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恐龍曾"落户"北極(上)

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Science & technology

科技板塊

Palaeontology

古生物學

Arctic dinosaurs

北極的恐龍

Dinosaurs once flourished near the North Pole

恐龍曾經在北極附近繁盛

Most artistic impressions of dinosaurs picture them in lush forests or on vast temperate savannahs. That is fair enough. Such landscapes were common during the beasts' heydays, the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. These pictures do, though, ignore the fact that dinosaur fossils have, for decades, been dug up in places which were at that time polar. Whether these are the remains of migrants which came for the summer, or of permanent residents, is debated. But a discovery of bone fragments and teeth from dinosaur hatchlings, just published in Current Biology by Patrick Druckenmiller of University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and his colleagues, suggests some dinosaurs did indeed make their full-time homes in the Arctic.

大多數關於恐龍的藝術印象都是在茂密的森林或廣闊的温帶草原上。這很合理,因為這樣的景觀在侏羅紀和白堊紀的野獸鼎盛時期很常見。然而這些照片確實忽略了一個事實,即幾十年來恐龍化石都是在當時的極地地區被挖掘出來的。不過這些遺骸究竟是夏天遷過來的移民的還是永久居民的則眾説紛紜。而阿拉斯加大學費爾班克斯分校的帕特里克·德魯肯米勒和他的同事們在《當代生物學》雜誌上發表的一項發現表明,恐龍確實在北極安過家。

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Modern animals that migrate to polar climes, notably birds, do often breed there. But their eggs hatch quickly and their young develop fast enough to fledge and fly to warmer places before winter arrives. Growth lines in fossilised dinosaur embryos found elsewhere suggest they needed as much as six or seven months of incubation before they were ready to hatch. Palaeontologists therefore reckon any discovery of fossilised eggs or hatchlings near the palaeo-poles would mean the species concerned must have been year-round residents rather than migrants.

遷徙到極地的現代動物,特別是鳥類,通常會在那裏繁殖。它們的卵孵化得很快,幼崽也發育得很快,能夠在冬天到來之前長出羽毛飛到更温暖的地方。在其他地方發現的恐龍胚胎化石中的生長線表明它們需要6到7個月的孵化期才能孵化。因此古生物學家們認為,任何在古極地附近發現的恐龍蛋或幼仔化石都意味着相關物種一定是永久居民而不是遷徙居民。

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重點單詞   查看全部解釋    
incubation ['inkju'beiʃən]

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n. 抱蛋,孵化,熟慮

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species ['spi:ʃiz]

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n. (單復同)物種,種類

 
fledge [fledʒ]

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vi. 長羽毛 vt. 裝上羽毛

 
temperate ['tempərit]

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adj. 温和的,適度的,有節制的

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vast [vɑ:st]

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adj. 巨大的,廣闊的
n. 浩瀚的太

 
lush [lʌʃ]

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adj. 蒼翠繁茂的,多青草的,豐富的 n. 酒,酒鬼

 
artistic [ɑ:'tistik]

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adj. 藝術的

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ignore [ig'nɔ:]

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vt. 不顧,不理,忽視

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hatch [hætʃ]

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n. 孵化,艙口
vt. 孵,孵出

 
tropical ['trɔpikəl]

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adj. 熱帶的,炎熱的,熱帶植物的

 


關鍵字: 經濟學人 北極 恐龍

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