Evolution before Darwin 在达尔文提出进化论之前的人

Take Away English: Evolution before Darwin 在达尔文提出进化论之前的人

课文内容

Vocabulary: Evolution 词汇:进化

You’ve heard of Charles Darwin, right? The celebrated scientist who proposed a theory of evolution. You might have just about heard of Alfred Russel Wallace, who co-authored, with Darwin, the revolutionary work On the Origin of Species, published in 1859. But what about Patrick Matthew? ‘Patrick who?’ you might ask. Well, Darwin and Wallace got the fame but Matthew did the legwork too.

This British horticulturalist actually thought about evolution first, as Dr Mike Weale, geneticist at King’s College London, explains. He says: "Matthew published a brief outline of the idea of species being able to change into other species through natural selection. And he did that 27 years before Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. And they recognized that he did so but other people since have simplified the story and tended to concentrate just on Darwin."

So Patrick Matthew's relative obscurity may simply be down to us – the general public – wanting to simplify things. But Dr Patricia Fara, senior tutor at Clare College Cambridge, points out that Darwin's work might have received more attention because he had powerful friends.

"He brought his allies on board", she says. The academic explains that "although he was publishing from his stronghold down in Kent he had the most famous, most prominent members of the scientific society in Victorian times, who were pushing on his behalf. Having a scientific theory being accepted is not just a matter of whether the theory’s right."

Maybe it is time for us to remember Patrick Matthew, a pioneer of the story of survival through adaptation that is at the heart of evolution.

词汇表

celebrated 著名的,受人敬仰的
theory of evolution 进化论
species 物种
to do the legwork 做跑腿的活儿
horticulturalist 园艺学家
outline 概论,概述
natural selection 物竞天择
obscurity 无名,默默无闻
allies 支持者,盟友
stronghold 大本营,居住地
prominent 著名的,重要的
on one’s behalf 代表某人,为某人的利益
survival 生存
adaptation 改编

测验与练习

1. 阅读课文并回答问题。 

1. What changed the way people thought about the development of living things in the 19th century?

2. What did Matthew work with?

3. True or false? Darwin claimed that he was the only person who had come up with a theory of natural selection.

4. What helped Darwin to become more famous than Matthew?

5. What’s the central idea of the theory of evolution? 

2. 请你在不参考课文的情况下完成下列练习。从每个表格中选择一个意思合适的单词填入句子的空格处。

1. The professor published the book but it was his assistant who _________. He collected the evidence which finally proved the theories.

pushed on his behalf            was down to us            did the legwork           recognised

2. On the Origin of Species is too complicated for my students to read. I’ve decided to _________ it and gave them a summary of this book on evolution.

simplify                                concentrate                    point out                     co-author

3. It’s through _________ that some animals evolve while others just die out.

evolution                             survival                            adaptation                   Darwin

4. Ann is such a good student of English that her teachers decided to ask the principal _________ to allow her to jump one semester.

to do her legwork             on her behalf                  to do her work             to behalf

5. When I have an exam to do, I _________ to do the easy questions first and leave the difficult ones for later. 

tend                                  think                                  recognise                    point out

答案

1. 阅读课文并回答问题。

1. What changed the way people thought about the development of living things in the 19th century?
The publication of On the Origin of Species by Darwin and Wallace in 1859.

2.  What did Matthew work with?
Plants and trees – he was a horticulturalist.

3.  True or false? Darwin claimed that he was the only person who had come up with a theory of natural selection.
False.  Dr Mike Weale, geneticist at King’s College London, says that Darwin recognised that Matthew thought of it first.

4.  What helped Darwin to become more famous than Matthew?
Dr Patricia Fara, senior tutor at Clare College Cambridge, says he had influential people in the scientific society defending his ideas. 

5.  What’s the central idea of the theory of evolution?
The central idea of the theory of evolution is that species adapted to their environment to survive – the ones which didn’t adapt, disappeared.

2. 请你在不参考课文的情况下完成下列练习。从每个表格中选择一个意思合适的单词填入句子的空格处。

1.  The professor published the book but it was his assistant who did the legwork. He collected the evidence which finally proved the theories.

2.  On the Origin of Species is too complicated for my students to read. I’ve decided to simplify it and gave them a summary of this book on evolution.

3.  It’s through adaptation that some animals evolve while others just die out.

4.  Ann is such a good student of English that her teachers decided to ask the principal on her behalf to allow her to jump one semester.

5.  When I have an exam to do, I tend to do the easy questions first and leave the difficult ones for later.