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托福TPO-22 Lecture 4

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Narrator:Listen to part of a lecture in a zoology class.

独白:听下面一段动物学课堂的讲解。
Professor:A mass extinction as when numerous species become extinct over a very short time period, short,
教授:大量消亡是指大规模的物种在短期内灭绝的现象,这里的短期,
geologically speaking that is, like when the dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago.
从地质学角度来讲就是像六千五百万年前恐龙灭绝一样。
And the fossil record, it indicates that in all the time that animals have inhabited Earth, there have been five great mass extinctions,
而且化石记录显示,地球上生存过的物种已经经历过五次的大量消亡,
dinosaurs being the most recent.
恐龙灭绝是最近的一次。
In each of the others up to half of all land animals and up to 95 percent of marine species disappeared.
每次物种灭绝,都有半数甚至 95%的海洋生物彻底消失。
Well, today we are witnessing a sixth mass extinction,
那么今天我们正在目睹着第六次大量消亡,
but unlike the others, the current loss of bio-diversity can be traced to human to human activity.
和前几次不一样,这次生物多样性的消失是由人类活动导致的。
Since the Stone Age, humans have been eliminating species and altering ecosystems with astounding speed.
从石器时期开始,人类就在以惊人的速度消除物种,并改变着生态系统。
Countless species have disappeared due to over-hunting,
不计其数的物种的消失都由于人类的过度捕猎、
habitat destruction and habitat fragmentation,pollution and other unnatural human causes.
栖息处摧毁及破坏、污染及其他人类引起的非自然原因引起的。
So, as a way of repairing some of that damage, a group of conservation biologists has proposed an ambitious, or some might say,
因此,作为对这些破坏的修复,一群保护主义生物学家提出了一个雄心勃勃的计划,有人可能会觉得这个计划很激进。
a radical plan, involving large vertebrates, or , megafauna.
这个计划涉及到了大型脊椎动物或巨型动物。
Megafauna include elephants, wild horses, big cats, camels, large animals.
巨型动物包括大象、野马、大型猫科动物、骆驼等。
Eh, actually, the proposal focuses on a particular subset of megafauna, the kind that lived during the Pleistocene epoch.
呃,其实,这项提议主要是针对一个居住于更新世的巨型动物支群。
Ok. The Pleistocene epoch, most commonly known as the Ice Age, stretched from 1.8 million to 11,500 years ago.
好的。更新世,也就是大家熟知的冰河时代,从一百八十万年前延伸至一万一千五百年前。
In the Americas, many megafauna began disappearing by the end of the Pleistocene.
在美洲,很多巨型动物在更新世后期开始消失。
So here's the biologists' idea.
那么生物学家们的想法是这样的。
Take a select group of animals, megafauna from places like Africa and Asia, and introduce them into other ecosystems similar to their current homes, beginning in the United States.
从非洲及亚洲选一批动物,然后把它们引进到与它们目前生活环境相似的生态系统中,从美国开始。
They call their plan Pleistocene rewilding.
他们称之为更新世野生动物重返计划。
Now, the advocates of Pleistocene rewilding cite two main goals.
现在,更新世野生动物重返的提倡者们主要是有两大目标。
One is to help prevent the extinction of some endangered megafauna by providing new refuges, new habitats for them.
一个是通过提供新的避难所和栖息地帮助防止濒临灭绝的巨型动物继续消亡,
The other is to restore some of the evolutionary and ecological potential that has been lost in North America.
另一个是重建北美已丧失的一些进化及生态的潜能。
What do I mean by restore evolutionary potential?
重建进化及生态的潜能是什么意思呢?
Well as you know the evolution of any species is largely influenced by its interactions with other species.
你们都知道,物种的进化很大程度上受与其相互活动的物种的影响。
So during the Pleistocene epoch… let's take the now extinct American cheetah, for instance.
所以在更新世时期,我们来拿已经绝种的美洲印度豹来举例。
We believe it played a pivotal role in the evolution of the pronghorn antelope, the antelope's amazing speed,
我们相信它在叉角羚的进化中起重要的作用,
to be exact, because natural selection would favor those antelope that could outrun a cheetah.
精确来讲,羚羊惊人的速度是一种自然选择的结果,因为只有能跑过印度豹的羚羊才能生存下来。
When the American cheetahs disappeared, their influence on the evolution of pronghorn and presumably on other prey animals stopped.
当美洲印度豹绝种以后,它们对叉角羚及其他可能猎食的动物进化的影响就停止了。
So it is conceivable that the pronghorn antelope would have continued to evolve, get faster maybe, if the cheetahs were still around.
所以可以想象,如果印度豹还存在的话,叉角羚本可以继续进化,跑的更快。
That's what's meant by evolutionary potential.
这就是进化潜能。
Importing African cheetahs to the western United States could,
按照这些生物学家的说法,从非洲向美国引进印度豹,
in theory, put the pronghorn back onto its…uh, natural evolutionary trajectory according to these biologists.
在理论上就可以将叉角羚放回在其自然那的进化轨迹上来。
Another example is the interaction of megafauna with local flora, in particular, plants that rely on animals to disperse their seeds.
另一个例子就是巨型动物和本地植物群的相互联系,尤其是那些仅依赖动物传播种子的植物。
Like Pleistocene rewilding could spark the re-emergence of large seeded American plants, such as the maclura tree.
更新世野生动物重返可以促使美国一些种子颗粒大的植物重新出现,比如桑橙树。
Many types of maclura used to grow in North American,
以前在美国北部有很多种类型的桑橙树,
but today, just one variety remains and it is found in only two states.
而现在,只剩下了一种,而且仅在生长在两个州。
In the distant past, large herbivores like mastodons dispersed maclura seeds, each the size of an orange in their droppings.
在不远的过去,大型的食草动物比如说乳齿象就传播桑橙树种子,橙子般大小的种子从它们的口中露出,便能得到传播。
Well, there aren't any mastodons left, but there are elephants, which descended from mastodons.
而现在已经没有乳齿象了,但是有大象,也就是乳齿象的后代。
Introduce elephants into that ecosystem and they might disperse those large maclura seeds, like their ancestors did. Get the idea?
将大象引进到这个生态系统中可能就会帮助传播大颗粒种子了,正如它们的祖先一样。明白了吗?
Restoring some of the former balance to the ecosystem?
重建一些曾经的生态平衡?
But as I alluded to earlier, Pleistocene rewilding is extremely controversial.
但是正如我之前暗指的一样,更新世野生动物重返非常的富有争议性。
A big worry is that these transplanted megafauna might devastate plants and animals that are native to the western United States.
最让人忧心的就是这些转移过来的巨型动物可能会毁灭美国西部一些土生土长的动植物。
In the years since the Pleistocene epoch, native species have adapted to the changing environmental there, plants, smaller animals, they have been evolving without megafauna for millennia.
自从更新世之后,本地的物种就一直在适应那里变化着的环境,植物、小动物在这个千年期内都是在没有巨型动物的环境下进化的。
Also, animal species that went extinct 11,000 years ago, uh, some are quite different genetically from their modern-day counterparts,
同样,这些一万一千年前就绝种的动物,和今天与其相似类的动物们基因有很大差异,
like elephants don't have thick coasts like their mastodon ancestors do when they graze the prairies of the America West during the Ice Age.
比如大象的祖先乳齿象有一层厚厚的皮,它们层在冰河时期的美国西部草原上吃草,而大象则没有。
Granted, the climate today is not as cold as it was in the Pleistocene.
但是,今天的气候也不像更新世那时候那么冷。
But winters on the prairie can still get pretty harsh today.
而草原上的冬天现在依旧是很严寒。
And there are many more considerations.
而且还有众多需要考虑到的因素。
Well, you see how complex this is.
你们应该可以看到这个复杂性。
If you think about it though, the core problem with this sixth mass extinction is human interference.
如果你仔细的想一下,其实第六次大量消亡的核心问题是人类的干预。
Pleistocene rewilding is based on good intentions,
更新世野生动物重返计划意图是好的,
but you know, it probably would just be more of the same thing.
但是你们知道,这很可能会使情况更加恶化。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
restore [ri'stɔ:]

想一想再看

vt. 恢复,修复,使复原

 
proposal [prə'pəuzəl]

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n. 求婚,提议,建议

联想记忆
interaction [.intə'rækʃən]

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n. 相互作用,相互影响,互动交流

联想记忆
disperse [dis'pə:s]

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vt. 分散,传播,散开
vi. 分散

联想记忆
conservation [.kɔnsə:'veiʃən]

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n. 保存,防止流失,守恒,保护自然资源

联想记忆
numerous ['nju:mərəs]

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adj. 为数众多的,许多

联想记忆
potential [pə'tenʃəl]

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adj. 可能的,潜在的
n. 潜力,潜能

 
fragmentation [,fræɡmen'teiʃən]

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n. 破碎;分裂;存储残片

 
pollution [pə'lu:ʃən]

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n. 污染,污染物

 
radical ['rædikəl]

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adj. 激进的,基本的,彻底的
n. 激进分

 

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