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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第115期:势不两立的科学(16)

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Owen swiftly distinguished himself with his powers of organization and deduction. At the same time he showed himself to be a peerless anatomist with instincts for reconstruction almost on a par with the great Cuvier in Paris. He become such an expert on the anatomy of animals that he was granted first refusal on any animal that died at the London Zoological Gardens, and these he would invariably have delivered to his house for examination.
欧文很快以他的组织能力和演绎能力受人注意。同时,他证明自己是个无与伦比的解剖学家,具有很强的复原本能,几乎可以与巴黎伟大的居维叶相比。他成为解剖动物方面的一名专家,对伦敦动物园里死去的任何动物拥有优先取舍权,而那类东西又无一例外地送到他的家里供他来检查。
势不两立的科学.jpgOnce his wife returned home to find a freshly deceased rhinoceros filling the front hallway. He quickly became a leading expert on all kinds of animals living and extinct—from platypuses, echidnas, and other newly discovered marsupials to the hapless dodo and the extinct giant birds called moas that had roamed New Zealand until eaten out of existence by the Maoris. He was the first to describe the archaeopteryx after its discovery in Bavaria in 1861 and the first to write a formal epitaph for the dodo. Altogether he produced some six hundred anatomical papers, a prodigious output.
有一回,他的妻子回到家里,只见一头刚死的犀牛堵住了前门走廊。他很快成为一名各种动物方面的杰出专家,无论是现存的还是绝种的动物——从鸭嘴兽、针鼹和别的新发现的有袋动物,到倒霉的渡渡鸟以及已经绝了种的大鸟——恐鸟。后者本来自由自在地生活在新西兰,最后被毛里人吃个干净。1861年,他在巴伐利亚发现了始祖鸟,是描述始祖鸟的第一人,也是为渡渡鸟写正式墓志铭的第一人。他总共发表了大约600篇关于解剖学的论文,这个数字真够庞大了。
But it was for his work with dinosaurs that Owen is remembered. He coined the term dinosauria in 1841. It means "terrible lizard" and was a curiously inapt name. Dinosaurs, as we now know, weren't all terrible—some were no bigger than rabbits and probably extremely retiring—and the one thing they most emphatically were not was lizards, which are actually of a much older (by thirty million years) lineage. Owen was well aware that the creatures were reptilian and had at his disposal a perfectly good Greek word, herpeton, but for some reason chose not to use it. Another, more excusable error (given the paucity of specimens at the time) was that dinosaurs constitute not one but two orders of reptiles: the bird-hipped ornithischians and the lizard-hipped saurischians.
不过,是由于他在恐龙方面的成就,欧文才为人们记得。他在1841年创造了“恐龙”这个名称。它的意思是“可怕的蜥蜴”,这是个极不合适的名字。现在我们知道,恐龙毫不可怕——有的还没有兔子大,很可能是离群索居的。有一点是肯定的:它们不是蜥蜴。实际上,恐龙是一个古老得多的家族(距今大约3亿年前)。欧文很清楚,它们是爬行动物,希腊文里已经有了个很合适的名词——爬行动物,但由于某种原因他不愿意采用。他还犯了个更加可以原谅的错误(考虑到当时标本很少),那就是,他没有注意到,恐龙不是由一种而是由两种爬行动物组成:臀部像鸟的鸟臀目恐龙和臀部像蜥蜴的蜥臀目恐龙。
重点单词   查看全部解释    
anatomical [,ænə'tɔmikəl]
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adj. 解剖的;解剖学的;结构上的
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extremely [iks'tri:mli]
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adv. 极其,非常
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reptilian [rep'tiliən]
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adj. 爬虫类的,卑下的
 
disposal [dis'pəuzəl]
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n. 处理,处置,布置,配置
n. 垃圾
 
epitaph ['epitɑ:f]
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n. 墓志铭
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invariably [in'vɛəriəbli]
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adv. 不变化地,一定不变地,常常地
 
extinct [iks'tiŋkt]
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adj. 灭绝的,熄灭的,耗尽的
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lizard ['lizəd]
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n. 蜥蜴,蜥蜴皮
 
constitute ['kɔnstitju:t]
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vt. 构成,建立,任命
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emphatically [im'fætikəli]
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adv. 着重地;强调地;断然地
 
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