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科学美国人60秒:让暴躁狮子秒变温顺小猫咪的药水

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Karen Hopkin: This is Scientific American’s 60-Second Science. I’m Karen Hopkin.

这里是《科学美国人》的 60 秒科学,我是凯伦·霍普金。

They say that lions are the king of the jungle. But a recent study shows that a single spritz of oxytocin…a hormone known to promote social bonding…renders even the most ornery alpha a total pussycat. The findings appear in the journal iScience.

他们说狮子是丛林之王。但最近的一项研究表明,喷一口催产素——一种已知可以促进社会关系的激素——即使是脾气最暴躁的狮子,也会秒变温顺小猫咪。研究结果发表在 《iScience》杂志上。

Craig Packer: The greatest thing about watching lions is… lions are so openly and extravagantly affectionate with each other.

参观狮子最棒的事情是……狮子之间如此公开和深情地亲热。

Hopkin: Craig Packer, director of the Lion Center at the University of Minnesota. He’s been traveling to the Serengeti since the 1970s to study the social behavior of these big cats.

克雷格·帕克,明尼苏达大学狮子中心主任。自20世纪70年代以来,他一直在塞伦盖蒂平原,研究这些大型猫科动物的社会行为。

Packer: They just rub each other with their foreheads, their chins are in each other’s faces. I mean they’re just really into each other. And then when they calm down and it’s time to go back to sleep…one will flop down and the other will flop on top of it. So it’s very endearing.

它们用额头互相摩擦,把下巴贴在彼此的脸上。我的意思是它们真的很喜欢对方。然后当它们平静下来,就该回去睡觉了……一个会趴下,另一个则伏在这只上面。哎呀,真是讨人喜欢。

Jessica Burkhart: I’ve always loved lions.

我一直很喜欢狮子。

Hopkin: Jessica Burkhart is a grad student in Packer’s pack.

杰西卡·伯克哈特是派克团队的一名研究生。

Burkhart: But what is it about lions that is so different than their closest relative the leopard, and then their next closest the tiger, who are completely solitary?

但是狮子与它们的近亲豹,以及次近亲——完全孤独的老虎有什么不同呢?

Hopkin: And the first thing that came to mind was: oxytocin.

我们首先想到的是催产素。

Packer: They call oxytocin the love hormone. But that sounds like Love Potion Number Nine. I prefer to think of it as the affection hormone. if you have a nice warm hug, that burst of feeling you get, that’s oxytocin. And so the lions would be like a perfect example of a species where you want to see what you can do with the oxytocin.

大家称催产素为爱情荷尔蒙。但这听起来像九号爱情药水。我更愿意将其视为情感激素。如果得到一个温暖的拥抱,你就会得到那种感觉,那就是催产素。所以狮子是一个你想看看催产素能做什么的完美举例。

Hopkin: They conducted the study at a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa….where their first challenge was figuring out how to get the hormone into the lions.

他们在南非的一个野生动物保护区进行了这项研究……在那里,他们的第一个挑战是弄清楚如何将激素注入狮子体内。

Packer: Jessica… surprised me with this perfume sprayer, which I just thought was so ingenious and it worked out really really well.

杰西卡给了我惊喜,他使用了香水喷瓶,我觉得它非常巧妙,而且效果非常好。

Burkhart: It’s like a little glass bottle with a long tip and then there’s a bulb. So I have to pump the bulb and then the tip is about six inches long.

它就像一个小玻璃瓶,有着长长的顶端,灯泡状的底端。所以我必须快速上下摇动灯泡状部分,顶端瓶口大约有6英寸长。

Hopkin: Burkhart would lure a lion over to the enclosure fence by waving a tasty hunk of meat.

伯克哈特会挥舞一块美味的肉,把狮子引诱到围栏边。

Burkhart: Once I hold that meat and the animal’s grabbing it I can just stick it in the fence and into their nostril and spray away. [giggles]

一旦我拿着那块肉,而狮子抓住了它,我就可以把喷瓶卡到栅栏上,把喷瓶顶端伸进它们的鼻孔,然后喷进去。

Hopkin: The cats put up with the nasal invasion…as long as they got their grub. But if Burkhart spritzed a lion after the meat was gone….

只要它们能吃到食物,这些狮子会忍受激素进入鼻腔。但是,如果伯克哈特在肉没了之后喷了一头狮子……

Burkhart: You should see their faces. They go, huh? Like, how dare you take a cheap shot on me. They take it personally! [laughs…] Ah, it’s so funny.

你应该看看它们的表情。他们会吼叫?你怎么敢用卑鄙的手段攻击我。它们会认为这是针对它自己的!啊,太有趣了。

Hopkin: The researchers then assessed oxytocin’s effects in several different behavioral situations. The first was seeing whether the hormone would make a lion less territorial when it comes to a desirable toy or a snack. Normally, lions are pretty protective of their possessions, particularly those that can be eaten.

研究人员随后评估了催产素在几种不同行为情况下的作用。首先是看看这种荷尔蒙是否会使狮子在想要的玩具或零食方面丧失领地意识。通常情况下,狮子会非常保护自己的财物,尤其是那些可以吃的东西。

Burkhart: They’ll growl and they’ll snarl and … they smack and they scratch and they snap. So a lot of times you will just get this sort of reactive behavior where they’re gonna lash out, to be like: Get off!

它们会吼叫,会咆哮,会拍打,会抓挠,会撕咬。很多时候,你会得到这种反应性的行为,它们会猛击,像是在表达: 滚开!

Hopkin: When it came to the toys, oxytocin did help to curb that reactive behavior, allowing other lions to come much closer. But it didn’t do much for their monopolistic attitude toward meals, which Burkhart says was not entirely unexpected.

说到玩具,催产素确实有助于抑制这种反应行为,让其他狮子更接近。但催产素并没有改变它们对食物的独占态度,伯克哈特说这并不完全出乎意料。

Burkhart: With the toy, you know you’re playful, you might be more inclined to having your partners play with you. When you have a food object, it’s a much more primal instinct, so with the food trial, it’s that innate desire to survive that causes this very reactive aggression.

当对象是玩具时,狮子很爱玩,很可能更倾向于让伴侣与其一起玩。当对象是食物时,这更像是一种更原始的本能,所以在食物试验中,是这种与生俱来的生存欲望导致了这种反应性攻击。

Hopkin: Seeing that oxytocin suppressed aggression in one situation, but not the other, actually reassured the researchers that the hormone wasn’t just making the lions totally dopey.

观察到催产素在一种情况下抑制了狮子的攻击性,而在另一种情况下却没有抑制住,这实际上让研究人员放心,这种激素不会让狮子完全麻木。

Burkhart: It doesn’t make your brain completely different, but it’s like drinking your coffee in the morning.

它不会让你的大脑完全不同,就像早上喝咖啡一样。

Hopkin: But if you’re a testosterone-fueled grumpy Gus, it could render you almost delightfully demure.

如果是雄性激素过高、性格暴躁的狮子格斯,这种激素也会让其变得娴静端庄。

Burkhart: Oh my gosh, within minutes of the oxytocin that guy was completely chilled out. And I mean when we were giving him his oxytocin, he was growling, smacking the fence, totally insane, testosterone brain. And then he just completely mellowed out.

我的天,在催产素的作用下,这个家伙几分钟内就完全冷静下来了。我的意思是,当我们给他注射催产素时,他咆哮着,拍打着栅栏,完全疯了,大脑充满男性荷尔蒙。之后,他会完全放松下来。

Hopkin: But even more dramatic was the third test…in which the researchers played an audio recording of an unfamiliar lion’s roar.

更具戏剧性的是第三次测试……研究人员播放了一段陌生的狮子吼叫的录音。

Hopkin: Which can be as unnerving as it sounds.

听起来很令人不安。

Packer: It’s like having a stranger in your bedroom saying I own this place, right?

这就像一个陌生人在你的卧室里说我是这里的主人,对吧?

Hopkin: Now, in the control conditions…in which lions got spritzed with a simple saline solution…about half of them roared in return, maybe 50 or 60 times.

现在,在控制条件下……向狮子喷洒简单的盐水溶液,大约有一半的狮子会咆哮,也许是 50 或 60 次。

Burkhart: That’s about right. So half of the lions are gonna actually roar and the other half are gonna be looking, probably standing behind the guy that’s roaring, and just looking and watching.

差不多是这样。所以有一半的狮子会咆哮,而另一半会看着,可能站在咆哮的狮子后面,只是看着和观察。

Hopkin: But when the lions were dosed with oxytocin…

但是当给狮子喷洒催产素后……

Burkhart: There were zero. I mean, zero. They completely did not roar. That was astounding.

是零。我的意思是,零。它们完全没有咆哮。结果太惊人了。

You could just see this difference in demeanor. They just laid there and they looked, they turned their heads, they were curious and they watched. But they’re not getting up, puffing up, scent marking, and roaring, roaring, roaring.

您可以从行为上看到这种差异。它们只是躺在那里看,它们转转头,即使它们很好奇,但也只是看看。但它们没有站起来,没有弓起身子,没有标记气味,也没有不停地咆哮。

Packer: With the oxytocin it was like, huh, strangers. No big deal. And in some cases it seemed they were more interested in head rubbing with each other rather than worrying about the stranger.

吸入催产素后的狮子内心:嗯,有陌生人?没什么大不了。在某些情况下,它们似乎更感兴趣的是互相揉头,而不是担心什么陌生人。

Hopkin: The results give the team hope that oxytocin could provide a more effective way to introduce new lions into sanctuaries or reserves.

这一结果给团队带来希望,在将新狮子引入保护区时,催产素可以提供一种更有效的方法。

Packer: Because getting animals to become used to and accept strangers in their midst is an enormous challenge.

因为让动物习惯并接受陌生人,对它们来说是一个巨大的挑战。

Hopkin: That would be a big boost for conservation efforts.

这将极大地促进动物保护工作。

Burkhart: And … very key to using oxytocin to actually make a difference in the world.

这是使用催产素来改变世界的关键。

Hopkin: A world with more tolerance and less roaring. It sounds darn near purr-fect.

一个更宽容、更安静的世界。听起来近乎完美。

Hopkin: For Scientific American’s 60-Second Science, I’m Karen Hopkin.

以上是《科学美国人》的 60 秒科学,我是凯伦·霍普金。

Burkhart: So lions will do these sequences where they’re like, roar, roar, uhh, uhh, uhh, and then they do grunts.

狮子会在它们喜欢的地方发出一连串的声音,会像这样,吼叫,吼叫,嗷,嗷,嗷,然后它们会发出咕噜声。

Karen Hopkin: This is Scientific American’s 60-Second Science. I’m Karen Hopkin.

They say that lions are the king of the jungle. But a recent study shows that a single spritz of oxytocin…a hormone known to promote social bonding…renders even the most ornery alpha a total pussycat. The findings appear in the journal iScience.

Craig Packer: The greatest thing about watching lions is… lions are so openly and extravagantly affectionate with each other.

Hopkin: Craig Packer, director of the Lion Center at the University of Minnesota. He’s been traveling to the Serengeti since the 1970s to study the social behavior of these big cats.

Packer: They just rub each other with their foreheads, their chins are in each other’s faces. I mean they’re just really into each other. And then when they calm down and it’s time to go back to sleep…one will flop down and the other will flop on top of it. So it’s very endearing.

Jessica Burkhart: I’ve always loved lions.

Hopkin: Jessica Burkhart is a grad student in Packer’s pack.

Burkhart: But what is it about lions that is so different than their closest relative the leopard, and then their next closest the tiger, who are completely solitary?

Hopkin: And the first thing that came to mind was: oxytocin.

Packer: They call oxytocin the love hormone. But that sounds like Love Potion Number Nine. I prefer to think of it as the affection hormone. if you have a nice warm hug, that burst of feeling you get, that’s oxytocin. And so the lions would be like a perfect example of a species where you want to see what you can do with the oxytocin.

Hopkin: They conducted the study at a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa….where their first challenge was figuring out how to get the hormone into the lions.

Packer: Jessica… surprised me with this perfume sprayer, which I just thought was so ingenious and it worked out really really well.

Burkhart: It’s like a little glass bottle with a long tip and then there’s a bulb. So I have to pump the bulb and then the tip is about six inches long.

Hopkin: Burkhart would lure a lion over to the enclosure fence by waving a tasty hunk of meat.

Burkhart: Once I hold that meat and the animal’s grabbing it I can just stick it in the fence and into their nostril and spray away. [giggles]

Hopkin: The cats put up with the nasal invasion…as long as they got their grub. But if Burkhart spritzed a lion after the meat was gone….

Burkhart: You should see their faces. They go, huh? Like, how dare you take a cheap shot on me. They take it personally! [laughs…] Ah, it’s so funny.

Hopkin: The researchers then assessed oxytocin’s effects in several different behavioral situations. The first was seeing whether the hormone would make a lion less territorial when it comes to a desirable toy or a snack. Normally, lions are pretty protective of their possessions, particularly those that can be eaten.

Burkhart: They’ll growl and they’ll snarl and … they smack and they scratch and they snap. So a lot of times you will just get this sort of reactive behavior where they’re gonna lash out, to be like: Get off!

Hopkin: When it came to the toys, oxytocin did help to curb that reactive behavior, allowing other lions to come much closer. But it didn’t do much for their monopolistic attitude toward meals, which Burkhart says was not entirely unexpected.

Burkhart: With the toy, you know you’re playful, you might be more inclined to having your partners play with you. When you have a food object, it’s a much more primal instinct, so with the food trial, it’s that innate desire to survive that causes this very reactive aggression.

Hopkin: Seeing that oxytocin suppressed aggression in one situation, but not the other, actually reassured the researchers that the hormone wasn’t just making the lions totally dopey.

Burkhart: It doesn’t make your brain completely different, but it’s like drinking your coffee in the morning.

Hopkin: But if you’re a testosterone-fueled grumpy Gus, it could render you almost delightfully demure.

Burkhart: Oh my gosh, within minutes of the oxytocin that guy was completely chilled out. And I mean when we were giving him his oxytocin, he was growling, smacking the fence, totally insane, testosterone brain. And then he just completely mellowed out.

Hopkin: But even more dramatic was the third test…in which the researchers played an audio recording of an unfamiliar lion’s roar.

Hopkin: Which can be as unnerving as it sounds.

Packer: It’s like having a stranger in your bedroom saying I own this place, right?

Hopkin: Now, in the control conditions…in which lions got spritzed with a simple saline solution…about half of them roared in return, maybe 50 or 60 times.

Burkhart: That’s about right. So half of the lions are gonna actually roar and the other half are gonna be looking, probably standing behind the guy that’s roaring, and just looking and watching.

Hopkin: But when the lions were dosed with oxytocin…

Burkhart: There were zero. I mean, zero. They completely did not roar. That was astounding.

You could just see this difference in demeanor. They just laid there and they looked, they turned their heads, they were curious and they watched. But they’re not getting up, puffing up, scent marking, and roaring, roaring, roaring.

Packer: With the oxytocin it was like, huh, strangers. No big deal. And in some cases it seemed they were more interested in head rubbing with each other rather than worrying about the stranger.

Hopkin: The results give the team hope that oxytocin could provide a more effective way to introduce new lions into sanctuaries or reserves.

Packer: Because getting animals to become used to and accept strangers in their midst is an enormous challenge.

Hopkin: That would be a big boost for conservation efforts.

Burkhart: And … very key to using oxytocin to actually make a difference in the world.

Hopkin: A world with more tolerance and less roaring. It sounds darn near purr-fect.

Hopkin: For Scientific American’s 60-Second Science, I’m Karen Hopkin.

Burkhart: So lions will do these sequences where they’re like, roar, roar, uhh, uhh, uhh, and then they do grunts.


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