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科学美国人60秒: 有些狼崽显示出迷人天分

所属教程:科学美国人60秒科学系列 更新:01-27
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Some Wolf Pups Show Innate Fetching Talent

有些狼崽显示出迷人天分

It may be one of the doggone doggiest things a doggy can do.[Sound of a dog running and dropping a stick]Chasing down a stick or a ball and then bringing it back.

这可能是狗狗能做的最可爱的事情了。(狗跑着扔棍子的声音)追逐棍子或球,然后把它带回来。

But when it comes to playing fetch, perhaps the apple doesn’t fall all that far from the evolutionary tree. Because a new study shows that some wolf pups demonstrate the same innate fetching skill—a finding that suggests that an ability to playfully interact with people might have been around in ancient wolves before they transitioned into domesticated dogs some 15,000 years ago. The work is in the journal iScience.

但说到捡球,也许物种进化并没有分东离西。因为一项新的研究表明,一些狼幼仔也表现出了同样天生的抓取技能——这一发现表明,在15000年前,在狼转变为家犬之前,它们就已经拥有了与人开玩笑的能力。这项研究发表在《iScience》杂志上。

Researchers were interested in understanding how domestication affected canine behavior. So they raised several litters of both wolf and dog puppies and ran the little furballs through a standard series of behavioral tests.In one of those tests, a “puppy assessor”—someone the animals never before met—would toss a tennis ball across the room and encourage the pup to retrieve it.

研究人员对驯化如何影响犬类行为很感兴趣。因此,他们同时饲养了几窝狼和狗的幼犬,并对这些幼犬进行了一系列标准的行为测试。在其中一项测试中,一个“小狗评估员”——一个动物们从未见过的人——会把一个网球扔过房间,并鼓励小狗把它捡起来。

Wolf pups in the first two litters tested showed little interest in playing ball. But three of the six pups in the third litter caught on quickly. Two wolves named Elvis and Lenny brought the ball back in two out of three throws. While the intrepid little Sting knocked it out of the park—and carried the ball back all three times.

前两窝接受测试的狼崽对打球兴趣不大。但第三窝的6只幼崽中有3只很快就适应了。两只狼埃尔维斯和莱尼在三次投球中两次将球带回。而勇敢的小刺把球踢出了场地,三次都把球带了回来。

These results were actually unexpected. The researchers had thought that the ability to socially engage with unfamiliar humans was something that likely arose after dogs were domesticated. The fact that a few of the wolf pups were up for some fun suggests that the potential for a connection between canines and people could have been present from the get-go. Giving some wolves a leg up—or maybe even multiple legs up—in becoming our best friends.

这些结果实际上是出乎意料的。研究人员曾认为,与不熟悉的人进行社交的能力可能是狗被驯化后产生的。事实上,一些小狼崽是为了好玩,这表明狗和人之间的联系可能从一开始就存在。帮助一些狼成为我们最好的朋友。

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