??Nearly 50% of cancer deaths worldwideare caused bypreventable risk factors, such as smoking and drinking alcohol, according to the largest study of the link between cancer burden and risk factors.





A new study estimates there are 20quadrillionindividual ants across the globe, which together weigh more than all wild birds and mammals combined.“Anyone who’s looked at ants and realised there are lots of them has probably wondered how many there may be in total – it’s just a question that’s on people’s minds,” says Patrick Schultheiss at the University of Hong Kong, who co-led the study with his colleague Sabine Nooten at the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg in Germany.


To provide an answer, they compiled data from 489 studies that measured ant densities in different parts of the world using standardised methods. Theyextrapolatedthis data to estimate there are approximately 20,000,000,000,000,000, or 20 quadrillion, ants across the globe.


The totalbiomassof this global ant population – the collective weight of carbon in all the individuals – is about 12 million tonnes. This is more than wild birds and mammals combined, which have a total biomass of 2 million tonnes and 7 million tonnes, respectively. Humans, by comparison, have a total biomass of 60 million tonnes.


Previous estimates of the number of ants on Earth were “essentiallyeducatedguesses” that extrapolated from ant densities measured in one or two locations, says Schultheiss. The latest analysis aimed to be more accurate by looking at studies from all continents and written in different languages. There are still gaps in our knowledge, however, because most ant counts have been conducted on the ground, rather than in trees or underground, says Schultheiss. Statistics from Africa and northern Asia are also limited.


There are 15,700 known species and subspecies of ants. The insects are vital to most ecosystems because of their roles indispersingseeds, increasing nutrient availability via soil turnover and providing food for ant-eating animals. Knowing the global ant population is important for conservation purposes, says Nooten.


本文节选自:New Scientist (新科学家)




英 [kw????dr??lj??n] 美 [kwɑ????dr??lj??n]

n. 百万之四次方;千的五次方

adj. 千之五次方的


英 [??k??str??p??le??t] 美 [??k??str??p??le??t]

vt. 外推;推断

vi. 外推;进行推断


英 [??ba??????m??s] 美 [??ba??o??m??s]

n. 生物量;生物质能燃料


美 [d????sp????rs]

n. 分配,分散

adj. 分散的

v. 使散开;散布;驱散(disperse 的现在分词)


1.educated guess n. 有根据的推测


原句:Anyone who’s looked at ants and realised there are lots of them has probably wondered how many there may be in total – it’s just a question that’s on people’s minds.

结构:Anyone who’s looked at XX and realised XX has probably wondered how XX – it’s just a question that’s on people’s minds.

例句:Anyone who’s benefited from studying and realized how important it is has probably wondered how to use the knowledge to become a better self – it’s just a question that’s on people’s minds.





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