万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第530期:丰富多彩的生命(26)
日期:2019-03-06 15:56

(单词翻译:单击)

We don't look in the right places. In The Diversity of Life, Wilson describes how one botanist spent a few days tramping around ten hectares of jungle in Borneo and discovered a thousand new species of flowering plant — more than are found in the whole of North America. The plants weren't hard to find. It's just that no one had looked there before. Koen Maes of the Kenyan National Museum told me that he went to one cloud forest, as mountaintop forests are known in Kenya, and in a half hour "of not particularly dedicated looking" found four new species of millipedes, three representing new genera, and one new species of tree. "Big tree," he added, and shaped his arms as if about to dance with a very large partner. Cloud forests are found on the tops of plateaus and have sometimes been isolated for millions of years. "They provide the ideal climate for biology and they have hardly been studied," he said.
我们没有找对地方。在《生命的多样性》一书中,威尔逊描述了一位植物学家,花了几天时间在婆罗洲1万平方米的丛林里转了转,就发现了1000种新的开花植物——比整个北美洲发现的还要多。那些植物不难发现,只是以前没有人去那里找过。肯尼亚国家博物馆的科恩·梅斯对我说,他去了一处云林——肯尼亚的山顶森林是这么叫的,花了半个小时“不大仔细找”就发现了4种新的倍足纲节肢动物,其中3种代表新的属,以及一种新的树。“大树呀!”他接着说,伸出胳膊做了个样子,好像要跟个大块头舞伴跳舞似的。云林生长在高原顶部,有时候几百万年无人问津。“它们为生物提供了理想的气候,几乎没有人去研究过。”他说。
山顶森林

Overall, tropical rain forests cover only about 6 percent of Earth's surface, but harbor more than half of its animal life and about two-thirds of its flowering plants, and most of this life remains unknown to us because too few researchers spend time in them. Not incidentally, much of this could be quite valuable. At least 99 percent of flowering plants have never been tested for their medicinal properties. Because they can't flee from predators, plants have had to contrive chemical defenses, and so are particularly enriched in intriguing compounds.
热带雨林总共只覆盖地球表面的大约6%,但是它们是一半以上的动物和大约三分之二的开花植物的生活场所——这部分生命绝大部分是我们所不了解的,因为极少有研究人员在它们身上花时间。这里特别要提一句,其中的许多很可能非常宝贵。至少有99%的开花植物的药用特性从未得到测试。由于无法逃脱食草动物,植物不得不想出复杂的化学防御措施,因此尤其含有丰富的化合物。

分享到