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  • Translator: Leslie Gauthier Reviewer: Camille Martínez

    譯者: Melody Tang 審譯者: 易帆 余

  • For the past few years,

    在過去幾年,

  • I've been spending my summers in the marine biological laboratory

    我的夏天都在馬薩諸塞州 伍茲霍爾區的

  • in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

    海洋生態研究室度過。

  • And there, what I've been doing is essentially renting a boat.

    我在那裡租了一條船,

  • What I would like to do is ask you

    我想邀請各位

  • to come on a boat ride with me tonight.

    今晚和我一起去乘船。

  • So, we ride off from Eel Pond into Vineyard Sound,

    我們從鰻池出發,前往葡萄園海灣,

  • right off the coast of Martha's Vineyard,

    地點就在瑪莎葡萄園旁的海岸,

  • equipped with a drone to identify potential spots

    我們裝置了一台無人機

  • from which to peer into the Atlantic.

    用來觀察大西洋中潛在的地點。

  • Earlier, I was going to say into the depths of the Atlantic,

    之前,我會說要進入 大西洋的深處才找的到,

  • but we don't have to go too deep to reach the unknown.

    但是我們不需要到那麽深的地方 就能發現未知的生物。

  • Here, barely two miles away

    就在這裡,

  • from what is arguably the greatest marine biology lab in the world,

    離可以說是世界上最棒的海洋生物 實驗室僅僅兩英里處的地方。

  • we lower a simple plankton net into the water

    我們放下一張 簡易的浮游生物採集網,

  • and bring up to the surface

    然後再把它拉上來,

  • things that humanity rarely pays any attention to,

    如此就可以找到這些 人類很少會注意到的生物,

  • and oftentimes has never seen before.

    而且常常是從來沒有見過的生物。

  • Here's one of the organisms that we caught in our net.

    這是其中一個 我們用網捕捉到的生物。

  • This is a jellyfish.

    牠是一隻水母。

  • But look closely,

    但仔細看,

  • and living inside of this animal is another organism

    居住在這隻動物體內的 是另一個有機體。

  • that is very likely entirely new to science.

    對科學界來說很可能

  • A complete new species.

    是一個全新的物種。

  • Or how about this other transparent beauty

    或是再來看看這隻透明、

  • with a beating heart,

    有著一顆跳動心臟的美麗生物,

  • asexually growing on top of its head,

    牠可以在自己的頭部頂端 進行無性繁殖,

  • progeny that will move on to reproduce sexually.

    但牠的後代卻可以進行有性繁殖。

  • Let me say that again:

    請讓我再重複一次:

  • this animal is growing asexually on top of its head,

    這種動物可以在頭部頂端 進行無性繁殖,

  • progeny that is going to reproduce sexually in the next generation.

    而牠的子代將成為有性繁殖的後代。

  • A weird jellyfish?

    很怪的水母,是吧?

  • Not quite.

    不完全是。

  • This is an ascidian.

    這是海鞘。

  • This is a group of animals

    這一群生物

  • that now we know we share extensive genomic ancestry with,

    我們現在知道牠們和我們 有著大量共同的基因體,

  • and it is perhaps the closest invertebrate species to our own.

    牠們也許是目前與我們 最近親的無脊椎動物。

  • Meet your cousin,

    見見你的表親,

  • Thalia democratica.

    雙尾薩利亞。

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • I'm pretty sure you didn't save a spot at your last family reunion

    我很確定各位 在最近的一次家族聚會

  • for Thalia,

    沒有留一個座位給牠,

  • but let me tell you,

    但我告訴各位,

  • these animals are profoundly related to us

    這些動物和我們息息相關,

  • in ways that we're just beginning to understand.

    我們才剛開始明白這層關係。

  • So, next time you hear anybody derisively telling you

    所以,下次你聽到任何人 嘲笑地告訴你,

  • that this type of research is a simple fishing expedition,

    這類的研究不過是一種 簡單的捕撈旅程,

  • I hope that you'll remember the trip that we just took.

    我希望各位能記住 我們剛剛所體驗的歷程。

  • Today, many of the biological sciences only see value

    如今,許多生物方面的研究

  • in studying deeper what we already know --

    只著重在我們已知的事物上,

  • in mapping already-discovered continents.

    模仿繪製已發現的舊大陸。

  • But some of us are much more interested in the unknown.

    但是我們之中的一些人 對於未知的事物更感興趣。

  • We want to discover completely new continents,

    我們想要探索全新的大陸

  • and gaze at magnificent vistas of ignorance.

    並聚焦未知世界的華麗遠景。

  • We crave the experience of being completely baffled

    我們渴望擁有

  • by something we've never seen before.

    被前所未見的事物所迷惑的體驗。

  • And yes, I agree

    是的,我承認,

  • there's a lot of little ego satisfaction in being able to say,

    能夠說出這句話真的會滿爽的:

  • "Hey, I was the first one to discover that."

    「嘿,我是第一個發現的。」

  • But this is not a self-aggrandizing enterprise,

    但這領域沒那麼好混,

  • because in this type of discovery research,

    因為在這類探索性研究中,

  • if you don't feel like a complete idiot most of the time,

    如果你沒有經常 覺得自己是個大笨蛋的話,

  • you're just not sciencing hard enough.

    你還不夠科學狂熱。

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • So every summer I bring onto the deck of this little boat of ours

    每年夏天,我都會給這艘小船的甲板

  • more and more things that we know very little about.

    帶來愈來愈多 我們幾乎一無所知的東西。

  • I would like tonight to tell you a story about life

    今晚我想告訴各位 一個有關生命的故事,

  • that rarely gets told in an environment like this.

    一個極少會在這樣場合中 提起的故事。

  • From the vantage point of our 21st-century biological laboratories,

    21 世紀生物實驗室的 有利之處就是,

  • we have begun to illuminate many mysteries of life with knowledge.

    我們開始運用知識 點亮許多神秘的生命。

  • We sense that after centuries of scientific research,

    我們感覺到, 在做了幾個世紀的科學研究後,

  • we're beginning to make significant inroads

    我們開始對一些

  • into understanding some of the most fundamental principles of life.

    生命最基本原則的理解 有了重大進展。

  • Our collective optimism is reflected by the growth of biotechnology

    全球生物技術的增長

  • across the globe,

    反映出我們這個領域 全體欣欣向榮的現象。

  • striving to utilize scientific knowledge to cure human diseases.

    大家致力於利用科學知識 來治療人類的疾病。

  • Things like cancer, aging, degenerative diseases;

    像癌症、衰老、退化性疾病;

  • these are but some of the undesirables we wish to tame.

    這些都是我們不想要、 希望能克服的疾病。

  • I often wonder:

    我經常在想:

  • Why is it that we are having so much trouble

    為什麽我們在嘗試治療癌症的過程中

  • trying to solve the problem of cancer?

    會遇到這麼多麻煩?

  • Is it that we're trying to solve the problem of cancer,

    會不會是因為我們只想 解決癌症的問題,

  • and not trying to understand life?

    卻不願意嘗試了解生命的奧義呢?

  • Life on this planet shares a common origin,

    這個星球上的生命有共同的起源,

  • and I can summarize 3.5 billion years of the history of life on this planet

    而我可以在一張投影片上

  • in a single slide.

    總結出這個星球上 35 億年的生命歷史。

  • What you see here are representatives of all known species in our planet.

    各位現在看到的是 我們星球上所有已知物種的代表。

  • In this immensity of life and biodiversity,

    在這廣大的生命和生物多樣性之中,

  • we occupy a rather unremarkable position.

    我們人類只占據了一個 不那麽明顯的位置。

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • Homo sapiens.

    智人。

  • The last of our kind.

    最新的人類物種。

  • And though I don't really want to disparage at all

    雖然我不是真的想要輕視

  • the accomplishments of our species,

    我們人類物種的成就,

  • as much as we wish it to be so and often pretend that it is,

    即使人類希望可以佔據所有的成就 並經常自以為是,

  • we are not the measure of all things.

    我們仍然不是所有事情的衡量標準,

  • We are, however, the measurers of many things.

    但我們是許多事情的衡量者。

  • We relentlessly quantify, analyze and compare,

    我們不屈不撓地量化、 分析、和比較,

  • and some of this is absolutely invaluable and indeed necessary.

    這當中有些的確是無價且必要的。

  • But this emphasis today on forcing biological research to specialize

    但如今,這樣強調生物研究專精化

  • and to produce practical outcomes

    及要有實際成果產出的這種方式,

  • is actually restricting our ability to interrogate life

    實際上會限制我們審視生命的能力,

  • to unacceptably narrow confines and unsatisfying depths.

    並限制我們在狹隘的範圍 做著深度不夠的研究。

  • We are measuring an astonishingly narrow sliver of life,

    人類現在研究的生物 只佔地球生命中的一小部分,

  • and hoping that those numbers will save all of our lives.

    卻冀望這樣狹隘的數量 將來可以拯救我們的生命。

  • How narrow do you ask?

    你問我,有多狹隘?

  • Well, let me give you a number.

    讓我給各位一個數字。

  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently estimated

    國家海洋和大氣管理局最近估計

  • that about 95 percent of our oceans remain unexplored.

    我們大約還有 95% 的 海洋尚未探索。

  • Now let that sink in for a second.

    讓我們沉思一下,

  • 95 percent of our oceans remain unexplored.

    還有 95% 的海洋尚未探索。

  • I think it's very safe to say

    幾乎可以這麼說,

  • that we don't even know how much about life we do not know.

    我們甚至對未知生命的數量 根本也一無所知。

  • So, it's not surprising that every week in my field

    所以,不必感到驚訝,因為每個禮拜

  • we begin to see the addition of more and more new species

    這個領域都有新的物種,

  • to this amazing tree of life.

    增加到這棵令人驚嘆的生命之樹上。

  • This one for example --

    舉個例子,

  • discovered earlier this summer,

    今年初夏才發現的,

  • new to science,

    這個科學界的新物種,

  • and now occupying its lonely branch in our family tree.

    現在佔據了我們 生命之樹的一個分支。

  • What is even more tragic

    可惜的是,

  • is that we know about a bunch of other species of animals out there,

    我們知道那麼多的物種,

  • but their biology remains sorely under-studied.

    但我們對牠們生物學方面的了解 卻只停留在研究階段。

  • I'm sure some of you have heard about the fact

    我確定各位都有聽過一個事實,

  • that a starfish can actually regenerate its arm after it's lost.

    海星可以在失去觸手之後再長出來。

  • But some of you might not know

    但是你們或許不知道

  • that the arm itself can actually regenerate a complete starfish.

    一隻觸手也可以重新長出 一隻完整的海星。

  • And there are animals out there that do truly astounding things.

    還有許多動物 可以完成更多令人驚訝的事。

  • I'm almost willing to bet

    我甚至願意打賭

  • that many of you have never heard of the flatworm, Schmidtea mediterranea.

    你們大概從未 聽過淡水渦蟲這種扁蟲。

  • This little guy right here

    這隻小傢伙

  • does things that essentially just blow my mind.

    可以做出我完全無法想像的事。

  • You can grab one of these animals and cut it into 18 different fragments,

    你可以挑一隻來並把牠切成十八段,

  • and each and every one of those fragments will go on to regenerate

    而每一段都能生成

  • a complete animal

    另一個完整的生物。

  • in under two weeks.

    只要兩個禮拜的時間。

  • 18 heads, 18 bodies, 18 mysteries.

    18 個頭、18 個身體、18 個秘密。

  • For the past decade and a half or so,

    在過去 15 年以來,

  • I've been trying to figure out how these little dudes do what they do,

    我一直在努力搞清楚 這些小傢伙是如何做到的,

  • and how they pull this magic trick off.

    牠們是如何變出這個魔術的。

  • But like all good magicians,

    但就像所有的優秀魔術師一樣,

  • they're not really releasing their secrets readily to me.

    他們不會把秘密全告訴你。

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • So here we are,

    所以,

  • after 20 years of essentially studying these animals,

    在對這些生物 做了 20 年基礎研究後,

  • genome mapping, chin scratching,

    我們繪製了無數的基因圖、 抓了無數次的下巴思索、

  • and thousands of amputations and thousands of regenerations,

    經過了數千次的切割、 數千次的再生後,

  • we still don't fully understand how these animals do what they do.

    我們還是不能完全明白 這些動物是如何做到的。

  • Each planarian an ocean unto itself,

    每一支渦蟲本身,

  • full of unknowns.

    都是一個充滿著未知的大海。

  • One of the common characteristics

    我對你們提到的這些動物

  • of all of these animals I've been talking to you about

    牠們有一個共同的特性,

  • is that they did not appear to have received the memo

    就是牠們的行為

  • that they need to behave according to the rules

    並不符合實驗室 備忘錄上記載的規律,

  • that we have derived from a handful of randomly selected animals

    也就是我們隨機篩選出來的生物,

  • that currently populate the vast majority

    佔據在世界各地

  • of biomedical laboratories across the world.

    生物醫學實驗室裡的行為備忘錄。

  • Meet our Nobel Prize winners.

    見見我們的諾貝爾得獎者們,

  • Seven species, essentially,

    基本上,就這七個物種

  • that have produced for us the brunt of our understanding

    衝擊了我們當今對於

  • of biological behavior today.

    生物行為的基本理解。

  • This little guy right here --

    這個小傢伙──

  • three Nobel Prizes in 12 years.

    在 12 年內拿到三次諾貝爾獎。

  • And yet, after all the attention they have garnered,

    然而,在牠們獲得所有的關注

  • and all the knowledge they have generated,

    並產出很多知識後,

  • as well as the lion's share of the funding,

    並獲得超大量的研究資金,

  • here we are standing [before] the same litany of intractable problems

    大家仍要面對冗長難對付的問題

  • and many new challenges.

    以及新的挑戰。