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Life at the end of the Earth
(2009-8-6)
Antarctica. Just the name makes you feel cold! It is a land of icy waters, snow-covered mountains, and endless ice sheets. Antarctica, however, is home to many amazing animals that don’t seem to mind the cold weather. Playful seals swim along Antarctica’s coasts. And huge whales① often burst above the waves.
To us, the penguin② is the most familiar citizen of Antarctica. These birds have handsome black and white feathers, which make them look like they’re wearing tuxedos(燕尾服). They have a funny walk, and they sometimes move by sliding along the ice on their bellies (肚子).
One enemy of the penguin is the fierce leopard seal③. This animal’s name comes from the black spots on its white neck. Leopard seals eat fish and squid(枪乌贼), but penguins are their favorite meal. They often hide near rocks, waiting to attack penguins that jump into the water.
Known as the seventh continent, Antarctica is one and a half times larger than Australia. But the only people that live there are scientists who have come to study this unique place. Life in Antarctica can be lonely. In summer, daylight lasts for up to 20 hours a day. The scientists have to sleep while the sun is still shining. In winter, nighttime lasts for up to 20 hours a day!
On these long winter nights, the purple and green lights of the aurora australis④ fill the Antarctic sky. Visitors to this frozen land often describe it as the most pure, peaceful place on Earth. Unfortunately, Antarctica is in danger. Scientific bases produce waste, and ships have spilled ⑤ oil in Antarctica’s water. For many animals, this icy land is their only home. But for humans, it is the final frontier(边境) that must be protected.
Help:
1. whale  n.  鲸鱼       2. penguin  n.  企鹅     3. leopard seal 豹纹海豹
4. aurora australis南极光   5. spill  v. 泄漏
Task:
After reading the passage, learn more information by yourself.