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琥珀中发现的 6 种神奇事物

6 of the Coolest Things We've Found in Amber

Amber is amazing stuff.
琥珀是种神奇的东西
And not just because you can use it to make really cool necklaces
不仅因为你能用它制作非常时髦的项链
or you know a brontosaurus apparently…
似乎还能制作雷龙式样的饰品……
The specimens found in amber can teach us a lot
在琥珀中发现的标本可以告诉我们很多
about evolution or even how diseases like the plagues spread.
关于进化甚至瘟疫这样的疾病是如何传播的
That’s because amber preserves organisms whole
这是由于琥珀完整地保护了生物体
and essentially freezes them in time.
及时从根本上冻结了它们
How does it happen?
这是如何发生的?
Well, first, some poor plant or animal gets stuck
一开始 一些可怜的动植物
in a glob of tree resin,
被困在一团树脂中
a sticky ,thick substance a plant releases when it’s damaged.
这是在植物受伤时释放的一种粘稠的物质
Then, when the resin hardens,
然后 树脂变硬时
the creature gets pretty much mummified.
里面的生物就差不多成了木乃伊
Like, seriously.
说实在的
The chemical composition of tree resin actually dehydrates organisms,
事实上树脂的化学成分会使生物脱水
and that stops the processes that would otherwise break down their tissues.
这就阻断了原本会分解它们的组织的过程
Resin even has antiseptic and antimicrobial compounds
树脂甚至含有防腐和杀菌的化合物
that help prevent fungi from decomposing things.
这有助于防止真菌分解
This means stuff that normally wouldn’t fossilize well,
这些无法形成化石的物质
like plants and soft animal tissue,
如植物和动物软组织之类
can be preserved in amber.
就可以变成琥珀被保存
And the specimens we’ve found in it so far range
目前为止 我们在琥珀中发现的标本
from amazing to downright bizarre.
从惊人到极其怪异的都有
So, without further ado, here are six of the coolest
那么 话不多说 下面是我们发现的
things we’ve found trapped in amber.
困在琥珀里六样最酷的东西
First, check out the leaves of this carnivorous plant,
首先 看看这片食肉植物的叶子
which were described in a 2015 paper
这在2015年《美国国家科学院院刊》的
in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
一篇论文中有所描述
They’re 35 million years old,
它们有3500万年的历史
and they come from a kind of ancient Roridulid plant
由一种捕虫木科的远古植物进化而来
a genus of evergreen, insect-trapping shrubs.
它是常青捕虫灌木的一个属
Scientists figured this out because the leaves
科学家们能断定这一点
have features that are really similar
是因为这些叶子的特征
to modern roridula plants found in South Africa.
和在南非发现的现代捕虫木科植物非常相似
Like, for one, they’re long, narrow, and tapered.
其中一些特征是 它们又长又窄 呈锥形
They’re also covered in two kinds of hair-like
它们还被两种叫做毛状体的
structures called trichomes.
毛发状结构所覆盖
One kind is stiffer and not sticky,
一种结构更硬一些 无黏性
and the other comes in different lengths and secretes a kind of glue.
另一种有不同的长度 会分泌一种胶状物
Those are the structures that trap and immobilize insects,
这些结构能诱捕和困住昆虫
which is what makes these plants carnivorous.
这就是这些植物肉食性的原因
Except, roridulids like this ancient specimen also
此外类似于这种古老标本的捕虫木科
seem to have a problem:
似乎也有一个问题:
Once they’ve caught a meal with their sticky trichomes,
它们每次用自己的黏性毛状体猎食时
they can’t actually break it down on their own.
实际上没法自己分解食物
They just don’t have the digestive enzymes for it.
它们并没有消化食物的酶
But, they’ve made do.
不过它们已解决了这个问题
Instead of evolving their own enzymes, they rely on capsid
这种植物依靠衣壳虫为自己做此项工作
bugs to do the job for them.
而非进化属于自己的酶
The bugs feed on the trapped organisms and then,
这些虫子以被捕获的生物为食
the plant feasts on the capsid’s poop.
然后这些植物享受衣壳虫的粪便
Delightful, I love it!
太令人愉悦了 我爱它!
Seeing something like this trapped in amber is always cool,
看到这些被困在琥珀中的东西总是很酷
because plant leaves generally don’t fossilize well.
因为植物通常不会很好地变成化石
But this specimen also told scientists something
但是这种标本也告诉科学家们
about the climate this plant lived in.
这种植物生存的气候
Before this fossil was found, scientists thought
在这块化石被发现之前
roridulids originated on Gondwana,
科学家认为捕虫木科起源于冈瓦纳大陆
the supercontinent that split up
这块超大陆使得
to make Australia and part of South America, among other things.
澳大利亚和部分南美洲分裂开来
But this bit of amber was found in a mine
但这块琥珀发现于俄罗斯
near Kaliningrad, Russia,
加里宁格勒附近的一个矿井中
which means that the plants might have been in
这意味着这些植物可能
the Northern Hemisphere for a while, too.
在北半球也待过一段时间
Since roridula plants don’t do well in the cold,
由于捕虫木科不适宜在寒冷的天气里生长
that suggests the climate in Russia some thirty-five million years ago
这表明3500万年前 俄罗斯的气候
was probably warmer than it is today.
可能比现在更温暖
Which seems like a lot to learn from one piece of old tree resin.
从一片古老的树脂中似乎可以学到很多
In 2011, scientists found 11
2011年 科学家发现了十一种
early forms of feathers, called protofeathers,
名为原始羽毛的早期形态的羽毛
hiding in amber specimens from a
它们藏于加拿大的一家博物馆
museum and a university in Canada.
和一所大学的琥珀标本里
The protofeathers were from the Late Cretaceous period,
原始羽毛来自于白垩纪晚期
around a hundred to 66 million years ago.
距今约一亿至六千六百万年
And that was really convenient, because most of
这很利于研究 因为在那之前
the feathers found before then
发现的多数羽毛都来自
were from much earlier in history —
约1.46亿年
about 146 ——100 million years ago.
到1亿年前的更早的年代
So scientists had a gap in their understanding of feather evolution.
所以科学家对羽毛进化的研究有一块空白
That meant that, no matter what,
这意味着无论如何
these amber specimens were going to be useful.
这些琥珀标本会很有用
But they turned out to be unbelievably helpful,
而事实证明它们不是一般的有用
because they contained four distinct stages of feather evolution.
因为它们包含羽毛进化的四个不同阶段
First, there were filament fibers which kind of look like hairs,
首先 有头发状的细丝纤维
except, they’re hollow and don’t have scales on their surface.
此外 它们是中空的 表面没有鳞片
Researchers concluded these feathers were really similar to
研究人员得出结论 这些羽毛与
protofeathers on certain non-avian dinosaurs,
某些非鸟类恐龙身上有利于保暖的
which helped keep the animals warm.
原始羽毛很像
Next, the second stage was a bunch of
接下来 第二阶段是一束
these filaments branching out from a base.
从基部分支出来的细丝
Kind of like the protofeathers on some leaping dinosaurs.
这有点像一些跳跃恐龙的原始羽毛
These may have been decorative or added stiffness to their tails.
它们可能是装饰或是为了增加尾巴的硬度
In the third stage, those tufts of filaments fused
第三阶段 这些丝簇融合成
to form a central shaft and barbules.
一个中心轴和小枝
These protofeathers actually looked a lot like
这些原始羽毛实际上看起来很像
feathers from modern-day grebes.
现代水鸟的羽毛
These diving birds have similar feathers on their bellies to
这些潜水鸟腹部有类似的羽毛
help them absorb water
来吸收水分
and make them less buoyant so they can dive.
降低浮力 以便潜水
So scientists suggest these stage three feathers in amber
因此科学家们认为琥珀中第三阶段的羽毛
may have been from Late Cretaceous diving dinos.
可能来自白垩纪晚期的潜水恐龙
Finally, the stage four feathers looked really similar to those
最后 第四阶段的羽毛
on many modern day birds,
真的很像现代鸟类的羽毛
and could have been used for a range of functions, including flight.
它们可用于包括飞行在内的一系列功能
The team thinks they did come from dinosaurs though,
不过 研究小组认为它们确实来自恐龙
based on the amber’s age and the
这是基于琥珀的年龄
similarities to other specimens.
及与其他标本的相似性得出的
Overall, these researchers pretty much
总的来说 研究人员们差不多算是
hit the amber jackpot.
中了琥珀的大奖
They had believed these four stages existed before,
他们之前认为这四个阶段是存在的
but with these discoveries,
但伴随着这些发现
they essentially got a timeline of how feathers evolved
他们基本上得到了羽毛如何进化和
and how they were used during the Late Cretaceous.
它们在白垩纪晚期如何起作用的时间轴
In our last two examples, it was easy to see why
在我们的最后两个例子中 很容易看出
the specimens were cool.
为什么标本很酷
But sometimes, the most amazing part of these discoveries
但有时 这些发现中最令人惊讶的部分
isn’t as obvious.
并不那么明显
That was the case in 2015,
2015年有一个例子
when scientists identified a new species of flea trapped in amber.
当时科学家发现了琥珀里的一种新的跳蚤
The amber came from a mine in the mountains of
这块琥珀来自多米尼加共和国
the Dominican Republic,
山区的一个矿井
and the flea inside was somewhere between
其中的跳蚤距今已经有
15 and 45 million years old.
1500万到4500万年了
It looked pretty similar to modern fleas,
它看起来很像现代跳蚤
except with a few extra appendages
除了它具有一些额外的附属物
and features like small eyes.
和小眼睛等特征
But the really cool thing was what scientists found in its mouth.
但真正酷的是科学家在其口中发现的东西
There, they discovered a group of bacteria
他们在那里发现了一组细菌
with roughly the same size and shape
其大小和形状
as the modern bacterium that caused the bubonic plague.
与导致淋巴腺鼠疫的现代细菌大致相同
Yes, that plague, the plague.
是的 是那场黑死病
Although the researchers couldn’t confirm it,
尽管研究人员无法证实
they think these microbes may be
但他们认为这些微生物
an ancestor of the bacterium
可能是导致臭名昭著的
that caused the infamous fourteenth-century Black Death.
14世纪黑死病的细菌的祖先
And if that’s true, it means ancient plague strains
如果这是真的 这意味着古代瘟疫菌株
may not have evolved as human parasites,
可能并非由人类寄生虫进化而来
but as rodent ones.
而是啮齿目动物寄生虫
That’s partly because, well, humans weren’t around 15 million years ago.
部分原因是1500万年前人类还不存在
But also, the ancient bacteria were found in a glob of
而且这种古老的细菌发现于
dried gunk near the flea’s esophagus
跳蚤食道附近的一团干泥状物质中
which looks a lot like the glob that forms
这很像今天的跳蚤
when today’s fleas drink plague-infested rat blood.
喝瘟疫肆虐时的老鼠血时形成的东西
Scientists found fossilized rodent hairs
科学家也在发现新跳蚤的地方
at the site where the new flea was discovered, too.
发现了啮齿动物毛发化石
That suggests plagues might have wiped out
这表明瘟疫消灭的动物
way more animals than previously thought ,
可能比之前想象的多得多
and maybe they even contributed to extinctions.
也许它们甚至带来了生物灭绝
In any case, this isn’t something we would have figured out
无论如何 如果那只可怜的跳蚤
if that poor flea hadn’t got stuck
没被困在一堆树脂里
in a bunch of tree resin.
我们就不会发现这一点
So, Thanks for your sacrifice, flea.
所以 谢谢你的牺牲 跳蚤
Speaking of blood suckers, this next creature is a little less well-known.
说到吸血鬼 下个生物就没那么出名了
It’s called a bat fly.
它叫蝠蝇
There are about five hundred species of them,
它们大约有五百种
and they’re like the vampires of the fly
就像苍蝇世界的吸血鬼
world, because they feed entirely on bat blood.
因为它们完全以蝙蝠血为食
Or maybe they’re like the vampires of the vampires of the animal kingdom…
或者它们就像动物界吸血鬼中的吸血鬼
Anyway.
无论如何
In 2011, scientists found a 15 to 45
2011年科学家发现了一只
million-year-old bat fly
1500万到4500万年前的蝠蝇
stuck in amber from that same mountain
它被困在多米尼加共和国
range in the Dominican Republic.
同一山脉的琥珀中
It’s one of only two fossilized
这是迄今为止发现的仅有的
bat flies ever found,
两个蝠蝇化石之一
and as is the trend here, that
但正如这里的走向一样
wasn’t the most interesting thing about this.
这并非最有趣的事情
It was the fact that, right there on the fly’s midgut,
事实上这只苍蝇中肠的两个卵中
were two eggs containing an ancient
含有一种古老的
form of bat-malaria.
蝙蝠疟疾
And in the fly’s salivary glands, there was also a
苍蝇的唾液腺中也有一个类似于
spore-like stage of the parasite.
孢子阶段的寄生虫
Now, to be clear, when I say “bat-malaria,”
现在明确一点
I’m only talking about a malaria strain
我说“蝙蝠疟疾”时只是在说
that infects bats, not one that affects people.
一种会感染蝙蝠而不影响人类的疟疾毒株
But studying it is still important for keeping animals safe.
但研究它对于保护动物的安全仍很重要
Researchers identified the pathogen as
研究人员确定这种病原体
a bat-malaria ancestor
是蝙蝠疟疾的祖先
because those spore-like stages resembled
因为这些孢子状阶段类似于
a modern parasite, with its stubby shape and rounded edges.
形状短粗 边缘呈圆形的现代寄生虫
Ultimately, this find was kind of surprising to scientists, because one:
最后 这个发现让科学家们有点惊讶
ancient bat-malaria, trapped in amber!
因为古代的蝙蝠疟疾竟被困在琥珀里!
That’s a super unlikely, amazing discovery!
这是一个难以置信的惊人发现!
But also, before this, researchers thought that only
但在此之前 研究人员认为
flies from the Nycteribiidae genus
只有蛛蝇科的苍蝇才会
spread bat-malaria.
传播蝙蝠疟疾
And this fly in amber was from the other,
这只琥珀里的苍蝇来自
closely-related bat fly family,
另一个密切相关的蝠蝇家族
So this tiny specimen in amber millions of years old
因此这个在琥珀中数百万年的微小标本
was the first evidence
是表明
in both living or extinct bat flies that Streblidae
现存或灭绝的蝠蝇科蝠蝇
can also transmit malaria in bats.
也能在蝙蝠中传播疟疾的首个证据
Of course, just because no one’s found a living example
当然 仅仅因为没有人发现
doesn’t mean that family
一个活生生的例子
couldn’t transmit bat-malaria today
不能代表蝠蝇家族如今不会传播蝙蝠疟疾
which is important stuff to know
如果我们想让动物们保持健康
if we’re trying to keep animals healthy.
这是需要知道的重点
Amber really captures a moment in time, and that’s especially true
琥珀确实捕捉到了一个瞬间
when it comes to our
在说我们的下一件琥珀艺术品时
next amber artifact.
尤其如此
This piece came from that same Caribbean mountain range
这件作品来自同时拥有跳蚤和
with the flea and bat fly,
蝙蝠的加勒比山脉
a brand-new species of salamander.
里面是一种全新的蝾螈
Or at least, a brand new species to us.
或者至少对我们来说是个全新的物种
Because in reality, it’s not new,
因为在现实中它并非新物种
it’s been extinct for millions of years.
它已灭绝了几百万年
Scientists classified the new find as part of
科学家们把这一新发现
the plethodon salamander family,
归入了无肺螈家族
and it is the only known salamander to ever exist in the Caribbean.
它是加勒比海现存唯一已知的蝾螈
This animal shared a lot of features with modern plethodons,
和现代无肺螈有很多共同的特征
except for one: It didn’t
除了一点:
have distinct toes like today’s salamanders do.
它没有现今的蝾螈那样明显的脚趾
Instead, it just kind of had little bumps on top of webbing.
相反 它只是在边带顶部有一些小突起
That told scientists it probably didn’t climb
这告诉科学家们
as well as its modern counterparts,
它可能没有现代同类爬行得好
and it may have lived in small trees or flowering plants.
它可能生活在小树或开花植物中
Still, like I said, there are no salamanders in the Caribbean today,
不过正如我所说 如今加勒比海没有蝾螈
and that made researchers wonder how this species got there
这让研究人员很好奇这个物种
in the first place and also where they all went.
最初如何到达那里 它们又都去了哪里
Right now, they think this animal’s ancestors may have waded over
现在他们认为约四千万到六千万年前
to the islands when they were still connected to
这些岛屿仍和南美洲相连时
South America some forty to 60 million years ago.
这种动物的祖先可能涉水到这里
Then, they stayed there and later evolved into this plethodon
然后它们留在了那里 后来随着岛屿分离
as the islands broke off.
它们进化成了无肺螈
Alternatively, they could have crossed a land bridge when
或者它们可以在海平面低的时候
sea levels were low, or even floated over on a log
穿过一座陆桥 或者甚至像某些
at some point like some species of Caribbean frogs did.
加勒比青蛙一样漂浮在原木上
However they got there, though, they certainly didn’t stay.
然而不管它们如何到达 它们肯定没留下
The Caribbean salamanders probably all died out
因为气候变得更冷更干燥
because the climate got cooler and drier
加勒比蝾螈可能
some 38 to 23 million years ago.
于约3800到2300万年前都灭绝了
And that makes this salamander — and this specimen in particular—
这使得这条蝾螈非常特别
pretty darn special.
尤其是这个标本
Finally, the thing that inspired this entire episode, in 2019,
最后 激发了这整集视频的灵感是
scientists found the hindfoot of a bird
2019年 科学家发现了一只
encased in 99 million year old
包裹在缅甸一个山谷中 距今9900万年的
amber from a valley in Myanmar.
琥珀中的鸟的后足
The foot was unusual because its third digit
这只脚很不寻常 因为它的
was much longer than any of its other toes.
第三个脚趾比其他脚趾长得多
And I’m not talking, like, a smidge longer.
而且我说的不是 比如说 长一点儿
This toe was about 40% longer than the other ones,
这个脚趾比其他脚趾长约40%
and about 1/5 longer than its lower leg bone.
比小腿骨长约1/5
When researchers tried to classify this thing,
研究人员试图把它分类时
they were a little stumped.
他们有点困惑
Because no other bird — living or extinct —
因为没有其他活着或灭绝的
had feet like this.
鸟类有这样的脚
So they put this animal in a new group
所以他们把这种动物
all on its own and called it
单独放在一个新的组里
Elektorornis chenguangi,
并称它为陈光琥珀鸟
meaning “amber bird.”
意思是“琥珀鸟”
Names aside, this whole long toe thing was kind of weird,
撇开名字 这整个长脚趾的事有点奇怪
and scientists are still unsure
科学家们仍不确定
exactly why Elektorornis had it.
琥珀鸟拥有它的确切原因
They suggest in their paper that maybe
他们在论文中提出
it was a tree-dwelling bird, so the long toes
也许它是一种活在树上的鸟 所以长脚趾
helped it grip branches, and the two really long
帮助它抓住树枝 这两个非常长的脚趾
toes could help it fish food out of holes in tree trunks.
可以帮助它从树洞里捞出食物
Part of that is inspired by the fact that the modern aye-aye lemur
部分灵感来自于现代马达加斯加指狐猴
also has a similarly long toe.
也有类似的长脚趾
So this could be a sign of convergent evolution, where similar traits
因此这可能是趋同进化的标志 由于
develop because of similar environmental challenges.
类似的环境挑战 相似特征会发展
One way or another, this specimen showed scientists that
不管怎样 这个标本向科学家展示了
birds were evolving all sorts of weird
鸟类迁徙到其环境的不同区域时
solutions as they branched out into different areas of their environment.
进化出了各种奇怪的解决方案
And, like the other examples on this list,
如同这六种样本中的其他例子
those details might have been lost
如果不是琥珀
if it weren’t for amber.
这些详细信息可能已经丢失了
So, the next time you watch Jurassic Park, go ahead and marvel
所以下次你看《侏罗纪公园》时
at the things tree resin can do.
请继续惊叹于树脂能做的事吧
It definitely won’t be bringing back the dinosaurs any time soon —
它肯定不会很快让恐龙复活
because good DNA samples just don’t last that long.
因为合适的基因样本无法持续存活那么久
But it is an excellent time capsule.
但它是一个极好的时间胶囊
Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow!
感谢收看本期科学秀!
If you enjoy the show and
如果你喜欢这个节目
want to help us create more free content like this,
想帮我们创造更多像这样的免费内容
there are a few ways to support our work —
有几种方法可以支持我们的工作
including becoming a channel member!
包括成为我们频道的成员!
Channel members help keep SciShow going,
频道成员帮助科学秀继续发展
and as our way of saying thanksfor that,
作为我们表达感谢的方式
they also get some perks!
他们也会得到一些福利!
Like cool badges and exclusive
比如聊天中使用的酷炫徽章
emojis to use in the chat,
和专属表情符号
and members-only posts in the community tab.
以及社区标签中的会员专属帖子
If you’re already a member — or support
如果您已经是频道成员
SciShow in other ways — thank you!
或以其他方式支持科学秀 谢谢你!
We’re seriously so glad to have you.
我们真的很高兴有你
And if you want to learn more about channel memberships,
若想了解更多频道会员的信息
just click on the “join” button below this video.
可点击视频下方的“加入” 按钮

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视频概述

这个视频展示了许多琥珀中存在的神奇事物,例如原始羽毛,微生物等。这能让我们更好地了解原始时期的生物,并为我们的现代研究提供了条件。

听录译者

收集自网络

翻译译者

成奚

审核员

审核员XY

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ut6vosxD_lM

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