New fossil discoveries help explain bird evolution 化石新發現有助於解釋鳥類進化過程

How did birds evolve their beaks? The answer was right under our noses.

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科學家們透過結合有關化石的一系列新發現及最新技術,建造出了最先進的原始鳥類頭骨模型。這一成果為鳥喙的進化史提供了新解釋。

文字稿

It’s well known that birds evolved from dinosaurs – gradually growing feathers and taking to the air. But their tiny delicate skulls have been difficult to study as they’re rarely preserved as fossils.

眾所周知,鳥類是由恐龍進化而來的。它們逐漸地長出羽毛並飛向天空。但由於鳥類的頭骨微小而纖細,因此很少有保存完好的化石,這使相關研究的展開變得困難。

Now researchers have combined extraordinary new fossil discoveries with the latest CT scanning techniques to make the most advanced 3D model of the skull of a primitive bird. They say creatures existed for much of the age of the dinosaurs that looked half-bird, half-dinosaur.

現在,研究人員們把令人驚嘆的化石新發現和最新電子計算機斷層掃描技術結合起來,制作出了最為先進的原始鳥類頭骨3D模型。他們說,這類看起來半鳥半恐龍的生物存在於恐龍時代的大部分時期內。

Ichthyornis, which was the size of a seagull, had a beak and a brain much like modern birds but the sharp teeth and powerful jaws of dinosaurs like Velociraptor. Its bones were first found in the 1870s drawing the attention of Charles Darwin. Modern-day scientists say this amazing bird, which gives a picture of what the first beaks were like, has been under their noses the whole time.

魚鳥的體型如海鷗,它的喙和腦部構造與現代鳥類非常相近,但它卻擁有迅猛龍一般尖利的牙齒和強健的下顎。這類動物的骨頭於 1870 年代首次被人發現,當時引起了查爾斯·達爾文的關注。當代科學家們說,這種使我們了解到鳥喙最初外觀的神奇鳥兒,原來一直都近在眼前。

1. 詞彙表

evolved 進化
delicate 纖細而脆弱的
preserved 被保存
fossils 化石
primitive 原始的,遠古的
under their noses 在眼皮底下,近在眼前

2. 閱讀理解:請在讀完上文後,回答下列問題 。

1. Why have bird skulls been difficult to study as fossils?

2. What have researchers made using new fossil discoveries and the latest CT scanning techniques?

3. What kind of creature was Ichthyornis?

4. When were the bones of Ichthyornis first found?

3. 答案

1. Why have bird skulls been difficult to study as fossils?
Bird skulls are tiny and delicate and are rarely preserved as fossils.

2. What have researchers made using new fossil discoveries and the latest CT scanning techniques?
Researchers have made the most advanced 3D model of the skull of a primitive bird.

3. What kind of creature was Ichthyornis?
It was the size of a seagull and had a beak and brain like modern birds, but the sharp teeth and powerful jaws of a Velociraptor.

4. When were the bones of Ichthyornis first found?
Its bones were first found in the 1870s.

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