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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第294期:地下的烈火(2)

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Working alone in the lab on the morning I passed through was a cheerfully grizzled-looking fellow in a blue work shirt whom I recognized as Mike Voorhies from a BBC television documentary in which he featured. They don't get a huge number of visitors to Ashfall Fossil Beds State Park—it's slightly in the middle of nowhere—and Voorhies seemed pleased to show me around. He took me to the spot atop a twenty-foot ravine where he had made his find.
一天上午,我从里面经过,只见一个身穿蓝色工作服、头发灰白的人独自在实验室里忙碌。我认出他就是主持过英国广播公司一部《地平线》记录片的迈克·沃里斯。州立阿什福尔化石床公园多少位于一个四周不着边际的地方,因此游客不算太多。沃里斯似乎很高兴带着我到各处转转。他还把我领到那6米深的隘口之顶,看一眼他的发现现场。
It was a dumb place to look for bones, he said happily. "But I wasn't looking for bones. I was thinking of making a geological map of eastern Nebraska at the time, and really just kind of poking around. If I hadn't gone up this ravine or the rains hadn't just washed out that skull, I'd have walked on by and this would never have been found." He indicated a roofed enclosure nearby, which had become the main excavation site. Some two hundred animals had been found lying together in a jumble.
“到这样的地方来找骨头是一件蠢事,”他快活地说,“不过,我不是在找骨头。当时,我在考虑绘制一幅东内布拉斯加的地质图,实际上只是在这一带到处走走。要是我没有爬上这个隘口,要是大雨没有把那块头骨冲到外面,我会径直走过去,根本不会发现这玩意儿。”他指了指近处一个带遮棚的地方,那里曾是主要发掘现场。他们发现大约有200头动物横七竖八地躺在一起。
陨石坑I asked him in what way it was a dumb place to hunt for bones. "Well, if you're looking for bones, you really need exposed rock. That's why most paleontology is done in hot, dry places. It's not that there are more bones there. It's just that you have some chance of spotting them. In a setting like this"—he made a sweeping gesture across the vast and unvarying prairie— "you wouldn't know where to begin. There could be really magnificent stuff out there, but there's no surface clues to show you where to start looking."
我问他为什么说到这样的地方来找骨头是一件蠢事。“哎呀,要想找到骨头,就得有暴露在外面的岩石。因此,大多数古生物学的工作是在炎热、干燥的地方完成的。倒不是因为那里的骨头多,而是因为发现骨头的可能性大。在这种地方,”他把手朝那广阔无垠的草原一挥,“你简直无从下手。那里可能确有了不起的东西,但地面上没有任何线索来指点你从哪儿开始寻找。”
At first they thought the animals were buried alive, and Voorhies stated as much in a National Geographic article in 1981.
起先,他们认为那些动物是被活埋在里面的,沃里斯1981年在《国家地理杂志》的一篇文章里就是那么阐述的。
重点单词   查看全部解释    
exposed [iks'pəuzd]
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adj. 暴露的,无掩蔽的,暴露于风雨中的 v. 暴露,
 
vast [vɑ:st]
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adj. 巨大的,广阔的
n. 浩瀚的太
 
enclosure [in'kləuʒə]
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n. 附件,围墙,围绕
联想记忆
jumble ['dʒʌmbl]
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vi. 掺杂,混杂
vt. 使混乱,搞乱
联想记忆
slightly ['slaitli]
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adv. 些微地,苗条地
 
documentary [.dɔkju'mentəri]
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adj. 文献的
n. 纪录片
 
setting ['setiŋ]
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n. 安装,放置,周围,环境,(为诗等谱写的)乐曲
 
gesture ['dʒestʃə]
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n. 手势,姿态
v. 作手势表达
联想记忆
skull [skʌl]
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n. 头骨,骷髅头
vt. 击打头部
 
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