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科学美国人60秒:蜜蜂:左还是右,我喜欢我选择

所属教程:科学美国人60秒科学系列 更新:11-29
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Even without Hands Honeybees Show Handedness

蜜蜂:左还是右,我喜欢我选择

Honeybees. They have a difficult task. First, they have to find food. Then they have to return to the hive to tell their compatriots where to find it. The bees have to fly back and forth between the hive and their food, over and over again. And they need to deal with whatever obstacles lie along their flight paths.

蜜蜂,身负重任。首先,他们必须寻找食物。然后它们得回到蜂巢告诉同胞们去哪寻找食物。蜜蜂不得不来来回回往返于蜂巢和食物之间。同时他们还得处理飞行路线上的所有障碍。

"Honeybees face a lot of challenge in choosing efficient foraging routes through dense environments. And we basically want to study how they choose effective routes…the safest and least energy-expending routes."

蜜蜂在密集的环境中选择高效的觅食路线会面临很多困难。我们主要想研究他们是如何选择高效的路线……最安全以及能耗最低的路线。

Marielle Ong, a researcher at the University of Queensland in Australia. To track the insects’ navigation, she and her team set up tiny obstacle courses for more than a hundred honeybees.

Marielle Ong,是澳大利亚昆士兰大学的研究员。为了跟踪蜜蜂的飞行路线,她和研究团队在100只蜜蜂的飞行路线上设置了小型障碍。

Along the way, the bees were forced to fly through one or the other of two openings of different sizes. And as a group, the bees usually flew through the wider opening, which makes sense. Less chances of slamming their tiny bee bodies into a wall.

在飞行过程中,有两个不同大小的开口,蜜蜂必须从其中一个飞过。蜜蜂群体通常会从大的开口飞过,这是有道理的。这样它们小小身体撞到墙上的几率就会降低。

But things got more interesting when Ong looked at the decisions made by individual bees, one by one.

但是当看到单个蜜蜂,一个一个的小蜜蜂所采取的决策时,事情变得有趣了。

“We found that 55 percent had no biases, and the rest of the 45 percent was a split between left-handed bees and right-handed bees."

我们发现55%的蜜蜂会一视同仁,但是剩余45%的蜜蜂产生的分歧是左撇子和右撇子之间的差异。

In other words, some honeybees have a sidedness. They obviously don’t have hands, but let’s say they’re either right-handed or left-handed. So, for example, a right-handed bee would prefer to navigate the cramped right-side opening in the obstacle than go through the left-side hole, even though it was larger and safer. Sometimes, the handed bees would even land and walk through the smaller opening, just so they could use their preferred side.

换而言之,一些蜜蜂有偏向性。很显然,它们没有手,但是我们暂且说它们是左撇子或者右撇子吧。例如,尽管左边的开口更大更安全,但是右撇子蜜蜂会狭窄的左边开口。有时候,右撇子蜜蜂甚至会着陆走过较小的开口,仅仅因为他们喜欢右边。

These biases apparently help the members of large swarms navigate through a complex environment without crashing into each other. If all bees were right handed, it would take a long time for the entire group to pass through a small opening, such as a hive entrance. But by having a range of side biases, the entire swarm can move more quickly when it encounters an obstacle.

这些偏好,很显然会帮助大群蜜蜂在复杂的环境中飞行,但是又不会相互碰撞。如果所有的蜜蜂都喜欢右侧,那么蜜蜂群体通过一个小的开口会耗费很长的时间,例如蜂巢入口。但是,由于蜜蜂们喜欢不同的方向,当遇到障碍时,蜜蜂群就可以快速移动。

The research is in the journal PLOS One.

该研究结果发表在《公共科学图书馆》期刊上。

Ong thinks that one day engineers could apply this finding. They could design robotic drone swarms to negotiate obstacles more efficiently. They could even program self-driving cars to operate less like a chaotic assortment of humans and more like…an orderly group of honeybees.

Ong认为,未来工程师可以应用这一发现。他们可以设计无人驾驶机,以有效协调障碍。甚至可以调控自助驾驶车,使车运行更像有序的蜜蜂群而不是嘈杂混乱的人群。

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