部,是一億年前的標本,屬于節肢動物類。

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

這類節肢動物是大型類似板球的食肉昆蟲,其足向不同方向伸展開來。

Modern Schizodactylus use their feet like snowshoes, to help them remain stable as they travel over sandy terrain6 in search of prey7.

現代節肢動物在沙地爬行尋找獵物時用它們雪鞋般的腳來幫助身體保持穩定。

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:

如果新化石其發現剛由伊利諾斯州自然史調查的負責人山姆和瑞士弗里堡大學的李?勞伊辛格發表在《動物圖譜》上僅是類似現代的八字足昆蟲,那么這個發現不會特別令人驚訝:

it simply demonstrates a phenomenon called evolutionary8 stasis, in which a specific type of body form hangs around for a long time.

它只是證明了一種被稱為進化停滯的現象,在這種現象中特定類型的體型存留很長一段時間了。

What is surprising is just how static Schizodactylus has been.

令人驚訝的是節肢動物停止進化竟有這么久了。

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

在林耐生物分類系統的高等類別中進化停滯現象是相當普遍的。

Natural selection hits on a good design.

自然選擇的圖案都是最好的。

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

然后,這種圖案就被一個接一個的物種以略有不同的形式所采納。

The shelled bodies of turtles, for example, evolved between 250m and 200m years ago, while the body plans of scorpions10 have been around for more than 400m years.

例如,海龜的殼體是在2.5~2.0億年前進化的,而蝎子的體型方案已超過4億年的歷史。

That does not mean, however, that a zoologist11 would mistake a 200m-year-old turtle or a 400m-year-old scorpion9 for any species now alive.

然而這并不意味著一個動物學家會弄錯2億歲的海龜或是4億歲的蝎子屬于現在存活的何種物種。

What is remarkable12 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.

新發現引人注目的是它與現代動物如此相似,以致它可以被列入現有生物分類種類,而不是只被列入某一更高等的分類組。

That is rare indeed.

這的確罕見。

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

經過仔細觀察,甚至就連現代腔棘魚都必須得歸類于不同于任何已知化石的種類。

Clearly the body plan of Schizodactylus is not merely good, but optimal13, at least for the environment the animal lives in.

顯然,節肢動物的體型方案不僅是最好的,也是最佳的,至少對這種動物生活的環境而言是如此。

Alas14 for Schizodactylus, the sandy deserts it prefers have retreated from north-eastern Brazil and its optimality15 there has vanished.

唉,對節肢動物來說,它所喜愛的沙質沙漠已經從巴西東北部退卻,它在那里的最佳體態已經消失。

But its discovery shows better what this part of the world was like 100m years ago—and also illustrates16 an important point about evolution that is often forgotten in biologists' understandable focus on the development of novelty. The first rule of natural selection is: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.”

但它的發現恰好說明這部分的大千世界跟1億年前的樣子很象,也說明了進化論的一個重點,而這點在生物學家關注理解新穎性的發展時往往被遺忘了。自然選擇的第一條規則是:如果沒壞,就不要修理它。”

詞語解釋

1.evolution n.進化;發展

Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace discovered evolution independently.

查爾斯·達爾文和阿爾弗雷德· 羅素·華萊士各自獨立地發現了進化論。

2.amphibian1 a.兩棲類的;水陸兩用的

It is being actively17 pursued by amphibian specialists, for example.

舉個例,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

We can't see microscopic18 creature with naked eyes.

我們不能用肉眼看到微生物。

4.dinosaur3 n.恐龍

The blue whale is bigger than the biggest dinosaur.

藍鯨比最大的恐龍還要大。

5.experience n.經驗;經歷

He has had no previous experience in this kind of job.

他從前沒有做這種工作的經驗。


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 dinosaur xuSxp     
n.恐龍
參考例句:
  • Are you trying to tell me that David was attacked by a dinosaur?你是想要告訴我大衛被一支恐龍所攻擊?
  • He stared at the faithful miniature of the dinosaur.他凝視著精確的恐龍縮小模型。
4 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》
5 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。
6 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。
7 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。
8 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。
9 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。
10 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
11 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。
12 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。
13 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。
14 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。
15 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
16 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
17 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。
18 microscopic nDrxq     
adj.微小的,細微的,極小的,顯微的
參考例句:
  • It's impossible to read his microscopic handwriting.不可能看清他那極小的書寫字跡。
  • A plant's lungs are the microscopic pores in its leaves.植物的肺就是其葉片上微細的氣孔。
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