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飓风是一场物竞天择的实验 某些物种自带生存优势

kira86 于2018-09-14发布 l 已有人阅读

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Hurricane Is a Natural Selection Experiment

飓风是一场物竞天择进化实验

At about 7:30 P.M. on September 7, 2017, Hurricane Irma reached the Turks and Caicos Islands. By the next morning, the neighborhood called Blue Hill was gone. And on South Caicos Island, 75 percent of rooftops were obliterated. Two weeks later, Hurricane Maria followed in Irma's destructive footsteps.

2017年9月7日晚7:30分,飓风“厄玛”登陆特克斯和凯科斯群岛。第二天早上,叫做“蓝山”的街区就此消失。而在南凯科斯岛,75%的屋顶被掀掉。两周后,飓风“玛丽亚”紧随“厄玛”的破坏脚步而来。

And Harvard University biologist Colin Donihue happened to be there a few days before the hurricanes blew through.

哈佛大学的生物学家科林·唐尼休在飓风来袭的前几天正好就在该群岛上。

The Turks and Caicos islands is home to a couple of different endemic species of lizard, that's lizards that are only found there. We were interested in one in particular, called Anolis scriptus, the Turks and Caicos anole.

“特克斯和凯科斯群岛,是几种地方特有蜥蜴的家园,这些蜥蜴物种仅在那里才有。我们对其中一种被称为“安乐蜥属”的特克斯和凯科斯变色龙尤其感兴趣。

The mission of that first expedition, before the two hurricanes, was to assay the lizard population in anticipation of a program to eradicate the islands of invasive rats - which threaten the lizards. This work included taking detailed measurements of the bodies of lizards they trapped and released.

在两场飓风之前的首次探查任务,是预期在一个消灭对蜥蜴有威胁的攻击性鼠类项目中,对蜥蜴种群进行分析。该项工作包括,对他们捕获并释放的蜥蜴的身体进行详细的测量。

The researchers intended to return several years later, after the rats were gone, to re-assess the lizards. But that plan changed.

研究人员打算在几年之后鼠类消失后,再回来对蜥蜴进行重新评估。但这个计划变了。

We realized after the hurricanes had come through that we had a really serendipitous opportunity to test this question of whether hurricanes can act as agents of natural selection on wild populations in their path. Now this had never really been asked before, because hurricanes are just really hard to predict...we just happened to be in the right place at the right time to have that baseline data.

“我们意识到飓风过后,我们有一个非常偶然的机会来验证关于“飓风是否能以自己的方式作为野生种群的自然进化代理人”这个问题。由于飓风很难预测,以前也从来没有人问过这个问题,我们只是由于天时地利碰巧得到了这个基线数据。”

Which is why he and his team returned to the archipelago...just six weeks after his first visit.

这就是他和他的团队为何仅在首次访问六周后再次返回这个群岛的原因。

They expected that lizards with longer limbs and larger toe pads would be the ones better able to cling to trees and therefore more likely to survive the storms. And they were almost right. Longer front legs and larger toe pads indeed helped. But shorter hindlimbs were actually better. The results are in the journal Nature.

他们希望那些有着较长四肢、较大脚趾的蜥蜴,能更好地紧抓着树木,因而更有可能在这场风暴中幸存下来。而他们的预想是对的。长前腿、大脚趾确实有帮助,但较短的后肢实际上帮助却更大。该项研究结果发表在《自然》杂志上。

To figure out these counterintuitive findings, the researchers conducted an experiment in a hotel room. They rounded up some lizards, gave them a perch, and used a leaf blower to mimic the effects of high winds. They set up a net to catch any lizards that lost their grip.

为了弄明白这些违反直觉的发现,研究人员在酒店得房间内进行了一项实验。他们围捕一些蜥蜴,给它们一根栖木,然后用鼓风机模拟狂风得效果。他们拉起一张网来接住那些失去抓力得蜥蜴。

As the artificial wind blew, the lizards moved so the perch took most of the air flow. But their hind legs would stick out - and if those rear limbs stuck out too far, they acted as sails.

当人造风吹起来的时候,蜥蜴会移动,因此栖木会吸收大部分的气流。但蜥蜴的后肢会拉伸出来,如果后肢拉伸得够远的话, 它们看起来就像张开的船帆一样。

Eventually those back legs were blown off the perch, and the lizards were just holding on with their front two legs. And they could only hold on like that for so long as the wind speed increased further and further, until they were blown off the perch and into the nets.

“最终那些后腿会被吹离栖木,蜥蜴只能用两条前腿支撑着。随着风速越来越大,它们只能一直这样坚持下去,直到被从栖木上被吹入网中为止。”

So shorter back legs gave a survival advantage. A trait that might be passed on to the next lizard generation.

所以,较短的后腿给了它们一个生存优势。而这种特性可能会遗传给下一代蜥蜴。

(小e英语Jewel翻译,欢迎捉虫!)

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