(双语)早于恐龙的化石证实了南半球存在幻龙

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GNS Science held onto the fossil after palaeontologist Dr Hamish Campbell discovered it in 1978. Photo: Supplied / GNS Science / Benjamin Kear  1978年,古生物学家哈米什·坎贝尔(Hamish Campbell)博士发现了这块化石,GNS Science保留了它。照片:提供 / GNS Science / Benjamin Kear

A 246-million-year-old fossil discovered in Canterbury upends long-standing theories about Earth’s natural history, researchers say.
研究人员说,在坎特伯雷发现的一块2.46亿年前的化石颠覆了长期以来关于地球自然历史的理论。

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Scientists from New Zealand working alongside researchers from Sweden, Norway, Australia and Timor-Leste found the fossilised vertebra belonged to the nothosaur, a reptile resembling the Loch Ness monster that lived before dinosaurs.
来自新西兰的科学家与来自瑞典、挪威、澳大利亚和东帝汶的研究人员合作,发现化石椎骨属于幻龙类,这是一种类似于生活在恐龙之前的尼斯水怪的爬行动物。

Oldest_Southern_Sauropterygian

Photo: Supplied / GNS Science / Johan_Egerkrans
照片:提供 / GNS Science / Johan_Egerkrans

GNS Science held onto the fossil after palaeontologist Dr Hamish Campbell discovered it in 1978, but it was not properly studied until this year.
1978年,古生物学家哈米什·坎贝尔(Hamish Campbell)博士发现了这块化石,但直到今年才对其进行了适当的研究。

Campbell said he was “absolutely delighted” to learn the fossil’s full history more than 30 years after finding it in the Balmacaan Stream in Canterbury.
坎贝尔说,在坎特伯雷的巴尔马坎溪流中发现化石30多年后,他“非常高兴”了解化石的全部历史。

“I was blissfully unaware that this fossil had come to the attention of the right people: vertebrate palaeontologists who know their stuff. I’m thrilled,” he said.
“我很幸福地没有意识到这块化石已经引起了正确的人的注意:脊椎动物古生物学家,他们知道他们的东西。我很激动,“他说。

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He said the fossil was the oldest of its kind.
他说,这块化石是同类化石中最古老的。

Oldest Southern Sauropterygian Fossil

Photo: Supplied / GNS Science / Benjamin Kear
照片:提供 / GNS Science / Benjamin Kear

“We [now] know the age of this fossil, and it’s a lot older than the oldest known similar fossil from the Southern Hemisphere,” Dr Campbell said.
“我们现在知道这块化石的年龄,它比南半球已知最古老的类似化石要古老得多,”坎贝尔博士说。

“Previously, fossils had been found in New Zealand that had tantalisingly been tentatively identified as possible nothosaurs, but this fossil really clinches it.”
“以前,在新西兰发现的化石被初步确定为可能的幻龙类,但这块化石确实证实了这一点。

He said scientists were previously unsure if nothosaurs lived in the Southern Hemisphere.
他说,科学家们以前不确定幻龙是否生活在南半球。

“An awful lot of what we as humanity know about this group of organisms is based on fossils from the Northern Hemisphere,” he said.
“我们人类对这群生物的了解很大程度上是基于北半球的化石,”他说。

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“Here we are, little old New Zealand way down at the bottom of the other end of the world, and we have this fantastic record of early Triassic time.”
“我们在这里,在世界另一端的底部,我们拥有三叠纪早期的奇妙记录。

Oldest Southern Sauropterygian

Photo: Supplied / GNS Science / Stavros_Kundromichalis
照片:提供 / GNS Science / Stavros_Kundromichalis

Nothosaurs were predecessors to plesiosaurs, massive swimming lizards with long necks and flippers.
Nothosaurs 是蛇颈龙的前身,蛇颈龙是长脖子和鳍状肢的大型游泳蜥蜴。

“It’s a sauropterygian, so to translate that it means ‘lizard flipper,’ a marine reptile,” Dr Campbell said.
“它是一种蜥翅目动物,所以翻译过来就是’蜥蜴鳍状肢’,一种海洋爬行动物,”坎贝尔博士说。

“They had long necks and relatively small elongated flattened heads with lots of sharp teeth. The teeth projected outwards, perfect for catching fish and squid. They had a long tail and were probably extremely fast moving.”
“它们的脖子很长,头部相对较小,细长扁平,有很多锋利的牙齿。牙齿向外伸出,非常适合捕捉鱼和鱿鱼。它们有一条长长的尾巴,移动速度可能非常快。

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The fossil predated the oldest known dinosaurs and mammals by millions of years, he said.
他说,这块化石比已知最古老的恐龙和哺乳动物早了数百万年。

“They flourished after the big extinction at the end of Permian time. Something really dramatic happened to this planet 251.9 million years ago which marked the onset of Triassic time,” he said.
“它们在二叠纪末期的大灭绝之后蓬勃发展。2.519亿年前,这个星球发生了一些非常戏剧性的事情,这标志着三叠纪时间的开始,“他说。

“New Zealand looked very, very different in Triassic time, we were just part of the edge of Southern Gondwana, and we were very close to the pole. This fossil was found in sediments that would have accumulated in relatively deep water off the coast of Gondwana.”
“新西兰在三叠纪时期看起来非常非常不同,我们只是南冈瓦纳边缘的一部分,我们非常接近极点。这种化石是在沉积物中发现的,这些沉积物会积聚在冈瓦纳海岸附近相对较深的水中。

The study found that nothosaurs lived in a shallow coastal environment within the southern polar circle, now inland Canterbury.
研究发现,幻龙生活在南极圈内的浅海环境中,现在是坎特伯雷内陆。

“There’s potential to find more fossils in New Zealand because we have lots of rocks of this age,” Dr Campbell said.
“有可能在新西兰找到更多的化石,因为我们有很多这个时代的岩石,”坎贝尔博士说。

“It will mean that New Zealand will become, yet again, of great interest to the international science fraternity.”
“这将意味着新西兰将再次成为国际科学界非常感兴趣的对象。

来源:RNZ

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