立即打开

科学家在中国发现了地球上最古老的绿色植物化石

Scientists Discover Earth’s Oldest Green Plant Fossil in China

科学家在中国发现了地球上最古老的绿色植物化石

Scientists have discovered what may be the oldest fossils of a green plant ever found.

科学家们发现了可能是迄今为止发现的最古老的绿色植物化石。

The fossils were found in rocks from northern China. The plant is thought to be a piece of seaweed that grew on Earth's seafloor about 1 billion years ago. That would make this seaweed an ancestor of all green plants alive today.

这些化石是在中国北方的岩石中发现的。这种植物被认为是大约10亿年前生长在地球海底的一片海藻。这将使这种海藻成为今天所有绿色植物的祖先。

Researchers in the United States reported on the discovery in the publication Nature Ecology & Evolution. The researchers are with the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia.

美国研究人员在《自然生态与进化》杂志上报道了这一发现。这些研究人员来自维吉尼亚理工学院和维吉尼亚州布莱克斯堡的州立大学。

The seaweed is a form of green algae called Proterocladus antiquus. It was very small, about the size of a single piece of rice. Researchers say the plant was connected to the seafloor with a root-like structure. At the time, the plant was one of the largest life forms in the sea, which contained mostly bacteria and other microorganisms.

这种海藻是绿藻的一种,被称为古绿藻。它非常小,大约只有一粒米那么大。研究人员表示,这种植物以根状结构与海底相连。当时,这种植物是海洋中最大的生命形式之一,其中大部分是细菌和其他微生物。

The researchers say Proterocladus was able to perform photosynthesis, taking energy from the sun to produce life-supporting carbon and oxygen. They believe the plant also provided food and shelter for many different kinds of sea life.

研究人员指出,古绿藻能够进行光合作用,从太阳获取能量来产生维持生命的碳和氧。他们相信这种植物还为许多不同种类的海洋生物提供了食物和庇护所。

Shuhai Xiao serves as a Professor of Geobiology at Virginia Tech. He said the fossils were found in rock taken from an area of dry land - formerly ocean - near the city of Dalian in China's Liaoning Province. Qing Tang, another Virginia Tech researcher, discovered the micro-fossils in the rock using an electronic microscope in a laboratory.

弗吉尼亚理工大学地球生物学教授肖树海说,这些化石是在中国辽宁省大连市附近的一块陆地上发现的,这块陆地以前是海洋。弗吉尼亚理工大学的另一位研究人员唐青(音)在实验室里用电子显微镜发现了岩石中的微化石。

Xiao said the fossils represent the oldest green seaweed ever found. The next oldest fossil of green seaweed was found in rock thought to be about 800 million years old.

肖说,这些化石代表了迄今为止发现的最古老的绿色海藻。第二古老的绿色海藻化石是在岩石中发现的,据认为大约有8亿年的历史。

The scientists say the seaweed once lived in an ocean that was not very deep. Once the plants died, they became "cooked" under thick sediment, which created fossils in the shape of the seaweed. Many millions of years later, the dirt was lifted out of the ocean and became the dry land where the examples were collected.

科学家们说,这种海藻曾经生活在不太深的海洋里。一旦植物死亡,它们就会在厚厚的沉淀物下“煮熟”,形成海藻形状的化石。数百万年后,这些泥土被从海洋中掀起,变成了收集样本的陆地。

These new fossils suggest that green seaweeds were important players in the ocean long before their land-plant descendants moved and took control of dry land, Xiao said.

“这些新发现的化石表明,早在它们的陆生后代迁移并控制陆地之前,绿色海藻就已经是海洋中的重要角色,”肖说。

He added that Earth's biosphere depends heavily on plants for food and oxygen. But the first land plants, believed to be ancestors of green seaweeds, did not appear until about 450 million years ago.

他补充说,地球生物圈严重依赖植物提供食物和氧气。但是被认为是绿色海藻的祖先的第一批陆地植物直到大约4.5亿年前才出现。

The Virginia Tech researchers believe that land plants – including trees, grasses food crops and others – all developed from green seaweeds that lived in the ocean. Then, over millions of years, the seaweed plants moved out of the water and adapted to life on land.

弗吉尼亚理工大学的研究人员认为,陆地植物——包括树木、牧草、粮食作物等——都是由生活在海洋中的绿色海藻进化而来的。然后,在数百万年的时间里,海藻离开了水,适应了陆地上的生活。

The history of how green plants developed is a subject of debate. "Some scientists think that green plants started in rivers and lakes, and then conquered the ocean and land later," Xiao said.

绿色植物的发展历史是一个有争议的话题。“一些科学家认为绿色植物起源于河流和湖泊,后来征服了海洋和陆地,”肖说。

Proterocladus is believed to be closely related to a modern seaweed, widely eaten by humans today. It is called sea lettuce.

古绿藻被认为是一种现代海藻的近亲,这种海藻现在被人类广泛食用。它叫海莴苣。

I'm Bryan Lynn.

我是布莱恩·林恩。

打开APP阅读全文