本期文章

The Strange Case of the Duck-Billed Platypus  光怪陸離鴨嘴獸

by Jeremy Beacock    

The duck-billed platypus is a creature that just doesn't fit in.

哺乳類?爬蟲類?傻傻分不清楚。





When 18th-century scientists first came across Australia's duck-billed platypus, they thought it was a trick. It is not surprising that the platypus had people confused. This funny-looking animal has feet and a bill like a duck, but is nonetheless a furry, warm-blooded mammal.

  While other mammals usually keep their blood at around 37 degrees Celsius, platypuses have a lower body temperature of 32 degrees. Aside from its appearance, the platypus' bill is not really like a duck's bill at all. The platypus' mouth is actually under the bill, which is rubbery, not rigid. The bill is equipped with electroreceptors. The platypus closes its eyes when swimming, and instead of seeing its prey, it uses these electroreceptors to pick up tiny electrical currents made by the creatures underwater.

  Strangest of all, the platypus is a mammal that lays eggs. There is only one other family of egg-laying mammals: the echidna (針鼴蝟) of New Guinea and Australia. Both the platypus and the echidna lay soft-shelled eggs, and both feed their young with milk that leaks out through their skin. These animals also walk in a way that is similar to crocodiles and other reptiles, with legs on the sides of their bodies rather than underneath. These characteristics are linked with the fact that they are one of the oldest mammals and have kept some reptilian traits.

  Though cute, in a weird way, the platypus is actually one of the few mammals that are poisonous. A male platypus has knife-like bones on its back legs which have enough poison to kill a dog. The platypus has the honor of being one of the oldest, and oddest, mammals in the world.

1. Which of the following is false?





(A) Platypuses have a body temperature of 32 degrees Celsius.

(B) Platypuses only open their eyes underwater.

(C) Male platypuses are poisonous.

(D) Platypuses find food by sensing electricity.





2. Characteristics of the platypus are compared with those of _____?





(A) 18th-century scientists

(B) dogs and echidnas

(C) the duck, the crocodile, and the echidna

(D) only the echidna





3. Which of the following cannot be said of both the echidna and the platypus?





(A) Their eggs are soft.

(B) They feed their young with milk.

(C) They walk differently from most mammals.

(D) They are both native to Australia and New Guinea.





精解字詞片語





1. come across...  偶然遇見∕碰上……

= come upon...

= bump into...

= encounter vt.

例: On our trip through Japan, we came across the same man 10 times.

(我們在日本旅行時,不停遇見同一個人 10 次。)



2. It is not surprising + that 子句  ……不足為奇∕不令人驚訝

例: It's not surprising that the lazy student failed the test.

(那懶惰的學生考不及格一點也不令人驚訝。)



3. confused a. 困惑的

be confused about...  對……感到困惑

例: I think Joe was confused about the instructions.

(我想喬被指示弄糊塗了。)



4. nonetheless adv. 儘管;但是

例: Jenny works full-time, but she is nonetheless an excellent mother.

(珍妮有份全職的工作,儘管如此,她仍是位稱職的母親。)



5. aside from...  除了……之外

= apart from...

例: Aside from chocolate, Mike doesn't like sweets.

(除了巧克力外,麥克不喜歡甜食。)



6. be equipped with...  有……的裝備

例: All Mercedes vehicles are equipped with driver-side air bags.

(所有賓士車都配備有駕駛座氣囊。)



7. instead of...  而非……;代替……

= rather than...

例: You should try to deal with your problems instead of escaping them.

(你應該設法處理問題而不是逃避問題。)



8. pick up...  嗅到∕發現∕收到……

例: NASA reported picking up strange signals from deep space.

(美國航太總署報告說,他們接收到從遙遠太空傳來的奇怪信號。)



9. lay vt. 產(卵);放置

三態為:lay, laid , laid。

比較:

lie vi. 躺;說謊

lie 表『躺』時,三態為:lie, lay, lain ;動名詞及現在分詞為 lying。

lie 表『說謊』時,三態為:lie, lied, lied;動名詞及現在分詞亦為 lying。

例: Kate laid her keys and cell phone on the table.

(凱特把她的鑰匙和手機放在桌上。)

例: John dares not lie to his father.

(約翰不敢向父親說謊。)



10. be similar to...  與……相似

例: My view on this issue is similar to yours.

(我對這項議題的看法和你的相似。)



11. be linked with...  與……相關聯

例: Chewing betel nut is linked with mouth cancer.

(嚼檳榔與口腔癌有所關聯。)



12. have the honor of V-ing  有幸……

例: I'm happy to have the honor of introducing the famous scientist.

(我很開心能有榮幸介紹這位有名的科學家。)



13. be compared with/to...  與……相比較

compare A with/to B  比較 A 與 B

例: My parents always compare me with/to my older sister.

(我父母老是拿我和我的姊姊相比。)



14. be native to + 地方  是某地特有的,原產於某地

例: Ostriches are native to Africa.

(駝鳥原產於非洲。)

18 世紀時,當科學家首次遇見澳洲鴨嘴獸,他們還以為那是個惡作劇。鴨嘴獸令人如此困惑其實一點都不意外。這種長相奇特的動物有著像鴨子一般的足部和扁喙,但卻是全身毛茸茸的溫血哺乳類動物。

  其他哺乳類動物的血液通常都維持在攝氏 37 度左右,而鴨嘴獸的體溫卻比較低,只有 32 度。除了外觀外,鴨嘴獸和一般鴨子的喙部其實並不相同。鴨嘴獸的喙具有彈性而不堅硬,而且嘴巴其實是長在喙部的下方。鴨嘴獸的喙部具有電流感受器。鴨嘴獸在游水時眼睛是閉著的,所以牠們看不到獵物,但牠們使用電流感受器偵測水底生物所釋放出的微弱電流。

  最奇怪的是,鴨嘴獸是一種會產卵的哺乳類動物。所有的哺乳類動物中,除了鴨嘴獸外,只有新幾內亞和澳洲的針鼴蝟是卵生的。鴨嘴獸和針鼴蝟都會產下軟殼的卵,兩者的腹部皮膚也都會分泌出乳汁以餵養幼獸。這兩種動物走路的方式也都與鱷魚或其他爬行類動物相似,前進時雙腿會在身體兩側而非在身體下方。這種種特性顯示了牠們是最原始的哺乳類動物,而且還保留了爬蟲類動物的一些特徵。

  雖然長相怪得可愛,鴨嘴獸卻是少數幾種有毒的哺乳類動物之一。雄性鴨嘴獸的後足上有刀刃一般的毒刺,毒刺中的毒液足以殺死一隻狗。鴨嘴獸堪稱是世界上最原始且最古怪的哺乳類動物。

單字小舖





1. duck-billed a. 鴨嘴形的

2. platypu n. 鴨嘴獸

3. trick n. 惡作劇;把戲

4. bill n. 鳥嘴,喙

5. furry a. 覆有毛皮的

6. mammal n. 哺乳動物

7. Celsius a. 攝氏的

Fahrenheit a. 華氏的

8. rubbery a. 有彈性的;橡膠似的

9. rigid a. 堅固的

10. electroreceptor n. 電流感受器

11. prey n. 獵物

12. current n. 電流

13. echidna n. 針鼴蝟

14. soft-shelled a. 軟殼的

15. leak vi. 滲出

16. crocodile n. 鱷魚

17. reptile n. 爬蟲類

18. underneath adv. 在下面

19. reptilian a. 爬行動物的

21. trait n. 特徵

22. weird a. 奇特的

23. odd a. 古怪的

24. sense vt. 感應;感覺到





1. 下列敘述何者為非?

(A) 鴨嘴獸的體溫為攝氏 32 度。

(B) 鴨嘴獸只在水底下才會張開眼睛。

(C) 雄性鴨嘴獸有毒。

(D) 鴨嘴獸利用感應電流覓食。

題解: 根據文章第二段,鴨嘴獸游水時眼睛是閉著的,由此可知,(B) 選項敘述有誤,故選之。



2. 鴨嘴獸的特性被拿來和 _____ 相比較。

(A) 18 世紀的科學家 (B) 狗和針鼴蝟

(C) 鴨子、鱷魚和針鼴蝟 (D) 針鼴蝟而已



題解: 根據文章第一段,鴨嘴獸有著像鴨子一般的足部和扁喙;第三段則提到鴨嘴獸和針鼴蝟的相似之處,除了會產卵外,這兩種動物走路的方式也都很像鱷魚或是其他爬行類動物,由此可知,(C) 為正確選項。



3. 下列何者並非針鼴蝟及鴨嘴獸兩者共有的特性?

(A) 兩者產下的卵皆為軟殼。

(B) 兩者都以乳汁哺育幼獸。

(C) 兩者走路的方式與大多數哺乳類動物不同。

(D) 兩者均原產於澳洲和新幾內亞。

題解: 根據文章第三段,鴨嘴獸和針鼴蝟都會產軟殼的卵,兩者的腹部皮膚也都會分泌出乳汁以餵養幼獸,這兩種動物走路的方式也都很像鱷魚或其他爬行類動物,前進時雙腿會在身體兩側而非在身體下方,故 (A)、(B)、(C) 均為兩者共有的特性。惟鴨嘴獸僅原產於澳洲,可知 (D) 選項敘述有誤,故選之。





標準答案: 1. (B) 2. (C) 3. (D)


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