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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第127期:势不两立的科学(28)

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Of course dinosaur hunting didn't end with the deaths of the great nineteenth-century fossil hunters. Indeed, to a surprising extent it had only just begun. In 1898, the year that fell between the deaths of Cope and Marsh, a trove greater by far than anything found before was discovered—noticed, really—at a place called Bone Cabin Quarry, only a few miles from Marsh's prime hunting ground at Como Bluff, Wyoming. There, hundreds and hundreds of fossil bones were to be found weathering out of the hills. They were so numerous, in fact, that someone had built a cabin out of them—hence the name. In just the first two seasons, 100,000 pounds of ancient bones were excavated from the site, and tens of thousands of pounds more came in each of the half dozen years that followed.
当然,寻找恐龙的工作,没有随着19世纪伟大的恐龙搜寻家的去世而结束。实际上,在某种出人意料的程度上,这项工作才刚刚开始。1898年,也就是柯普和马什两人相继去世的中间一年,发现了——其实是注意到——一件比以前发现过的任何东西都要了不起的宝贝,地点是在“骨屋采石场”,离马什的主要搜寻场所——怀俄明州的科摩崖只有几公里。人们发现成百上千块骨头化石露在山体外面任凭风吹雨打。骨头的数量如此之多,竟有人用骨头盖起一间小屋——采石场的名字由此而来。仅仅在最初的两个季节里,发掘出来的古代骨头就达5万千克之多;在之后的6年里,每年又挖出成千上万千克。
势不两立的科学.jpgThe upshot is that by the turn of the twentieth century, paleontologists had literally tons of old bones to pick over. The problem was that they still didn't have any idea how old any of these bones were. Worse, the agreed ages for the Earth couldn't comfortably support the numbers of eons and ages and epochs that the past obviously contained. If Earth were really only twenty million years old or so, as the great Lord Kelvin insisted, then whole orders of ancient creatures must have come into being and gone out again practically in the same geological instant. It just made no sense.
结果,进入20世纪的时候,古生物学家实际上有着几吨重的古骨来供他们选择。问题在于,他们仍然搞不清这些骨头的年龄。更糟糕的是,大家公认的地球的年龄,与过去的岁月所显然包含的时期、年代和时代的数量不大吻合。要是地球真的只有2000万年历史,就像开尔文勋爵坚持认为的那样,那么各种古代生物都会在同一地质年代产生和消亡。这根本说不通。
重点单词   查看全部解释    
contained [kən'teind]
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adj. 泰然自若的,从容的;被控制的 v. 包含;遏制
 
numerous ['nju:mərəs]
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adj. 为数众多的,许多
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quarry ['kwɔri]
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n. 采石场,猎获物,出处,被追逐的目标 v. 挖出,苦
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prime [praim]
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adj. 最初的,首要的,最好的,典型的
n.
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extent [iks'tent]
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n. 广度,宽度,长度,大小,范围,范围,程度
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marsh [mɑ:ʃ]
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n. 沼泽,湿地
Marsh:马什(人名)
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fell [fel]
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动词fall的过去式
n. 兽皮
v
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