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萬物簡史(MP3+中英字幕) 第650期:永不安分的類人猿(1)

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29 THE RESTLESS APE

第二十九章 永不安分的類人猿
SOMETIME ABOUT A million and a half years ago, some forgotten genius of the hominid world did an unexpected thing. He (or very possibly she) took one stone and carefully used it to shape another. The result was a simple teardrop-shaped hand axe, but it was the world's first piece of advanced technology.
大約150萬年前的某個時候,人科動物世界某一位不知名的天才做了一件意想不到的事。他(或者很可能是她)撿起一塊石頭,用來小心翼翼地改變另一塊石頭的形狀,結果制作成了一把淚珠狀手斧,盡管它非常簡陋,卻是世界上第一件先進的工具。
It was so superior to existing tools that soon others were following the inventor's lead and making hand axes of their own. Eventually whole societies existed that seemed to do little else. "They made them in the thousands," says Ian Tattersall. "There are some places in Africa where you literally can't move without stepping on them. It's strange because they are quite intensive objects to make. It was as if they made them for the sheer pleasure of it"
它優越于現存的工具,其他人很快群起而效之,紛紛制作了他們自己的手斧。最后,整個人科動物世界似乎就不干別的事了?!八麄冎谱髁藥浊О堰@樣的手斧,“伊恩·塔特薩爾說,“在非洲有些地方,實際上你無論走到哪里,都會踩著這樣的斧子。那是很怪的,因為制作那些斧子很花工夫。他們制作斧子,仿佛純粹是因為好玩?!?/p>

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From a shelf in his sunny workroom Tattersall took down an enormous cast, perhaps a foot and a half long and eight inches wide at its widest point, and handed it to me. It was shaped like a spearhead, but one the size of a stepping-stone. As a fiberglass cast it weighed only a few ounces, but the original, which was found in Tanzania, weighed twenty-five pounds. "It was completely useless as a tool," Tattersall said. "It would have taken two people to lift it adequately, and even then it would have been exhausting to try to pound anything with it."

在他明亮的工作室里,塔特薩爾從架子上取下一個巨大的模型遞給了我。那東西大約有半米長,最寬的地方有20厘米。它的形狀像矛頭,但有踏腳石那么大小。這是一個用玻璃纖維制成的模型,只有約150克重,可是原物卻重達11千克,是在坦粟尼亞發現的?!白鳛橐患ぞ?,它完全沒有用,”塔特薩爾說,“得有兩個人才能把它抬起來,即使在當時,要想用它來擊打任何東西,都是很費力的一件事?!?/div>
"What was it used for then?"
“那它有什么用呢?”
Tattersall gave a genial shrug, pleased at the mystery of it. "No idea. It must have had some symbolic importance, but we can only guess what."
塔特薩爾微微聳了聳肩,顯然為它的神秘性感動很得意:“不知道,它也許具有某種象征意義,我們只能猜猜而已?!?/div>
The axes became known as Acheulean tools, after St. Acheul, a suburb of Amiens in northern France, where the first examples were found in the nineteenth century, and contrast with the older, simpler tools known as Oldowan, originally found at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania. In older textbooks, Oldowan tools are usually shown as blunt, rounded, hand-sized stones. In fact, paleoanthropologists now tend to believe that the tool part of Oldowan rocks were the pieces flaked off these larger stones, which could then be used for cutting.
那些手斧后來被稱為阿舍利工具,以19世紀第一批樣本的發瑰地——法國北部亞眠郊外的圣阿舍利而命名,以區別于更古老,同時趣更簡單的奧都成工具。后者最初發現于坦桑尼亞的奧都成峽谷,故名。在以前的教科書里,奧都成石器通常被描繪為鈍鈍的、圓圓的、手能握住的石塊。實際上,今天古人類學家認為,奧都咸石器是從更大塊的石頭上敲下來的,當時可以用來切割東西。
Now here's the mystery. When early modern humans—the ones who would eventually become us—started to move out of Africa something over a hundred thousand years ago, Acheulean tools were the technology of choice. These early Homo sapiens loved their Acheulean tools, too. They carried them vast distances. Sometimes they even took unshaped rocks with them to make into tools later on. They were, in a word, devoted to the technology. But although Acheulean tools have been found throughout Africa, Europe, and western and central Asia, they have almost never been found in the Far East. This is deeply puzzling.
問題在于,當早期現代人類—— 最終進化成我們的人類——大約在10萬多年前開始離開非洲時,阿舍利工具是最佳的隨身攜帶品。這些早期的智人也非常喜愛阿舍利工具。他們攜帶這些工具出遠門,有時他們甚至攜帶著不成形的石塊,以便在日后把它們制作成工具。一句話,他們非常癡迷于這種工具制作。不過,盡管在非洲、歐洲、西亞和中亞都發現了阿舍利工具,但在遠東卻幾乎從未發現。這真是一個謎。

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genial ['dʒi:njəl]

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adj. 和藹的,親切的,宜人的

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devoted [di'vəutid]

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adj. 投入的,深愛的 v. 投入 vbl. 投入

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vast [vɑ:st]

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adj. 巨大的,廣闊的
n. 浩瀚的太

 
contrast ['kɔntræst,kən'træst]

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n. 差別,對比,對照物
v. 對比,成對照<

 
sheer [ʃiə]

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adj. 純粹的,全然的,陡峭的
adv. 完

 
symbolic [sim'bɔlik]

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n. 代號 adj. 象征的,符號的

 
axe [æks]

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n. 斧,樂器,突然去除
vt. 用斧砍,突然

 
advanced [əd'vɑ:nst]

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adj. 高級的,先進的

 
cast [kɑ:st]

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v. 投,擲,拋,鑄造,丟棄,指定演員,加起來,投射(目

 
enormous [i'nɔ:məs]

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adj. 巨大的,龐大的

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