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自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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icing on the cake

 


Elizabeth Kolbertさんの本が昨年出ていますから、目新しい主張ではないのですが今週以下のニュースがありましたね。

地球史上6回目の大量絶滅、すでに突入か 研究
2015年06月22日 16:15 発信地:マイアミ/米国

【6月22日 AFP】世界は地球史上6回目の大量絶滅を迎えつつあり、これまでの約100倍のペースで生物種の消滅が進んでいるとした研究論文が先週、発表された。人類も早期に死滅する可能性があるとして警告している。
 米スタンフォード大学(Stanford University)、プリンストン大学(Princeton University)、カリフォルニア大学バークレー校(University of California at Berkeley)の専門家らが率いた研究によると、地球では現在、6600万年前に恐竜が絶滅して以降、最も速いペースで生物種が失われているという。


スタンフォード大学はサイトで今回の研究発表をいち早く紹介しています。Youtubeも作って気合が入っています。

Stanford Report, June 19, 2015
Stanford researcher declares that the sixth mass extinction is here

Paul Ehrlich and others use highly conservative estimates to prove that species are disappearing faster than at any time since the dinosaurs' demise.
BY ROB JORDAN

過去の五回の大規模絶滅は以下ですが、日本語で見てもピンときません。。。

Big Five mass extinction events

Ordovician-Silurian mass extinction
Late Devonian mass extinction
Permian mass extinction
Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction
Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction


6度目の大量絶滅?時間のない方の為にダイジェストでまとめてみた
■1:オルドビス紀大量絶滅~生物種85%絶滅~
■2:デボン紀大量絶滅~生物種82%絶滅~
■3:ペルム紀大量絶滅~生物種95%絶滅~
■4:三畳紀大量絶滅~生物種76%絶滅~
■5:白亜紀大量絶滅~生物種70%絶滅~


記事タイトルにしたicing on the cakeというイディオムはスタンフォード大学のYoutubeの最後にありました。



And it turns out that they found that the going on all the time rate was about two times as fast as it had previously been thought. When you look at the conservative estimate how mammals are going to extinct today, it runs somewhere between say 15 and a hundred times as the new fast rate from the past.

Our paper is basically the icing on the cake. It shows without any significant doubt that we are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event.


Our paper is basically the icing on the cakeと語っているということは、「6回目の大量絶滅」というのは今更感のあるという主張でしょうか。こういうイディオムの語感をつかむにはできるだけ具体的な用例に触れるしかないような気もします。

(オックスフォード)
the icing on the cake
(also US English the frosting on the cake)
something extra and not essential that is added to an already good situation or experience and that makes it even better
It’s an added bonus—the icing on the cake.


(ロングマン)
the icing on the cake
something that makes a very good experience even better:
It was a great day, but meeting her there was just the icing on the cake!


今回の使われ方に似ている用例がTIMEにありました。鳥類は恐竜の子孫だというのはすでに知られた発見だけれども、その発見に加えて羽を見せびらかしている恐竜がいたということを紹介するさいに使われていました。

PALEONTOLOGY
When Dinosaurs Came in Color

Scientists already knew that birds are descended from the dinosaurs. Now new research says that feathered dinosaurs also had surprisingly colorful plumage
By Michael Lemonick Feb. 12, 2014

It’s probably hard to believe, but there was a time, not that long ago, when scientists thought dinosaurs were extinct. No, seriously! That was before paleontologists began to understand the impressive anatomical similarities between fossil dinos and living birds. The icing on the cake: a series of discoveries, starting in the 1990s, showing that some dinosaurs even sported feathers. It’s no longer even slightly controversial to claim that birds are descended from dinosaurs, and even that they are dinosaurs—the only branch of the family that survived a massive comet strike 65 million years ago.

22日の巨人—横浜戦の横浜筒香選手のダメ押しホームランについての中畑監督のコメントで記者は英訳でicing on the cakeを使っていました。ダメ押し的なニュアンスもあるイディオムなんですね。

BayStars snap 12-game slide
START Deck
Four-run sixth inning sparks Yokohama in team's first win since June 2

Only show author if their role is equal to author
BY JASON COSKREY

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo capped the BayStars’ night with a two-run home run, his 12th of the season, in the ninth.
“Shimozono’s hit put us ahead in the sixth and that’s when we took control of the game,” Nakahata said. “Tsutsugo’s big home run in the ninth was the icing on the cake.”


今回の研究報告は公開されていて全文が読めるようになっています。5ページほどしかないものです。

RESEARCH ARTICLEENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction

Gerardo Ceballos1,*, Paul R. Ehrlich2, Anthony D. Barnosky3, Andrés García4, Robert M. Pringle5 and Todd M. Palmer6
Science Advances 19 Jun 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 5, e1400253
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1400253

The oft-repeated claim that Earth’s biota is entering a sixth “mass extinction” depends on clearly demonstrating that current extinction rates are far above the “background” rates prevailing between the five previous mass extinctions. Earlier estimates of extinction rates have been criticized for using assumptions that might overestimate the severity of the extinction crisis. We assess, using extremely conservative assumptions, whether human activities are causing a mass extinction. First, we use a recent estimate of a background rate of 2 mammal extinctions per 10,000 species per 100 years (that is, 2 E/MSY), which is twice as high as widely used previous estimates. We then compare this rate with the current rate of mammal and vertebrate extinctions. The latter is conservatively low because listing a species as extinct requires meeting stringent criteria. Even under our assumptions, which would tend to minimize evidence of an incipient mass extinction, the average rate of vertebrate species loss over the last century is up to 100 times higher than the background rate. Under the 2 E/MSY background rate, the number of species that have gone extinct in the last century would have taken, depending on the vertebrate taxon, between 800 and 10,000 years to disappear. These estimates reveal an exceptionally rapid loss of biodiversity over the last few centuries, indicating that a sixth mass extinction is already under way. Averting a dramatic decay of biodiversity and the subsequent loss of ecosystem services is still possible through intensified conservation efforts, but that window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

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