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2013年经济学人 不是扁平足而是八字足

时间:2019-12-02 08:42来源:互联网 提供网友:nan   字体: [ ]
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Science and technology

科学与技术

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

新发现的化石显示,进化并不总意味着变化

Palaeontology

古生物学

Then and now

今与昔

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年当一种空棘鱼目鱼类—曾被认为是一种消失的连接鱼类和两栖动物的物种在南非海岸被发现时,古生物学家们为之一惊。

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.

至到当时,这种生物最新的踪迹只出现在可以追溯到距今六千五百万年前恐龙时代末期的化石中。

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

其惊人程度就如同在蒙大拿的某个阴暗地方发现了一只躲藏于其中的活体霸王龙。

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

如今,同样的事件再次让古生物学家们感到震惊—但是这次恰恰相反,

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

他们不是发现了一个与远古生物雷同的活化石,而是发现了一个与现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.

这里所讨论的化石中的生物是一个来自巴西东北部距今一亿年前的物种,属于Schizodactylus昆虫科。

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

它们是一些大型,蟋蟀状食肉昆虫,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.

当现代Schizodactylus科昆虫在沙地中搜寻猎物时,其足有如雪鞋可以帮助它们保持稳定。

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.

如果该新发现的化石—它的发掘已经被来自伊利诺亚州自然历史调查所的山姆.海兹以及来自瑞士夫里堡大学的雷.卢辛格发表在了《Zookeys》杂志上—仅仅是与现代八字足昆虫相似,那么这一发现也没有什么大惊小怪的:因为这只显示了一种叫做进化停止的现象,其间某一特定体态在相当长一段时间内保持不变。

What is surprising is just how static Schizodactylus has been.

然而让人感到惊奇的是Schizodactylus科昆虫的进化尽然是如此得缓慢。

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

进化停止在生物分类法的林奈分类体系中的高级别生物里比较常见。

Natural selection hits on a good design.

当自然选择挑中了一个理想的设计后,

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

一个接一个的物种便以略微不同的形式采纳这种设计。

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.

举个例子,海龟的甲状躯壳约在2亿5千万年前至2亿年前就已经进化完成,相比之下蝎子的身体构制更是在4亿多年内都未有大的变化。

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,这并不意味着一位动物学家可以将一只2亿年前的海龟或是一只4亿年前的蝎子与现在对应的活体物种混为一谈。

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.

而这一新发现令人关注的地方在于化石中的物种与现代对应物种是如此得相似以至于它可以被当作是现代物种的某一现存种类—种类是林奈物种分类法中最低的一级,而不是更高级别的种群。

That is rare indeed.

这的确很罕见。

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

经过进一步检验,就算是现代空棘鱼的种类也有别于任何已知化石中的空棘鱼的种类。

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

显然,Schizodactylus科昆虫拥有的的身体构制不仅令人满意,而且是最佳的,至少是为了其所生存的环境而生。

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

而让Schizodactylus科昆虫感到悲哀的是其所青睐的沙漠在巴西已经消退而它们的最佳身体构制也随之消失。

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.

但是该化石的发现更好地展示了世界的这一地区在1亿年前是个什么摸样---同时也阐明了有关进化的一点重要内容,一个经常在生物学家对于发展的推陈出新所持有的一种可理解的关注中而被遗忘的一点内容。

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

自然选择的第一条规则就是:未损勿修。

词语解释

1.evolution n.进化;发展

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

不出30年,人类将讨论是否要掌控自身的进化。

2.amphibian1 n.两栖动物;水陆两用飞机

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

举个例子,许多两栖类生物研究专家正积极的从事这项工作。

3.creature n.生物;动物

This creature lives in the depth of the ocean.

这种生物生活在海洋深处。

4.obscure a.难解的;不著名的;微暗的

The rules for the competition are somewhat obscure.

比赛的规则有点让人费解。

5.fossil n.化石;食古不化的人

Coal is a fossil fuel.

煤是一种矿物燃料。


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 amphibian mwHzx     
n.两栖动物;水陆两用飞机和车辆
参考例句:
  • The frog is an amphibian,which means it can live on land and in water.青蛙属于两栖动物,也就是说它既能生活在陆地上也能生活在水里。
  • Amphibian is an important specie in ecosystem and has profound meaning in the ecotoxicology evaluation.两栖类是生态系统中的重要物种,并且对环境毒理评价有着深远意义。
2 amphibians c4a317a734a700eb6f767bdc511c1588     
两栖动物( amphibian的名词复数 ); 水陆两用车; 水旱两生植物; 水陆两用飞行器
参考例句:
  • The skin of amphibians is permeable to water. 两栖动物的皮肤是透水的。
  • Two amphibians ferry them out over the sands. 两辆水陆两用车把他们渡过沙滩。
3 dinosaurs 87f9c39b9e3f358174d58a584c2727b4     
n.恐龙( dinosaur的名词复数 );守旧落伍的人,过时落后的东西
参考例句:
  • The brontosaurus was one of the largest of all dinosaurs. 雷龙是所有恐龙中最大的一种。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Dinosaurs have been extinct for millions of years. 恐龙绝种已有几百万年了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
4 specimen Xvtwm     
n.样本,标本
参考例句:
  • You'll need tweezers to hold up the specimen.你要用镊子来夹这标本。
  • This specimen is richly variegated in colour.这件标本上有很多颜色。
5 terrain sgeyk     
n.地面,地形,地图
参考例句:
  • He had made a detailed study of the terrain.他对地形作了缜密的研究。
  • He knows the terrain of this locality like the back of his hand.他对这一带的地形了如指掌。
6 prey g1czH     
n.被掠食者,牺牲者,掠食;v.捕食,掠夺,折磨
参考例句:
  • Stronger animals prey on weaker ones.弱肉强食。
  • The lion was hunting for its prey.狮子在寻找猎物。
7 evolutionary Ctqz7m     
adj.进化的;演化的,演变的;[生]进化论的
参考例句:
  • Life has its own evolutionary process.生命有其自身的进化过程。
  • These are fascinating questions to be resolved by the evolutionary studies of plants.这些十分吸引人的问题将在研究植物进化过程中得以解决。
8 scorpion pD7zk     
n.蝎子,心黑的人,蝎子鞭
参考例句:
  • The scorpion has a sting that can be deadly.蝎子有可以致命的螫针。
  • The scorpion has a sting that can be deadly.蝎子有可以致命的螫针。
9 scorpions 0f63b2c0873e8cba29ba4550835d32a9     
n.蝎子( scorpion的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • You promise me that Black Scorpions will never come back to Lanzhou. 你保证黑蝎子永远不再踏上兰州的土地。 来自电影对白
  • You Scorpions are rather secretive about your likes and dislikes. 天蝎:蝎子是如此的神秘,你的喜好很难被别人洞悉。 来自互联网
10 zoologist MfmwY     
n.动物学家
参考例句:
  • Charles darwin was a famous zoologist.查尔斯达尔文是一位著名的动物学家。
  • The zoologist had spent a long time living with monkeys.这位动物学家与猴子一起生活了很长时间。
11 remarkable 8Vbx6     
adj.显著的,异常的,非凡的,值得注意的
参考例句:
  • She has made remarkable headway in her writing skills.她在写作技巧方面有了长足进步。
  • These cars are remarkable for the quietness of their engines.这些汽车因发动机没有噪音而不同凡响。
12 optimal zmDzhM     
adj.最适宜的;最理想的;最令人满意的
参考例句:
  • What is the optimal mix of private and public property rights in natural resources?私人和国家的自然资源产权的最适宜的组合是什么?
  • Optimal path planning is a key link for the sailing contest.帆船最优行驶路径规划是帆船比赛取胜的关键环节。
13 alas Rx8z1     
int.唉(表示悲伤、忧愁、恐惧等)
参考例句:
  • Alas!The window is broken!哎呀!窗子破了!
  • Alas,the truth is less romantic.然而,真理很少带有浪漫色彩。
14 optimality e9a7463503020dc2d575b144d385c3e9     
n.最优性;最佳性
参考例句:
  • The optimality method are introduced on slope cutting project in the paper. 将优化理论引入到削坡方案的选择上。 来自互联网
  • The necessary conditions for optimality were derived calculus of variations. 利用变分法原理,推导出满足优化问题的必要条件。 来自互联网
15 illustrates a03402300df9f3e3716d9eb11aae5782     
给…加插图( illustrate的第三人称单数 ); 说明; 表明; (用示例、图画等)说明
参考例句:
  • This historical novel illustrates the breaking up of feudal society in microcosm. 这部历史小说是走向崩溃的封建社会的缩影。
  • Alfred Adler, a famous doctor, had an experience which illustrates this. 阿尔弗莱德 - 阿德勒是一位著名的医生,他有过可以说明这点的经历。 来自中级百科部分
16 actively lzezni     
adv.积极地,勤奋地
参考例句:
  • During this period all the students were actively participating.在这节课中所有的学生都积极参加。
  • We are actively intervening to settle a quarrel.我们正在积极调解争执。
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TAG标签:   2013年听力  经济学人
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