万物简史 第462期:生命在前进(04)

发表时间:2018-10-11内容来源:VOA英语学习网

As with all extinct creatures, there is a natural temptation to regard them as failures, but in fact they were among the most successful animals ever to live. Their reign ran for 300 million years—twice the span of dinosaurs, which were themselves one of history's great survivors. Humans, Fortey points out, have survived so far for one-half of 1 percent as long.

与别的灭绝的生物一样,人们很自然会认为它们是失败者。其实它们是生活过的最成功的动物之一。它们统治了3亿年——是恐龙存在时间的两倍,而恐龙本身也是历史上存在时间最长的动物之一。福泰指出,迄今为止,人类的存在时间只有其千分之五长。

With so much time at their disposal, the trilobites proliferated prodigiously. Most remained small, about the size of modern beetles, but some grew to be as big as platters. Altogether they formed at least five thousand genera and sixty thousand species—though more turn up all the time. Fortey had recently been at a conference in South America where he was approached by an academic from a small provincial university in Argentina.

三叶虫有那么漫长的支配时间,因此数量激剧增加。太多数个儿始终很小,大约是现代甲虫的大小,但有的大得像盘子。它们总共至少有5000属,60000种——虽然新的品种不断出现。福泰最近出席了在南美召开的一次会议,一位来自阿根廷某个地方大学的学者同他取得了联系。

"She had a box that was full of interesting things—trilobites that had never been seen before in South America, or indeed anywhere, and a great deal else. She had no research facilities to study them and no funds to look for more. Huge parts of the world are still unexplored."

“她有个盒子,里面装满了有意思的东西——在南美从未见过的、实际上在哪儿也没有见过的三时虫以及许多别的东西。她没有必要的设备来研究三叶虫,也没有资金来寻找更多的三叶虫。世界的很大部分地区还没有考察过。”

In terms of trilobites?

“你是指三叶虫?”

No, in terms of everything.

“不,指一切。”

Throughout the nineteenth century, trilobites were almost the only known forms of early complex life, and for that reason were assiduously collected and studied. The big mystery about them was their sudden appearance.

在整个19世纪,三叶虫几乎是惟一已知的早期复杂生命形式,因而受到大力的采集和研究。三叶虫的最大之谜是它们出现得很突然。

来自:VOA英语网 文章地址: /html/20181011/594802.html

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