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經濟學人:狗的起源--汪!汪!

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The origin of dogs

狗的起源

Woof! Woof!

汪!汪!

A new idea about how dogs were domesticated

新觀點:狗是如何被馴化的

Man's best friend is also his oldest. The partnership between dogs and people may go back as much as 40,000 years—long predating any other domestication. And it is based not, as is the case with many subsequent domestications, on a human desire to eat the animal concerned, or to consume some associated product such as milk or eggs, but rather on genuine companionship, albeit with a little work- and hunting-related exploitation on the side.

人類最好的朋友也是人類最老的朋友。人類和狗之間的友誼大概要追溯到4萬年前——比任何其他動物的馴化都要早。和後來的很多馴化不同,人類對狗的馴化並非基於其想吃動物或者想吃一些相關產品(比如牛奶或雞蛋)的慾望,而是建立在二者真正的友誼之上,雖説其中牽涉到一絲與工作和狩獵相關的剝削。

How this partnership got going, though, is debated. In particular, unlike other domestications, which involved groups of people who had taken up farming, the domestication of the wolves that became dogs happened while all human beings were still hunter-gatherers. The two species were, in other words, competitors. Yet they managed to become soul mates.

不過,這段友誼是如何發展起來的?這一問題仍存爭議。尤其是,其他動物的馴化和一羣開始從事農業的人相關,狗則不同,狗的馴化是在所有人類仍以狩獵採集為生的時期從狼的馴化開始的。換句話説,人類和狗本是競爭對手,最後卻成了靈魂伴侶。

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One popular theory is that the wolves which became dogs acted as rubbish-disposal agents for groups of people, by eating their waste, possibly including their faeces. That, though, would be a service more useful to settled farmers than mobile hunter-gatherers. As she writes in Scientific Reports, however, Maria Lahtinen of the Finnish Museum of Natural History thinks she might have the answer as to how wolves and people squared the competitive circle while both species were still hunters. It was, she and her colleagues suggest, simply a matter of surplus calories.

一種比較普遍的説法是:變成狗的狼充當了部分人的垃圾處理員這一角色,吃人類的排泄物,可能還包括他們的糞便。不過,比起居無定所的狩獵採集者,垃圾處理這一服務對有固定住所的農民用處更大。然而,來自芬蘭自然歷史博物館的瑪麗亞·拉赫蒂寧在《科學報告》中寫道,她或許知道在狼和人類都是捕獵者時這一競爭循環是如何被打破的,她和她的同事們認為純粹就是卡路里過剩問題。

The archaeological evidence suggests that wolves were domesticated in woodlands fringing the ice sheets of the last ice age, since that is where almost all Palaeolithic dog remains have been found. Dr Lahtinen calculates that, given the large size of prey animals in this environment, and humans' need to eat a balanced diet with plenty of plant matter in it as well as flesh, there would have been a lot of surplus meat around from kills. What better way to use some of it than to feed a few wolf cubs to provide entertainment and companionship? And thus, she suggests, were dogs born.

考古證據表明,狼是在上一個冰河時代在冰原邊緣的林地被馴養的,因為幾乎所有舊石器時代的狗的遺骸都是在那裏被發現的。拉赫蒂寧博士計算出,人類需要均衡飲食,既要攝取大量的植物也要攝取大量的肉類,考慮到這種環境下獵物的龐大體型,那麼人類在捕殺獵物後周圍就會有大量剩肉,還有什麼能比喂幾隻小狼來娛樂和陪伴的更好的辦法呢?她認為狗就是這樣誕生的。

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重點單詞   查看全部解釋    
settled ['setld]

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adj. 固定的;穩定的 v. 解決;定居(settle

 
competitive [kəm'petitiv]

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adj. 競爭的,比賽的

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albeit [ɔ:l'bi:it]

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conj. 即使;雖然

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consume [kən'sju:m]

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v. 消耗,花費,揮霍

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circle ['sə:kl]

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n. 圈子,圓周,循環
v. 環繞,盤旋,包圍

 
surplus ['sə:pləs]

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adj. 多餘的,過剩的
n. 過剩,剩餘物,

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archaeological [.a:kiə'lɔdʒikəl]

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adj. 考古學的,考古學上的

 
adequate ['ædikwit]

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adj. 足夠的,適當的,能勝任的

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exploitation [.eksplɔi'teiʃən]

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n. 開發,開採,利用

 
environment [in'vaiərənmənt]

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n. 環境,外界

 

關鍵字: 經濟學人 馴化

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