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科学美国人60秒:喜马拉雅雪人到底是什么

所属教程:科学美国人60秒科学系列 更新:12-18
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Yeti Claims Don't Bear Up

喜马拉雅雪人到底是什么

The Yeti. Also known as the abominable snowman. It’s a legendary primate some people believe exists in the Himalayas and adjacent freezing lands. But what do you get when you use modern DNA techniques to analyze bodily samples allegedly left by yetis? Well, eight times out of nine, you wind up with the genetic signature of your non-abominable neighborhood bear.

雪人。也称为喜马拉雅雪人。它是一种传奇的灵长类动物,人们相信它存在于喜马拉雅山以及附近的地区。但是,当你使用现代DNA技术来分析被雪人留下的身体样本时,你获得了什么?十之八九,最终得到的结果是并不令人讨厌的熊的遗传特征。

These unmysterious results are revealed in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

这些神秘的结果发表在《英国皇家学会学报B》上。

This new study is not the first to examine DNA extracted from samples allegedly derived from yetis. Analysis of short DNA fragments from a pair of samples collected in India and Bhutan matched that of an ancient polar bear bone. That 2014 finding raised the possibility that the abominable snowman could actually be a previously unrecognized bear species—or even some sort of hybrid brown bear-polar bear that wanders the Tibetan plateau.

这项新的研究并不是首次检验从“雪人”中提取的DNA。从印度和不丹收集的一对样本中提取的短DNA片段与古代北极熊骨的分析结果相吻合。2014年的发现提出了一种可能性,那就是喜马拉雅雪人实际上是一种以前从未被确认过的熊类——或者甚至是在青藏高原游荡的某种杂交的棕熊。

In the current study, researchers conducted a more comprehensive comparison of DNA from 24 samples, including nine that supposedly came from yetis. These specimens, collected from the field or borrowed from museums, included bits of hair, bone, skin and scat.

目前的研究中,研究人员对24个样本中的DNA进行了较为全面的比对,其中9个样本可能来自雪人。这些标本是从野外采集或者从博物馆中借来的,包括头发、骨头、皮肤和粪便。

Eight of the nine yeti samples were identified as actually coming from the Asian black bears, Himalayan brown bears and Tibetan brown bears that call this remote region home. But what about that ninth sample? Yeah, it was from a dog. The abominable Fido, maybe.

结果发现这9个雪人样本中,有8个样本来自亚洲黑熊、喜马拉雅棕熊以及将这个偏远地区称之为“家”的西藏棕熊。但是那第9个样本呢?是啊,是来自一只狗,可能是只可恶的狗。

On the serious side, the analysis did address a mystery of a more scientific nature regarding the evolution of these local bear populations. The results suggest that Himalayan brown bears belong to a distinct evolutionary lineage that diverged from the other bears during the greatest of earth’s ice ages.

严肃的说,这项研究确实解决了关于当地熊种群进化这个更科学的谜团。研究结果表明,在地球上最大的冰河时期,喜马拉雅棕熊属于一种独特的进化谱系,与其他熊类不同。

Cut off by the spread of glaciers, these bears have been keeping to themselves for more than 650,000 years. That period of isolation has rendered them rare and elusive—but still very real. Which we cannot say about the abominable snowman. At least not yeti.

由于冰川各自漂流,这些熊自己独来独往65万多年了。那段孤独的时期让它们变得罕有而难以捉摸——但是仍然非常真实。对于喜马拉雅雪人我们不能说什么。至少不能再说雪人了。

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