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科学美国人60秒: 城市土狼的进化有利于勇敢者

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Urban Coyote Evolution Favors the Bold

城市土狼的进化有利于勇敢者

Coyotes are now common residents of many large urban areas. And while it doesn't happen all that often, coyotes are increasingly coming into conflict with people and pets. "They're these mid-sized carnivores, [though] most people see them just as large carnivores.” University of Washington-Tacoma evolutionary biologist Christopher Schell.

土狼现在是许多大城市的普通居民。虽然这种情况并不经常发生,但土狼越来越多地与人和宠物发生冲突。“,尽管大多数人认为它们是大型食肉动物, 但实际上土狼是中等体型的食肉动物。华盛顿大学塔科马分校的进化生物学家Christopher Schell说。

“Being in a city like Los Angeles or Chicago or New York is just mind-boggling and awe-inspiring. In some instances, for a lot of people because they don't know much about the animals, it could be something that generates fear because of misunderstandings."

“住在洛杉矶、芝加哥或纽约这样的城市让人难以置信,令人敬畏。在某些情况下,对很多人来说,他们不太了解动物,这可能是由于误解而产生恐惧造成的。”

Schell wants to understand how coyotes come to feel so comfortable around people—so he can come up with strategies for preventing it. And he suspects it might have something to do with the parenting.

Schell想要了解土狼是如何在与人相处时变得如此自在的,这样他就能想出防止这种情况发生的策略。他怀疑这可能与养育孩子有关。

"Our main goal was to see and test whether or not parents that have extended experience with people and human disturbance get habituated to the point where they transfer that habituation and that fearlessness to their offspring."

“我们的主要目标是观察和测试那些与人类和人类干扰有过长期接触的父母是否已经习惯了这种习惯,并将这种习惯和无畏精神传递给他们的后代。”

Schell and his team focused on eight coyote families living at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Predator Research Facility in Utah. Though captive, they live in large enclosures and lead mostly typical wild lives. Typically the coyotes are fed in such a way as to minimize human contact. But for this experiment, the researchers did something different.

Schell和他的团队主要研究了生活在犹他州美国农业部食肉动物研究机构的8个土狼家庭。虽然是圈养的,但它们生活在大的围栏里,过着典型的野生生活。通常,土狼的进食方式是尽量减少与人类的接触。但是在这个实验中,研究人员做了一些不同的事情。

"Instead of just walking away immediately, we fed them, and then we just stared at them."Turns out that when parents became more fearless around people—that is, they became perfectly happy to eat while people were watching them—their offspring became more fearless as well. And each litter of coyote pups was more fearless than the last. In fact, the most cautious pup from the second litter was bolder than the boldest pup from the first litter!

“我们没有马上走开,而是给它们喂食,然后盯着它们看。”事实证明,当父母变得对周围的人更无所畏惧时——也就是说,当人们看着他们的时候,他们会非常开心地吃东西——他们的后代也会变得更无所畏惧。每一窝土狼幼崽都比上一窝更无所畏惧。事实上,第二胎中最谨慎的小狗比第一胎中最勇敢的小狗更勇敢!

That means that an entire family of coyotes can become completely habituated to humans in just two or three generations. And that's when they get into trouble."Regardless of what type of behavioral phenotype an animal has, it seems like all of the animals, without any selective cost to being bold towards people, are finding out that being bold is an advantage in an urban area."

这意味着整个土狼家族可以在两代或三代之内完全适应人类。这就是他们遇到麻烦的时候。“不管一种动物有什么样的行为表现型,似乎所有的动物都发现,在没有任何选择成本的情况下,对人大胆是一种优势。”

Which means those of us who live in coyote country need to work together to send a signal to coyotes that being bold is a disadvantage. And that starts with doing everything we can to ensure that our yards are as uninviting—and unappetizing—as possible.

这意味着我们这些生活在土狼国家的人需要共同努力,向土狼发出一个信号:勇敢是一种劣势。我们要做的第一件事就是尽我们所能确保我们的院子尽可能地不招人喜欢,不让人开胃。

Urban Coyote Evolution Favors the Bold

Coyotes are now common residents of many large urban areas. And while it doesn't happen all that often, coyotes are increasingly coming into conflict with people and pets. "They're these mid-sized carnivores, [though] most people see them just as large carnivores.” University of Washington-Tacoma evolutionary biologist Christopher Schell.

“Being in a city like Los Angeles or Chicago or New York is just mind-boggling and awe-inspiring. In some instances, for a lot of people because they don't know much about the animals, it could be something that generates fear because of misunderstandings."

Schell wants to understand how coyotes come to feel so comfortable around people—so he can come up with strategies for preventing it. And he suspects it might have something to do with the parenting.

"Our main goal was to see and test whether or not parents that have extended experience with people and human disturbance get habituated to the point where they transfer that habituation and that fearlessness to their offspring."

Schell and his team focused on eight coyote families living at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Predator Research Facility in Utah. Though captive, they live in large enclosures and lead mostly typical wild lives. Typically the coyotes are fed in such a way as to minimize human contact. But for this experiment, the researchers did something different.

"Instead of just walking away immediately, we fed them, and then we just stared at them."Turns out that when parents became more fearless around people—that is, they became perfectly happy to eat while people were watching them—their offspring became more fearless as well. And each litter of coyote pups was more fearless than the last. In fact, the most cautious pup from the second litter was bolder than the boldest pup from the first litter!

That means that an entire family of coyotes can become completely habituated to humans in just two or three generations. And that's when they get into trouble."Regardless of what type of behavioral phenotype an animal has, it seems like all of the animals, without any selective cost to being bold towards people, are finding out that being bold is an advantage in an urban area."

Which means those of us who live in coyote country need to work together to send a signal to coyotes that being bold is a disadvantage. And that starts with doing everything we can to ensure that our yards are as uninviting—and unappetizing—as possible.


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