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VOA慢速英语:南极洲发现全球第二大化石蛋 形似“瘪掉的足球”

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Antarctica’s ‘Football’ Fossil Is World’s Second-Biggest Egg

南极洲发现全球第二大化石蛋 形似“瘪掉的足球”

Scientists recently reported an unusual finding: the discovery of the second-largest egg known to exist. The egg, a 68 million-year-old fossil, was found on Seymour Island, off the coast of Antarctica.

科学家们最近报告了一个特别的发现:他们发现了目前已知的第二大蛋。它在南极洲海岸的西摩岛上被发现,是一个拥有6800万年历史的化石。

The fossil is said to be about the size of a football – without the air inside. It measures around 29 centimeters by 20 centimeters. It is only a little smaller than the eggs of the large elephant birds of Madagascar, which died off some time ago, scientists said.

据说这块化石有足球那么大,里面没有空气,尺寸大约为29厘米乘20厘米。科学家称,它只比马达加斯加大型象鸟的卵稍小一点,后者不久前灭绝了。

While birds and many dinosaurs produced hard-shelled eggs, the Antarctic egg has a soft shell.

鸟类以及许多恐龙产的都是硬壳蛋,而这个南极发现的蛋蛋壳却是柔软的。

“This new egg is the very first fossil egg from Antarctica, and the largest soft-shelled egg ever discovered,” said Lucas Legendre. He is a paleontologist at the University of Texas at Austin. He was the lead writer of the report published in the journal Nature.

卢卡斯·勒让德说:“这个新发现的蛋是南极洲的第一个化石蛋,也是迄今为止发现的最大的软壳蛋。”他是德克萨斯大学奥斯汀分校的古生物学家,也是这篇发表在《自然》杂志上的报告的主要作者。

Legendre compared the egg to a football that had lost its air. “One side is flattened, suggesting that is where it came in contact with the sea floor. Its eggshell is very thin, and poorly mineralized, like in the eggs of lizards and snakes,” he said.

勒让德把这个蛋比作瘪掉的足球。他说:“蛋的一侧很平滑,说明这一侧是与海底接触的。它的蛋壳非常薄,而且矿化程度很差,就像蜥蜴和蛇的蛋一样。”。

At the time the egg was made, the only creatures in Antarctica that were large enough to lay it were seagoing reptiles. The discovery of the fossil makes researchers question the idea that these animals only gave birth to live young.

在蛋的形成时期,南极洲唯一大到可以产卵的生物是海生爬行动物。此前研究人员认为这类动物只会产仔,而这一化石的发现使他们开始质疑此前的想法。

The bones of the mother were not found, so scientists were not able to say which animal laid it. Among the likely creatures to have laid it are species of mosasaurs and plesiosaurs. The former could reach lengths of 15 meters, while the latter could reach lengths of 10 meters, Legendre said.

由于没有找到这颗蛋的母化石,所以科学家们无法确定它是哪种动物产的。科学家们认为可能产下这种蛋的生物包含摩萨龙和蛇颈龙。勒让德说,摩萨龙的长度可以达到15米,蛇颈龙的长度则可以达到10米。

Mosasaurs and plesiosaurs died off at the same time as the dinosaurs. They disappeared after an asteroid, a small, rocky object, reportedly struck Earth some 66 million years ago.

摩萨龙和蛇颈龙与恐龙同时灭亡。据报道,大约6600万年前一颗小行星——体积小而多岩石的物体——撞击地球后恐龙随之灭绝。

Scientists from the University of Chile and Chile’s Museum of Natural History found the unusual fossil in 2011. Unsure about what it was, they called it “The Thing,” after the name of a science-fiction film.

智利大学和智利自然历史博物馆的科学家于2011年发现了这个特别的化石。由于不能不确定它到底是什么,他们以科幻电影的名字为其命名,称其为“怪形”。

“When we arrived at camp, we asked the geologists that accompanied us if they had ever seen anything like it,” said University of Chile paleontology researcher Rodrigo Otero. “Their expression of bewilderment said it all.”

智利大学古生物学研究人员罗德里戈·奥特罗说:“当我们到达营地时,我们问随行的地质学家有没有见过类似的东西。他们困惑的表情说明了一切。”

I’m John Russell.

约翰·拉塞尔报道。

 

Antarctica’s ‘Football’ Fossil Is World’s Second-Biggest Egg

Scientists recently reported an unusual finding: the discovery of the second-largest egg known to exist. The egg, a 68 million-year-old fossil, was found on Seymour Island, off the coast of Antarctica.

The fossil is said to be about the size of a football – without the air inside. It measures around 29 centimeters by 20 centimeters. It is only a little smaller than the eggs of the large elephant birds of Madagascar, which died off some time ago, scientists said.

While birds and many dinosaurs produced hard-shelled eggs, the Antarctic egg has a soft shell.

“This new egg is the very first fossil egg from Antarctica, and the largest soft-shelled egg ever discovered,” said Lucas Legendre. He is a paleontologist at the University of Texas at Austin. He was the lead writer of the report published in the journal Nature.

Legendre compared the egg to a football that had lost its air. “One side is flattened, suggesting that is where it came in contact with the sea floor. Its eggshell is very thin, and poorly mineralized, like in the eggs of lizards and snakes,” he said.

At the time the egg was made, the only creatures in Antarctica that were large enough to lay it were seagoing reptiles. The discovery of the fossil makes researchers question the idea that these animals only gave birth to live young.

The bones of the mother were not found, so scientists were not able to say which animal laid it. Among the likely creatures to have laid it are species of mosasaurs and plesiosaurs. The former could reach lengths of 15 meters, while the latter could reach lengths of 10 meters, Legendre said.

Mosasaurs and plesiosaurs died off at the same time as the dinosaurs. They disappeared after an asteroid, a small, rocky object, reportedly struck Earth some 66 million years ago.

Scientists from the University of Chile and Chile’s Museum of Natural History found the unusual fossil in 2011. Unsure about what it was, they called it “The Thing,” after the name of a science-fiction film.

“When we arrived at camp, we asked the geologists that accompanied us if they had ever seen anything like it,” said University of Chile paleontology researcher Rodrigo Otero. “Their expression of bewilderment said it all.”

I’m John Russell.


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