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科学美国人60秒:白犀牛偷听,知道“谁是谁”

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White Rhinos Eavesdrop to Know Who's Who

白犀牛偷听,知道“谁是谁”

Rhinos have notoriously poor eyesight, so they mostly rely on their noses to understand the world around them. But there’s one interaction in which sound plays a key role. Southern white rhino males can either be dominant or subordinate. And only the dominant males hold and defend territories. New research finds that they eavesdrop on the calls of other males to know who is who.

所周知,犀牛的视力很差,所以它们主要依靠鼻子来了解周围的世界。但在一种互动中声音起着关键作用。雄性南方白犀牛可能占统治地位,也可以是从属的。只有占统治地位的雄性才能控制和保卫领地。新的研究发现,它们会偷听其他雄性的叫声,从而分辨周围的动物。

“We found that contact calls carry information about the dominance status of the males. It means that only by listening to the calls, you can say if the male is territorial or subordinate.”

我们发现,声音传递着雄性的统治地位信息。这意味着,只有通过倾听它们的叫声,你才能判断这个雄性是统治者地者还是从属者。”

Ivana Cinková, a zoologist at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

南非夸祖鲁-纳塔尔大学的动物学家Ivana Cinkova说。

She and her team spent almost two years in South Africa’s Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park recording the social contact and courtship calls of male rhinos. Then they played those calls back to dominant territorial males and watched the responses.

她和团队在南非的hluhluu - imfolozi公园花了近两年的时间记录雄性犀牛的社交和求偶叫声。然后,将这些叫声播放给占统治地位的雄性,并观察它们的反应。

The researchers asked that the rhino calls not be included in this podcast due to the concern that poachers might use the calls to lure rhinos closer. Back to the reactions of the rhinos:

由于担心偷猎者会利用犀牛的叫声来引诱犀牛靠近,研究人员要求不要把犀牛的叫声包括在这个播客中。再回到犀牛的反应:

“They started to search for the intruder the most quickly and spent the longest time searching around for the intruder after the playback of the subordinate call, which was quite surprising.”

“这些雄性犀牛开始以最快的速度搜寻入侵者,并且在回放了下级呼叫后花了最长的时间寻找入侵者,这很令人吃惊。”

Territorial male rhinos hold exclusive breeding opportunities with the female rhinos. Subordinate males could thus be interested in challenging the territorial male for dominance. But dominant males rarely lose their territories to subordinate males, at least while they’re in prime condition. So responding to the challenge call quickly has little cost.

拥有领地的雄性犀牛有与雌性犀牛单独繁殖的机会。因此,处于从属地位的雄性可能对挑战拥有领地的雄性获得统治权感兴趣。但统治地位的雄性很少会把领地拱手让给从属的雄性,至少在它们处于最佳状态时是这样。因此,迅速响应挑战几乎没有成本

But other dominant rhinos theoretically pose a larger risk. So when territorial rhinos heard other dominant males, they oriented toward the direction of the sound. But they took their time responding.

但其他占统治地位的犀牛理论上会带来更大的风险。所以当领土犀牛听到其他占统治地位的雄犀牛的声音时,它们就会转向声音的方向。但花了一些时间来回应。

The researchers think that the rhinos were being careful, waiting to acquire more information before reacting. And most of them did eventually investigate the source of the sound.

研究人员认为,这写雄性犀牛很小心,等待获得更多信息后才做出反应。其中绝大多数甚至确定了声音的来源/

Rhinos are always under a high risk of poaching, so parks and preserves usually keep tabs on every individual rhino they care for. Cinková says that understanding their social dynamics could allow wildlife managers to more effectively manage their rhino herds, which ultimately enables them to better guard and protect the animals from poachers—so that rhinos can keep on calling for a long, long time.

犀牛一直处于被偷猎的高风险之下,因此公园和保护区通常会密切关注他们所照顾的每一头犀牛。Cinkova说,了解犀牛的社会动态可以让野生动物管理者更有效地管理犀牛群,最终能够更好地保护犀牛免受偷猎者的伤害,这样犀牛就可以长时间地呼唤。

White Rhinos Eavesdrop to Know Who's Who

Rhinos have notoriously poor eyesight, so they mostly rely on their noses to understand the world around them. But there’s one interaction in which sound plays a key role. Southern white rhino males can either be dominant or subordinate. And only the dominant males hold and defend territories. New research finds that they eavesdrop on the calls of other males to know who is who.

“We found that contact calls carry information about the dominance status of the males. It means that only by listening to the calls, you can say if the male is territorial or subordinate.”

Ivana Cinková, a zoologist at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

She and her team spent almost two years in South Africa’s Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park recording the social contact and courtship calls of male rhinos. Then they played those calls back to dominant territorial males and watched the responses.

The researchers asked that the rhino calls not be included in this podcast due to the concern that poachers might use the calls to lure rhinos closer. Back to the reactions of the rhinos:

“They started to search for the intruder the most quickly and spent the longest time searching around for the intruder after the playback of the subordinate call, which was quite surprising.”

Territorial male rhinos hold exclusive breeding opportunities with the female rhinos. Subordinate males could thus be interested in challenging the territorial male for dominance. But dominant males rarely lose their territories to subordinate males, at least while they’re in prime condition. So responding to the challenge call quickly has little cost.

But other dominant rhinos theoretically pose a larger risk. So when territorial rhinos heard other dominant males, they oriented toward the direction of the sound. But they took their time responding.

The researchers think that the rhinos were being careful, waiting to acquire more information before reacting. And most of them did eventually investigate the source of the sound.

Rhinos are always under a high risk of poaching, so parks and preserves usually keep tabs on every individual rhino they care for. Cinková says that understanding their social dynamics could allow wildlife managers to more effectively manage their rhino herds, which ultimately enables them to better guard and protect the animals from poachers—so that rhinos can keep on calling for a long, long time.


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