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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第93期:敲石头的人们(18)

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Moreover, all this applies only to units of time . Rocks are divided into quite separate units known as systems, series, and stages. A distinction is also made between late and early (referring to time) and upper and lower (referring to layers of rock). It can all get terribly confusing to nonspecialists, but to a geologist these can be matters of passion. "I have seen grown men glow incandescent with rage over this metaphorical millisecond in life's history," the British paleontologist Richard Fortey has written with regard to a long-running twentieth-century dispute over where the boundary lies between the Cambrian and Ordovician.
而且,这一切都只用做时间的单位。岩石的单位还另有一套,叫做系、段和期。而且,还有早、晚(指时间)之分和上、下(指岩层)之别。对于不是专家的人来说,这简直是一锅粥;但对于地质学家来说,这都可能是会动感情的东西。“我看到大人们为了生命史上一毫秒的问题争得脸红脖子粗。”英国的理查德·福蒂在谈到20世纪为寒武纪和奥陶纪的分界线而展开的旷日持久的辩论时这样写道。
敲石头的人们.jpgAt least today we can bring some sophisticated dating techniques to the table. For most of the nineteenth century geologists could draw on nothing more than the most hopeful guesswork. The frustrating position then was that although they could place the various rocks and fossils in order by age, they had no idea how long any of those ages were. When Buckland speculated on the antiquity of an Ichthyosaurus skeleton he could do no better than suggest that it had lived somewhere between "ten thousand, or more than ten thousand times ten thousand" years earlier.
今天,我们至少可以使用某些先进的技术来确定年代。在19世纪的大部分时间里,地质学家们只能依赖于推测。他们可以按照时代来排列各种岩石和化石,但根本不知道这些年代的长短,这是很令人泄气的。当巴克兰推测一副鱼龙骨骼的古老程度的时候,他只能认为,它生活在大约“10000或10000以上乘以10000”年以前。
重点单词   查看全部解释    
boundary ['baundri]
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n. 分界线,边界
 
confusing [kən'fju:ziŋ]
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adj. 使人困惑的,令人费解的 动词confuse的现
 
distinction [dis'tiŋkʃən]
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n. 差别,对比,区分,荣誉,优秀
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skeleton ['skelitn]
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n. 骨架,纲要,骨骼,骨瘦如柴的人或动物,家丑
 
rage [reidʒ]
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n. 狂怒,大怒,狂暴,肆虐,风行
v. 大怒
 
passion ['pæʃən]
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n. 激情,酷爱
联想记忆
dispute [di'spju:t]
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v. 争论,争议,辩驳,质疑
n. 争论,争吵
联想记忆
separate ['sepəreit]
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n. 分开,抽印本
adj. 分开的,各自的,
 
sophisticated [sə'fistikeitid]
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adj. 诡辩的,久经世故的,精密的,老练的,尖端的
联想记忆
paleontologist [,pæliɔn'tɔlədʒist]
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n. 古生物学者 =palaeontologist
 
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