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萬物簡史(MP3+中英字幕) 第668期:永不安分的類人猿(19)

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An academic writing in Nature had noted how a paleontologist, asked by a colleague whether he thought an old skull was varnished or not,

一位學者在《自然》雜志撰文說,有一位古生物學家的同事問那位古生物學家一個古人顱骨是否上了漆,他用舌頭舔了舔骸骨的頂部,
had licked its top and announced that it was.
然后說是上了漆的。
"In the process," noted the Nature article, "large amounts of modern human DNA would have been transferred to the skull," rendering it useless for future study.
“在此過程中,” 《自然》雜志的文章寫道,“有大量的現代人DNA會轉到這個顱骨上。”這使得骸骨無法再用來進行研究。
I asked Harding about this. "Oh, it would almost certainly have been contaminated already," she said.
我就這件事咨詢哈丁。“哎呀,幾乎可以肯定它已經被污染了。”她說,
Just handling a bone will contaminate it. Breathing on it will contaminate it.
只要摸一下骨頭,它就會被污染。向它哈一口氣,它也會被污染。
Most of the water in our labs will contaminate it.
我的實驗室里的水也會污染它。
We are all swimming in foreign DNA.
我們周圍都是陌生的DNA。
In order to get a reliably clean specimen you have to excavate it in sterile conditions and do the tests on it at the site.
要想得到一個可靠的清潔的標本,你必須在消過毒的條件下將它們挖掘出來,并且在當場就做實驗。
It is the trickiest thing in the world not to contaminate a specimen.
要想不污染標本,世上沒有比這更困難的事了。
So should such claims be treated dubiously? I asked. Harding nodded solemnly. "Very," she said.
那么,所有的這類結論都應該受到質疑嗎?我問。哈丁嚴肅地點點頭。“當然。”她說。
If you wish to understand at once why we know as little as we do about human origins, I have the place for you.
如果你想立即知道我們為什么對人類起源了解得這樣少,我可以帶你去一個地方。
It is to be found a little beyond the edge of the blue Ngong Hills in Kenya, to the south and west of Nairobi.
這個地方位于肯尼亞昂加山的邊緣,內羅畢西南部。

進行研究.jpg

Drive out of the city on the main highway to Uganda, and there comes a moment of startling glory when the ground falls away

要是你往東駛出內羅畢市,沿通向烏干達的快速干道前行,爬上一個高坡就看到一個無比壯麗的景象,
and you are presented with a hang glider's view of boundless, pale green African plain.
只見面前是望不到邊的淡綠色的非洲平原。
This is the Great Rift Valley, which arcs across three thousand miles of east Africa, marking the tectonic rupture that is setting Africa adrift from Asia.
這就是綿延東非達4800公里的東非大裂谷。非洲就從這條板塊裂縫漂離亞洲。
Here, perhaps forty miles out of Nairobi, along the baking valley floor, is an ancient site called Olorgesailie,
這里距內羅畢約65公里,靠近谷底干枯的地帶是一個被稱為奧洛戛薩里的古老地方,
which once stood beside a large and pleasant lake.
這里一度瀕臨一個巨大的湖泊。

重點單詞   查看全部解釋    
contaminate [kən'tæmineit]

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vt. 弄臟,污染

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announced [ə'naunst]

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宣布的

 
academic [.ækə'demik]

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adj. 學術的,學院的,理論的
n.

 
sterile ['sterail]

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adj. 貧瘠的,無生氣的,無生育能力的,無結果的,無菌

 
excavate ['ekskəveit]

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v. 挖掘,挖開,鑿通

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startling ['stɑ:tliŋ]

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adj. 驚人的 動詞startle的現在分詞

 
glory ['glɔ:ri]

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n. 光榮,榮譽,壯麗,贊頌
vi. 為 ..

 
paleontologist [,pæliɔn'tɔlədʒist]

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n. 古生物學者 =palaeontologist

 
rift [rift]

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n. 裂口,隙縫,切口 v. 裂開,割開,滲入

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boundless ['baundlis]

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adj. 無限的,無窮的,無邊無際的

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