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  • Death and taxes are famously inevitable, but what about decomposition?

    眾所周知,死亡和交稅是不可避免的, 但是腐爛分解可以避免嗎?

  • As anyone who's seen a mummy knows,

    見過木乃伊的人知道,

  • ancient Egyptians went to a lot of trouble to evade decomposition.

    古埃及人費了很大的力氣去防止尸體腐爛。

  • So, how successful were they?

    所以,他們是怎麼做的呢?

  • Living cells constantly renew themselves.

    活著的細胞會自動自我更新修復。

  • Specialized enzymes decompose old structures,

    特殊的酶會分解舊的組織

  • and the raw materials are used to build new ones.

    然後營養物質會合成新的組織。

  • But what happens when someone dies?

    但是如果一個人死了呢?

  • Their dead cells are no longer able to renew themselves,

    他的細胞就再也不會自動更新了

  • but the enzymes keep breaking everything down.

    但是特殊的酶會繼續讓它們分解

  • So anyone looking to preserve a body

    所以如果要保存身體

  • needed to get ahead of those enzymes before the tissues began to rot.

    需要搶在酶分解完身體前處理

  • Neurons die quickly,

    神經是很快就會死的

  • so brains were a lost cause to Ancient Egyptian mummifiers,

    所以對於木乃伊而言,腦子就是沒用的東西

  • which is why, according to Greek historian Herodotus,

    所以希臘歷史學家希羅多德說

  • they started the process by hammering a spike into the skull,

    首先用錘子在腦子上開個洞

  • mashing up the brain, flushing it out the nose

    清理乾淨大腦,讓它從鼻子里流出來

  • and pouring tree resins into the skull to prevent further decomposition.

    然後把鬆香倒入頭顱來防止頭腐爛

  • Brains may decay first, but decaying guts are much worse.

    大腦會最先腐爛,但是內臟腐爛是更棘手的

  • The liver, stomach and intestines contain digestive enzymes and bacteria,

    腎臟,胃,腸子都含有分解酶和細菌

  • which, upon death, start eating the corpse from the inside.

    一旦人死了,這些酶和細菌就開始分解尸體

  • So the priests removed the lungs and abdominal organs first.

    所以“神父”最先去除肺和腹部的器官

  • It was difficult to remove the lungs without damaging the heart,

    要去除肺難免要損壞心

  • but because the heart was believed to be the seat of the soul,

    但是因為埃及人相信心是封印靈魂的

  • they treated it with special care.

    他們就對心用了特別的處理方式。

  • They placed the visceral organs in jars

    他們把內臟都放在罐子裡

  • filled with a naturally occurring salt called natron.

    用天然碳酸鈉填滿罐子

  • Like any salt, natron can prevent decay by killing bacteria

    天然碳酸鈉像鹽一樣 可以殺死細菌,阻止腐化

  • and preventing the body's natural digestive enzymes from working.

    並且防止體內自身的酶分解屍體

  • But natron isn't just any salt.

    但是天然碳酸鈉又不僅僅是鹽

  • It's mainly a mixture of two alkaline salts,

    它是兩種堿式鹽

  • soda ash and baking soda.

    蘇打(Na2CO3)和小蘇打(NaHCO3)的混合物

  • Alkaline salts are especially deadly to bacteria.

    堿式鹽對細菌有致命的作用

  • And they can turn fatty membranes into a hard, soapy substance,

    並可以讓脂肪變成硬的肥皂類的物質,

  • thereby maintaining the corpse's structure.

    這樣就可以保持體形了。

  • After dealing with the internal organs,

    在處理完內臟後

  • the priest stuffed the body cavity with sacks of more natron

    神父用更多的天然碳酸鈉填滿整個身體

  • and washed it clean to disinfect the skin.

    洗乾淨外表並消毒

  • Then, the corpse was set in a bed of still more natron

    然後,屍體被放在一個 裝有更多天然碳酸鈉的床裡

  • for about 35 days to preserve its outer flesh.

    持續35天來保持他的外表的肉

  • By the time of its removal,

    等到屍體出爐的時候

  • the alkaline salts had sucked the fluid from the body

    堿式鹽已經滲透整個身體了

  • and formed hard brown clumps.

    身體變成了棕色的硬塊

  • The corpse wasn't putrid,

    屍體雖未腐爛

  • but it didn't exactly smell good, either.

    但是也很難聞

  • So, priests poured tree resin over the body to seal it,

    然後,神父再往身體上倒鬆香來密封屍體

  • massaged it with a waxy mixture that included cedar oil,

    用包含松油的蠟質給身體做個按摩

  • and then wrapped it in linen.

    然後用亞麻布裹起來。

  • Finally, they placed the mummy in a series of nested coffins

    最後,他們把木乃伊裝在密封的棺材裡

  • and sometimes even a stone sarcophagus.

    有些甚至是大理石棺材。

  • So how successful were the ancient Egyptians at evading decay?

    所以,古埃及人是多麼厲害啊

  • On one hand, mummies are definitely not intact human bodies.

    一方面,木乃伊絕對不是完整的人身

  • Their brains have been mashed up and flushed out,

    他們的大腦被搗爛並流失了,

  • their organs have been removed and salted like salami,

    他們的器官被移除了 並且像意大利香腸一樣醃製

  • and about half of their remaining body mass has been drained away.

    大半身體被脫水

  • Still, what remains is amazingly well-preserved.

    然而,保留下來的真的非常了不起

  • Even after thousands of years,

    即使在千年之後

  • scientists can perform autopsies on mummies

    科學家還是可以通過對木乃伊進行屍檢

  • to determine their causes of death,

    來確定他們的死因

  • and possibly even isolate DNA samples.

    和提取他們的DNA

  • This has given us new information.

    這給了我們當時的資訊

  • For example, it seems that air pollution was a serious problem in ancient Egypt,

    比如,木乃伊告訴我們古埃及空氣污染嚴重

  • probably because of indoor fires used to bake bread.

    有可能是因為烤麵包造成了大量的煙霧

  • Cardiovascular disease was also common, as was tuberculosis.

    心血管疾病和肺結核也非常常見

  • So ancient Egyptians were somewhat successful at evading decay.

    所以古埃及人很擅長保存尸體防止屍體腐爛

  • Still, like death, taxes are inevitable.

    然而,就像死亡,交稅也是必不可免的

  • When some mummies were transported, they were taxed as salted fish.

    當木乃伊要被運送的時候 還要被當做鹹魚一樣征稅。

Death and taxes are famously inevitable, but what about decomposition?

眾所周知,死亡和交稅是不可避免的, 但是腐爛分解可以避免嗎?

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B2 中高級 中文 TED-Ed 木乃伊 腐爛 屍體 分解 埃及人

【TED-Ed】如何製作木乃伊--倫-布洛赫。 (【TED-Ed】How to make a mummy - Len Bloch)

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    稲葉白兎 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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