文章来源:未知 文章作者:enread 发布时间:2011-01-05 03:48 字体: [ ]  进入论坛

Long before the knights1 of medieval(中世纪的) Europe wielded3 flails5(连枷) or martial6 artists(武术家) brandished7 nunchucks(双截棍) , it appears that a flightless prehistoric8 bird used its own wings as a similar type of weapon in combat. Paleontologists at Yale University and the Smithsonian Institution have discovered that Xenicibis, a member of the ibis(朱鹭) family that lived about ten thousand years ago and was found only in Jamaica, most likely used its specialized9 wings like a flail4, swinging its upper arm and striking its enemies with its thick hand bones.

"No animal has ever evolved anything quite like this," said Nicholas Longrich of Yale, who led the research. "We don't know of any other species that uses its body like a flail. It's the most specialized weaponry of any bird I've ever seen."

As part of the new study, the researchers analyzed10 a number of recently discovered partial skeletons of Xenicibis and found that the wings were drastically different from anything they'd seen before. "When I first saw it, I assumed it was some sort of deformity(畸形) ," Longrich said. "No one could believe it was actually that bizarre."

The bird, which was the size of a large chicken, is anatomically(结构上) similar to other members of the ibis family except for its wings, which include thick, curved hand bones unlike those of any other known bird. Xenicibis also had a much larger breastbone and longer wings than most flightless birds. "That was our first clue that the wings were still being used for something," Longrich said.

While other birds are known to punch or hammer one another with their wings, Xenicibis is the only known animal to have used its hands, hinged at the wrist joint11, like two baseball bats to swing at and strike its opponents. Although modern day ibises do not strike one another in this fashion, they are very territorial12, with mates often fighting other pairs over nesting and feeding rights.

It's also possible that the birds used their club-like wings to defend themselves against other species that might have preyed14 on the birds' eggs or young. Xenicibis is unusual in that it became flightless even in the midst of a number of predators15, including the Jamaican yellow boa(蟒蛇) , a small extinct monkey and over a dozen birds of prey13.

The team found that two of the wing bones in the collection showed evidence of combat, including a fractured hand bone and a centimeter-thick upper arm bone that was broken in half. The damage is proof of the extreme force the birds were able to wield2 with their specialized wings, Longrich said.


1 knights 2061bac208c7bdd2665fbf4b7067e468     
骑士; (中古时代的)武士( knight的名词复数 ); 骑士; 爵士; (国际象棋中)马
  • stories of knights and fair maidens 关于骑士和美女的故事
  • He wove a fascinating tale of knights in shining armour. 他编了一个穿着明亮盔甲的骑士的迷人故事。
2 wield efhyv     
  • They wield enormous political power.他们行使巨大的政治权力。
  • People may wield the power in a democracy.在民主国家里,人民可以行使权力。
3 wielded d9bac000554dcceda2561eb3687290fc     
手持着使用(武器、工具等)( wield的过去式和过去分词 ); 具有; 运用(权力); 施加(影响)
  • The bad eggs wielded power, while the good people were oppressed. 坏人当道,好人受气
  • He was nominally the leader, but others actually wielded the power. 名义上他是领导者,但实际上是别人掌握实权。
4 flail hgNzc     
  • No fence against flail.飞来横祸不胜防。
  • His arms were flailing in all directions.他的手臂胡乱挥舞着。
5 flails c352c8d1a904d997b73d57cd9e23c85c     
v.鞭打( flail的第三人称单数 );用连枷脱粒;(臂或腿)无法控制地乱动;扫雷坦克
  • The son silently took a flail and they began threshing with four flails. 儿子也开始悄悄乘枷脱粒四枷。 来自互联网
6 martial bBbx7     
  • The sound of martial music is always inspiring.军乐声总是鼓舞人心的。
  • The officer was convicted of desertion at a court martial.这名军官在军事法庭上被判犯了擅离职守罪。
7 brandished e0c5676059f17f4623c934389b17c149     
v.挥舞( brandish的过去式和过去分词 );炫耀
  • "Bang!Bang!"the small boy brandished a phoney pistol and shouted. “砰!砰!”那小男孩挥舞着一支假手枪,口中嚷嚷着。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Swords brandished and banners waved. 刀剑挥舞,旌旗飘扬。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
8 prehistoric sPVxQ     
  • They have found prehistoric remains.他们发现了史前遗迹。
  • It was rather like an exhibition of prehistoric electronic equipment.这儿倒像是在展览古老的电子设备。
9 specialized Chuzwe     
  • There are many specialized agencies in the United Nations.联合国有许多专门机构。
  • These tools are very specialized.这些是专用工具。
10 analyzed 483f1acae53789fbee273a644fdcda80     
v.分析( analyze的过去式和过去分词 );分解;解释;对…进行心理分析
  • The doctors analyzed the blood sample for anemia. 医生们分析了贫血的血样。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The young man did not analyze the process of his captivation and enrapturement, for love to him was a mystery and could not be analyzed. 这年轻人没有分析自己蛊惑著迷的过程,因为对他来说,爱是个不可分析的迷。 来自《简明英汉词典》
11 joint m3lx4     
  • I had a bad fall,which put my shoulder out of joint.我重重地摔了一跤,肩膀脫臼了。
  • We wrote a letter in joint names.我们联名写了封信。
12 territorial LImz4     
  • The country is fighting to preserve its territorial integrity.该国在为保持领土的完整而进行斗争。
  • They were not allowed to fish in our territorial waters.不允许他们在我国领海捕鱼。
13 prey g1czH     
  • Stronger animals prey on weaker ones.弱肉强食。
  • The lion was hunting for its prey.狮子在寻找猎物。
14 preyed 30b08738b4df0c75cb8e123ab0b15c0f     
v.掠食( prey的过去式和过去分词 );掠食;折磨;(人)靠欺诈为生
  • Remorse preyed upon his mind. 悔恨使他内心痛苦。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • He had been unwise and it preyed on his conscience. 他做得不太明智,这一直让他良心不安。 来自辞典例句
15 predators 48b965855934a5395e409c1112d94f63     
n.食肉动物( predator的名词复数 );奴役他人者(尤指在财务或性关系方面)
  • birds and their earthbound predators 鸟和地面上捕食它们的动物
  • The eyes of predators are highly sensitive to the slightest movement. 捕食性动物的眼睛能感觉到最细小的动静。 来自《简明英汉词典》
TAG标签: bird weapon wings