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为什么现在是古生物学的黄金时代

Why Now is the Golden Age of Paleontology | Nat Geo Explores

[tribal drum music]
[部落鼓音乐]
Dinosaurs are awesome.
恐龙酷毙了
[dinosaur roaring]
[恐龙咆哮声]
We all know it.
我们都知道它
When we figured out these guys were a thing,
当我们发现这些家伙很重要时
we wanted more, more fossils, more art, more, well,
我们就想要更多 更多化石 艺术 更多 好吧
whatever this is.
不管那是什么
So we went out and found them.
所以我们动身去寻找它们
Fast forward to today,
快进到今天来看
we’re still discovering like never before.
我们依旧开展着前所未有的探索
[soft marimba music]
[轻马林巴琴音乐]
Paleontology as a science started in the 1800s.
古生物学是始于19世纪的一门科学
[soft marimba music]
[轻马林巴琴音乐]
Back then, we understood for the first time
直到那时 我们才开始认识到
they were a unique and different group of animals.
恐龙是一种独特且非同寻常的动物
Fossil discoveries were happening long before this distinction, though.
然而 化石的发现远早于这种区别出现前
Dinosaur bones were mistaken for mythological creatures
在科学能向我们解释它们具体是什么的几千年前
thousands of years before science could tell us what they really were.
恐龙骨头曾被误认为来源于神话中的生物
And for generations,
世世代代
people connected these fossils
人们根据这些化石关联到
to living creatures they already knew.
他们已知的现存生物体
Until Richard Owen, frenemy of Charles Darwin,
直到理查德·欧文 达尔文的友敌
concluded these fossils were different
断定这些化石不同于
from any living creature on earth.
地球上任何存活的生物
He coined the term dinosaur,
他创造了恐龙这个术语
the terrible lizard.
意思是可怕的蜥蜴
New type of animal, big step forward.
新型动物 向前迈出一大步
[dinosaur roaring]
[恐龙咆哮]
For the first 100 years,
在最开始的100年里
we knew very, very little about dinosaurs.
我们对于恐龙知之甚少
We only knew 50 or 100 species or so.
我们只知道50到100个物种
Discovery started slow,
探索缓慢地进行着
but the public’s curiosity was high.
但公众却有着强烈的好奇心
So a view into this prehistoric world
在观察这个史前世界时
came from a different perspective
他们会有一个特别的视角
Art.
艺术
[upbeat jazz music]
[欢快的爵士乐]
Creativity brought dinosaurs to the cultural forefront.
创造力把恐龙带到了文化前沿
While these drawings, paintings, and sculptures
而这些素描 绘画和雕塑
were initially based on scientific discoveries,
最初都建立在科学发现的基础上
[toilet flushes]
[马桶冲水]
let’s just say that didn’t last.
我们暂且说这并没有持续多久
Our imaginations might’ve gotten a headstart,
我们的想象力可能已经领先一步了
but technology, it’s catching up.
但是科技 正在奋力直追
Paleontology has been undergoing this massive revolution.
古生物学一直在经历着巨大的变革
One of those technologies?
其中一项技术?
CT scanning, giving paleontologists a new look at dinosaurs.
CT扫描 让古生物学家重新审视恐龙
You can look at the brain size,
你能看到大脑尺寸
you can look at the different parts of the brain,
你也能看到大脑内各个区域
because basically the bones that demarcate the brain cavity
因为基本上区分脑腔的颅骨
are very good proxy for what the brain actually looked like.
很好地代表了大脑的实际模样
So there’s a ton of new morphological information
因此 这里有大量的新的形态信息
that we can get through these high resolution imaging techniques that are fairly new.
我们可以通过高分辨率新成像技术获取
This in depth view has been a game changer in the field,
这种深度视角已经改变了这个领域的游戏规则
but one classical aspect of paleontology
但古生物学的一个经典特征
has also experienced a renaissance.
也经历了复兴
[shovels scraping]
[铲子的刮磨声]
Finding fossils.
即 寻找化石
In the U.S. or Europe,
美国或欧洲
that’s where paleontology first grew as a science,
是古生物学首次作为科学而发展的起源地
but other continents, they have not been explored as much.
其他大洲 相对而言被探索的不够多
There are so many expeditions being conducted right now,
目前这里有很多探险都正在进行着
but many, many new dinosaur species
有很多 很多的新种恐龙
are coming from these places.
是来自这些地方的
Example, Diego’s team in Patagonia
例如 迭戈团队在巴塔哥尼亚
discovering the Patagotitan mayorum,
发现了巴塔哥泰坦龙
one of the largest dinosaurs ever found.
是迄今为止发现的最大的恐龙之一
Fossil discoveries in China are also answering
在中国发现的化石也回答了
an age old question,
一个久远的疑问
dinosaurs’ relationship to birds.
恐龙和鸟类的关系
Birds are extremely rare in the fossil record,
鸟类在化石记录中极其罕见
and this is for a number of reasons.
其中原因有很多方面
One is that birds are all pretty small.
原因之一是因为鸟类都非常小巧
Aerodynamics limits body size, so you can’t get that big.
鸟的体型由于空气动力学的限制不会很大
The other thing is that birds have hollow bones.
另外一个原因是鸟骨是中空的
They get crushed easily, they get destroyed, and they just don’t survive.
很容易被压碎 被摧毁 无法留存
So all these fossil birds all come
因此 所有这些鸟类化石
from ancient lake deposits,
都来源于古代湖泊沉积物
[bell rings]
[铃声]
the perfect environment to preserve these very delicate fossils.
也是保存这些非常易碎的化石的绝佳环境
Birds evolving from dinosaurs
鸟类由恐龙进化而来
is not a new idea,
这并不是什么新观点
but it’s the access to these ancient lake deposits
但正是通过了解这些古代湖泊沉积物
[bell rings]
[铃声]
that’s finally providing the necessary evidence.
我们最终得到了必要的证据
The notion that birds are living dinosaurs
鸟类是活恐龙的说法
actually dates back to like the second half of the 19th century.
实际上可以追溯到19世纪下半叶
A guy named Thomas Huxley, based on his observations,
一个叫托马斯·赫胥黎的人 基于观察
he came up with a hypothesis
他提出了一个假设
that birds descended from small bipedal dinosaurs.
鸟类是由小型两足恐龙进化而来的
But other scientists opposed this idea
但其他科学家反对这个观点
because they said, well, you know,
因为他们说 好吧 你想
all birds have a wishbone, right?
所有鸟类都有叉骨 对吧?
This is not known in any dinosaurs.
但没有在任何恐龙身上发现这点
So birds can’t be living dinosaurs.
所以鸟类不可能是活恐龙
Next up, John Ostrom,
下一位 约翰·奥斯特罗姆
who analyzed theropod dinosaurs,
他分析了兽脚亚目恐龙
and also hypothesized that birds were living dinosaurs.
还提出了一个假设 即鸟类是活恐龙
But again, people kind of rejected this hypothesis.
但再一次 人们更倾向于拒绝这个假设
At the time, their new reason was
那时 他们的新理由是
velociraptors that were supposed to be closely related
被认为与鸟类关系密切的迅猛龙
to birds were much younger
在化石记录中
in the fossil record than Archaeopteryx, the oldest bird.
比最古老的鸟类始祖鸟出现时间晚很多
So they were like,
所以他们说
how could Archaeopteryx have descended from taxa
始祖鸟怎么会是由
that don’t appear in the fossil record
七千万年后才出现在
until like 70 million years later, right?
化石记录中的物种进化而来呢 对吗?
[engine racing]
[引擎声]
Inconclusive evidence persisted,
无定论的证据持续存在
until, well, that’s what brings us back
直到 好吧 这些证据把我们带回到
to these ancient lake deposits.
这些古老的湖泊沉积物上
So in 1996, you find
因此 在1996年
the first feathered dinosaur in China.
在中国发现了第一只有羽毛的恐龙
So then an enormous amount of field work started to happen,
自此后 进行了大量的现场作业
and this produced these thousands of specimens.
出土了成千上万的标本
[upbeat music]
[欢快的音乐]
Paleontologists then discovered an area
古生物学家发现了一个地区
where fossils predate Archaeopteryx.
那里出土了比始祖鸟更古老的鸟类的化石
And within this area,
而在这个地区
they found small feathered dinosaurs with bird-like traits,
他们发现了有鸟类特征的小型羽毛恐龙
including wings here and here,
包括这里和那里的翅膀
making his theory much stronger, also.
也使他的理论更加有力
There was a little troodontid dinosaur named Mei long
还发现了一种叫做寐龙的小型伤齿龙
that was discovered, and it’s really tiny.
它非常的小
It’s like this big,
就这么大
and it’s preserved with its head underneath its wing,
在化石中 它的头放在翅膀下面
sleeping the same way modern ducks do.
睡觉的方式和现代鸭子一样
So that’s behavioral evidence
因此这就是行为证据
that birds are in fact living dinosaurs.
证明了鸟类实际上就是活恐龙
Today, substantial evidence points
如今 大量证据表明
to birds evolving from dinosaurs, specifically theropods,
鸟类由恐龙进化而来 特别是兽脚亚目
and showcases the progression of paleontology.
这也是古生物学得以向前发展的标志
But the discoveries don’t stop here.
但探索并没有就此止步
There are still new things out there
仍有很多新事物
that once they are discovered
一旦被发现
are gonna shake up everything we think we know.
就会颠覆我们自以为可信的一切
New data will cause us to adjust our existing hypotheses,
新的数据将促使我们调整现有的假设
so you just kind of have to go with the flow of discoveries.
因此你只能跟着探索的脚步前进

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视频概述

介绍恐龙的进化史以及一些科学理论推断

听录译者

收集自网络

翻译译者

奇奇怪怪

审核员

审核员LJ

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ng9zG6a0DVs

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