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      科學美國人60秒: 滅絕抹殺了進化的艱辛

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      Extinction Wipes Out Evolution's Hard Work

      滅絕抹殺了進化的艱辛

      New Zealand once had a Dr. Seuss–worthy assortment of birds—take the giant moa, a flightless bird twice as tall as an adult human, which weighed more than a sumo wrestler. Then there was the Haast’s eagle, the largest eagle ever known to exist. It hunted the moa.

      新西蘭曾經有過一種很適合蘇斯博士研究的鳥類——以巨型恐鳥為例,這種不會飛的鳥的身高是成年人類的兩倍,體重超過相撲選手。然后是哈斯特之鷹,已知存在的最大的鷹。它追捕摩亞。

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      But, as the story often goes, then came humans: first the Maori, about 700 years ago, and then European colonists, a couple hundred years ago. Both sets of people drove many of New Zealand’s unique birds to extinction. And many of the surviving species are now threatened or endangered.

      但是,就像傳說中經常發生的那樣,后來人類出現了:首先是700年前的毛利人,然后是幾百年前的歐洲殖民者。這兩種人都使許多新西蘭特有的鳥類滅絕。許多幸存的物種現在受到威脅或瀕臨滅絕。

      “So you have species like the kiwi, the kakapo, kea, the kaka, the takahe—all with nice Maori names, but all in danger of going extinct.”

      “所以有一些物種,比如獼猴桃、鸮鸚鵡、kea、kaka、takahe,它們都有很好聽的毛利人名字,但都有滅絕的危險。”

      Luis Valente, an evolutionary biologist at the Natural History Museum of Berlin. Valente and his colleagues used genetic data to build a tree of New Zealand’s living and extinct native birds. They then used a model to estimate how long it took new species to emerge. Which allowed them to assess humans’ bird-killing habits—on an evolutionary time scale.

      柏林自然歷史博物館的進化生物學家路易斯·瓦倫蒂說。瓦倫蒂和他的同事利用基因數據建立了一棵新西蘭現存和已滅絕本土鳥類的樹。然后他們用一個模型來估計新物種出現的時間。這使得他們能夠在進化的時間尺度上評估人類捕殺鳥類的習慣。

      “In a couple of centuries, humans wiped out 50 million years of evolutionary history. So the little impact we think we have is having repercussions for millions of years.” The analysis is in the journal Current Biology. [Luis Valente, Rampal S. Etienne and Juan C. Garcia-R., Deep macroevolutionary impact of humans on New Zealand’s unique avifauna]

      在幾個世紀里,人類抹去了5000萬年的進化史。所以我們認為我們所受到的影響很小,但卻影響了數百萬年。這項分析發表在《當代生物學》雜志上。

      Looking ahead, the scientists say it could take another 10 million years to recover species that are currently threatened, or near threatened, if nothing is done to save them. But it’s not all doom and gloom.

      展望未來,科學家們表示,如果不采取任何措施拯救目前或即將受到威脅的物種,可能還需要1000萬年的時間來恢復這些物種。但也不全是厄運和悲觀。

      “The conservation efforts being done in New Zealand at the moment are quite pioneering, and they’ve been quite successful. So I think we’re still at a position where we can still prevent lots of millions of years of evolution from further being lost.” As ecologist Aldo Leopold said, “To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.”

      “目前在新西蘭進行的保護工作是非常開創性的,而且非常成功。所以我認為我們仍然處在一個階段,我們仍然可以防止數百萬年的進化進一步消失。正如生態學家奧爾多利奧波德所言:“明智地修補每一個齒輪和輪子,是首要的預防措施。”

      Extinction Wipes Out Evolution's Hard Work

      New Zealand once had a Dr. Seuss–worthy assortment of birds—take the giant moa, a flightless bird twice as tall as an adult human, which weighed more than a sumo wrestler. Then there was the Haast’s eagle, the largest eagle ever known to exist. It hunted the moa.

      But, as the story often goes, then came humans: first the Maori, about 700 years ago, and then European colonists, a couple hundred years ago. Both sets of people drove many of New Zealand’s unique birds to extinction. And many of the surviving species are now threatened or endangered.

      “So you have species like the kiwi, the kakapo, kea, the kaka, the takahe—all with nice Maori names, but all in danger of going extinct.”

      Luis Valente, an evolutionary biologist at the Natural History Museum of Berlin. Valente and his colleagues used genetic data to build a tree of New Zealand’s living and extinct native birds. They then used a model to estimate how long it took new species to emerge. Which allowed them to assess humans’ bird-killing habits—on an evolutionary time scale.

      “In a couple of centuries, humans wiped out 50 million years of evolutionary history. So the little impact we think we have is having repercussions for millions of years.” The analysis is in the journal Current Biology. [Luis Valente, Rampal S. Etienne and Juan C. Garcia-R., Deep macroevolutionary impact of humans on New Zealand’s unique avifauna]

      Looking ahead, the scientists say it could take another 10 million years to recover species that are currently threatened, or near threatened, if nothing is done to save them. But it’s not all doom and gloom.

      “The conservation efforts being done in New Zealand at the moment are quite pioneering, and they’ve been quite successful. So I think we’re still at a position where we can still prevent lots of millions of years of evolution from further being lost.” As ecologist Aldo Leopold said, “To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.”


      內容來自 VOA英語學習網http://www.tg377.com/show-8762-241822-1.html
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