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科学美国人60秒: 鸟和蛋的问题

所属教程:科学美国人60秒科学系列 更新:01-16
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Giant Bird Driven Extinct by Egg-Eating Humans

鸟和蛋的问题

Extinction. When species go bye-bye forever, we usually blame things like climate change, volcanic eruption or asteroid impact. But for the giant flightless birds that once roamed the Australian outback, it was an omelet station what did ‘em in. A new study finds evidence that about 47,000 years ago, humans helped to wipe out this avian leviathan by collecting and cooking its eggs. The study is in the journal Nature Communications.

灭绝。当一些物种永远和我们说再见时,我们通常会将责任归咎于气候变化、火山喷发或者行星碰撞。但是一种曾经生活在澳大利亚的鸟类,这种不会飞行的鸟灭绝的原因是它们成为了煎蛋的材料。一项新的研究发现,在大约47,000年前,人类采集并烹饪这种鸟类的蛋而加速了它们的灭绝。该研究结果发表在《自然通讯》杂志上。

Before humans swept over the land down under, animals of enormous proportions were not uncommon. A two-ton wombat, a thousand-pound kangaroo, and a 500-pound bird now known as Genyornis newtoni were spread across the continent. But most of these so-called megafauna disappeared once humans hit the scene.

在人类席卷新奥大陆之前,这种大型动物非常的常见。两吨重的袋熊、千磅重的袋鼠以及500磅重的鸟,人们现在称之为牛顿巨鸟,在当时的新奥大陆上随处可见。但是人类出现在该地区之后,这些所谓的巨型动物就消失了。

Coincidence? Well, it could be. Which is why researchers set out to look for proof that human predation played a role in the demise of Genyornis. (Which only coincidentally sounds like ginormous.)

这是巧合?可能是吧。这就是为什么研究人员们开始着手搜集证据,希望查找人类捕猎对于牛顿巨鸟的灭亡的影响。

They collected eggshells from hundreds of sites around the country. And they found that the shell fragments exhibited scorch marks that suggested that the eggs had been purposefully cooked over an open flame. Marks that were not consistent with the eggs getting, say, burned up in a wildfire.

研究人员从澳洲数百个地方收集了鸟蛋的化石。他们发现,这些蛋壳碎片烧焦的痕迹表明这些蛋可能经过明火的烹调。同时这些痕迹与野火灼烧的痕迹不同。

Three different dating methods put the eggs’ age in the correct era, and thus place the smoking gun—or in this case, firepit—directly in the hands of hungry humans. Which suggests that our ancestral appetite for over-easy compromised the fitness of this species. Ultimately leading to its egg-stinction.

研究人员采用三种方法追溯这些蛋正确的时代背景,并且找到确凿的证据——或者说,火坑就是人类采取的方法。这表明我们的祖先放弃了物种的生存,而选择了双面煎蛋。最终导致了物种蛋的灭绝。

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