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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第108期:势不两立的科学(9)

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By this time, however, paleontological momentum had moved to England. In 1812, at Lyme Regis on the Dorset coast, an extraordinary child named Mary Anning—aged eleven, twelve, or thirteen, depending on whose account you read—found a strange fossilized sea monster, seventeen feet long and now known as the ichthyosaurus, embedded in the steep and dangerous cliffs along the English Channel.
然而,到这个时候,古生物研究的热潮已经移到英国。1812年,在多塞特郡的莱姆里吉斯,有个名叫玛丽•安宁的杰出小女孩——当时只有11岁、12岁或13岁,取决于你看的是谁写的故事——发现一块5米长、样子古怪的海生动物化石,嵌在英吉利海峡岸边一处陡峭而又危险的悬崖上。这类动物现在叫做鱼龙。
恐龙化石.jpgIt was the start of a remarkable career. Anning would spend the next thirty-five years gathering fossils, which she sold to visitors. (She is commonly held to be the source for the famous tongue twister "She sells seashells on the seashore.") She would also find the first plesiosaurus, another marine monster, and one of the first and best pterodactyls. Though none of these was technically a dinosaur, that wasn't terribly relevant at the time since nobody then knew what a dinosaur was. It was enough to realize that the world had once held creatures strikingly unlike anything we might now find.
安宁就这样开始了她不同凡响的一生。在之后的35年里,安宁采集化石,并把它们卖给游客。(人们普遍认为,她就是那首著名的绕口令《她在海边卖贝壳》的原始素材。)她还发现了第一块蛇颈龙(另一种海生动物)化石以及第一批最好的翼手龙化石中的一块。严格来说,这些都不是恐龙,但也没有多大关系,因为当时谁也不知道什么是恐龙。只要知道世界上生活过跟我们现在所能看到的完全不同的动物,这也就够了。
It wasn't simply that Anning was good at spotting fossils—though she was unrivalled at that—but that she could extract them with the greatest delicacy and without damage. If you ever have the chance to visit the hall of ancient marine reptiles at the Natural History Museum in London, I urge you to take it for there is no other way to appreciate the scale and beauty of what this young woman achieved working virtually unaided with the most basic tools in nearly impossible conditions. The plesiosaur alone took her ten years of patient excavation. Although untrained, Anning was also able to provide competent drawings and descriptions for scholars. But even with the advantage of her skills, significant finds were rare and she passed most of her life in poverty.
安宁不仅善于发现化石——显然她在这方面是无与伦比的——而且能小心翼翼地、完好无损地把化石挖出来。要是你有机会去参观伦敦自然史博物馆的古代海生爬行动物馆,我劝你不要错过这个机会。只有在这里,你才能欣赏到这位年轻女子使用最简单的工具,在极其困难的条件下,实际上是在孤立无援的情况下,所取得的巨大而又出色的成就。光挖那块蛇颈龙化石她就耐心地花了10年时间。安宁没有受过训练,但她也能为学者们提供像模像样的图片和说明。但是,尽管她具有这等技能,重大的发现毕竟是不多的,因此她一生的大部分时间是在极度贫困中度过的。
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extract ['ekstrækt,iks'trækt]
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n. 榨出物,精华,摘录
vt. 拔出,榨出,
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extraordinary [iks'trɔ:dnri]
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adj. 非凡的,特别的,特派的
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appreciate [ə'pri:ʃieit]
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vt. 欣赏,感激,赏识
vt. 领会,充分意
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competent ['kɔmpitənt]
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adj. 有能力的,胜任的,足够的
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steep [sti:p]
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adj. 陡峭的,险峻的,(价格)过高的
n.
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relevant ['relivənt]
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adj. 相关的,切题的,中肯的
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scale [skeil]
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n. 鳞,刻度,衡量,数值范围
v. 依比例决
 
channel ['tʃænl]
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n. 通道,频道,(消息)渠道,海峡,方法
v
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impossible [im'pɔsəbl]
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adj. 不可能的,做不到的
adj.
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source [sɔ:s]
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n. 发源地,来源,原始资料
 
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