科学美国人(翻译):生物灭绝让进化不那么困难 2019.08.08

cathy0301 2019-08-21 262 阅读
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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.

新西兰曾经有过一种很适合苏斯博士研究的鸟类——以巨型恐鸟为例,这种不会飞的鸟的身高是成年人类的两倍,体重超过相扑选手。然后是哈斯特之鹰,已知存在的最大的鹰。它追捕摩亚。

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,就像传说中经常发生的那样,后来人类出现了:首先是700年前的毛利人,然后是几百年前的欧洲殖民者。这两种人都使许多新西兰特有的鸟类灭绝。许多幸存的物种现在受到威胁或濒临灭绝。

“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.”

“所以有一些物种,比如猕猴桃、鸮鹦鹉、kea、kaka、takahe,它们都有很好听的毛利人名字,但都有灭绝的危险。”

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.

柏林自然历史博物馆的进化生物学家路易斯·瓦伦蒂说。瓦伦蒂和他的同事利用基因数据建立了一棵新西兰现存和已灭绝本土鸟类的树。然后他们用一个模型来估计新物种出现的时间。这使得他们能够在进化的时间尺度上评估人类捕杀鸟类的习惯。

“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]

在几个世纪里,人类抹去了5000万年的进化史。所以我们认为我们所受到的影响很小,但却影响了数百万年。这项分析发表在《当代生物学》杂志上。

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.

展望未来,科学家们表示,如果不采取任何措施拯救目前或即将受到威胁的物种,可能还需要1000万年的时间来恢复这些物种。但也不全是厄运和悲观。

“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.”

“目前在新西兰进行的保护工作是非常开创性的,而且非常成功。所以我认为我们仍然处在一个阶段,我们仍然可以防止数百万年的进化进一步消失。正如生态学家奥尔多利奥波德所言:“明智地修补每一个齿轮和轮子,是首要的预防措施。”


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.

新西兰曾经有过一种很适合苏斯博士研究的鸟类——以巨型恐鸟为例,这种不会飞的鸟的身高是成年人类的两倍,体重超过相扑选手。然后是哈斯特之鹰,已知存在的最大的鹰。它追捕摩亚。

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,就像传说中经常发生的那样,后来人类出现了:首先是700年前的毛利人,然后是几百年前的欧洲殖民者。这两种人都使许多新西兰特有的鸟类灭绝。许多幸存的物种现在受到威胁或濒临灭绝。

“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.”

“所以有一些物种,比如猕猴桃、鸮鹦鹉、kea、kaka、takahe,它们都有很好听的毛利人名字,但都有灭绝的危险。”

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.

柏林自然历史博物馆的进化生物学家路易斯·瓦伦蒂说。瓦伦蒂和他的同事利用基因数据建立了一棵新西兰现存和已灭绝本土鸟类的树。然后他们用一个模型来估计新物种出现的时间。这使得他们能够在进化的时间尺度上评估人类捕杀鸟类的习惯。

“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]

在几个世纪里,人类抹去了5000万年的进化史。所以我们认为我们所受到的影响很小,但却影响了数百万年。这项分析发表在《当代生物学》杂志上。

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.

展望未来,科学家们表示,如果不采取任何措施拯救目前或即将受到威胁的物种,可能还需要1000万年的时间来恢复这些物种。但也不全是厄运和悲观。

“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.”

“目前在新西兰进行的保护工作是非常开创性的,而且非常成功。所以我认为我们仍然处在一个阶段,我们仍然可以防止数百万年的进化进一步消失。正如生态学家奥尔多利奥波德所言:“明智地修补每一个齿轮和轮子,是首要的预防措施。”


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