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《经济学人》:狗狗,人类最好的朋友

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Human beings and dogs
人类与狗

Man’s best friend
狗,人类最好的朋友

Scientific research throws new light on a very old partnership
科学研究为人狗关系提供新视角

Aug 6th 2011 | from the print edition

Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behaviour Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet.
《狗的心灵世界:狗类行为科学新发展让你更加走进爱犬的内心世界》

By John Bradshaw. Basic Books; 324 pages; $25.99. Published in Britain as “In Defence of Dogs: Why Dogs Need Our Understanding”. Allen Lane; £20. Buy from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk
作者:约翰•布拉德肖;Basic Books出版社出版;324页;售价25.99美元;英国出版名为《为狗辩护:为何狗需要我们的理解?》;Allen lane出版社出版;售价20英镑。本书也可在Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk购得。

THE relationship between people and dogs is unique. Among domesticated animals, only dogs are capable of performing such a wide variety of roles for humans: herding sheep, sniffing out drugs or explosives and being our beloved companions. It is hard to be precise about when the friendship began, but a reasonable guess is that it has been going strong for more than 20,000 years. In the Chauvet cave in the Ardèche region of France, which contains the earliest known cave paintings, there is a 50-metre trail of footprints made by a boy of about ten alongside those of a large canid that appears to be part-wolf, part-dog. The footprints, which have been dated by soot deposited from the torch the child was carrying, are estimated to be about 26,000 years old.

人狗关系可谓独一无二。在各种家畜中,只有狗可为人类担负如此多重任:看护羊群,搜寻毒品、炸药,做我们的挚爱伙伴。人类与狗之间的友情很难精确追根溯源,一种比较合理的说法是2万多年前开始,这种友情就开始逐渐深厚了。法国阿尔代什省的萧维岩洞中保存着迄今为止最早的岩洞壁画,岩洞中有一串50米长的约十岁男孩的脚印,旁边还有一串半狼半狗的大型犬类的脚印。从男孩所持火把掉落的灰尘来看,这些脚印是在约2万6千年前留下的。

The first proto-dogs probably remained fairly isolated from each other for several thousand years. As they became progressively more domesticated they moved with people on large-scale migrations, mixing their genes with other similarly domesticated creatures and becoming increasingly dog-like (and less wolf-like) in the process. For John Bradshaw, a biologist who founded the anthrozoology department at the University of Bristol, having some idea about how dogs got to be dogs is the first stage towards gaining a better understanding of what dogs and people mean to each other. Part of his agenda is to explode the many myths about the closeness of dogs to wolves and the mistakes that this has led to, especially in the training of dogs over the past century or so.

狗最早的祖先们相互之间并无太多交集,这种情况很可能持续了数千年。随着驯化程度越来越高,它们随人类进行大迁移,并同其他驯化的动物进行交配,狗的特征逐渐明显(同样,狼的特征渐趋减弱)。约翰•布拉德是布里斯托尔大学人与动物关系学院的创始人,对这位生物学家来说,了解狗如何演变为狗是更好地研究人类与狗关系的第一步。书中,他想要打破关于狗狼近亲的种种谬论以及由此而导致的错误做法,尤其是过去约一世纪中人类对狗的驯化问题。

重点单词   查看全部解释    
feral ['fiərəl]

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adj. 野生的;凶猛的;[诗歌]阴郁的

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outdated [.aut'deitid]

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adj. 旧式的,落伍的,过时的

 
slightly ['slaitli]

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adv. 些微地,苗条地

 
limited ['limitid]

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adj. 有限的,被限制的
动词limit的过

 
react [ri'ækt]

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vt. 作出反应
vi. 起反应,起作用,反攻

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particular [pə'tikjulə]

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adj. 特殊的,特别的,特定的,挑剔的
n.

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sensitivity [.sensi'tiviti]

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n. 敏感,多愁善感,感受性

 
extremely [iks'tri:mli]

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adv. 极其,非常

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benefit ['benifit]

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n. 利益,津贴,保险金,义卖,义演
vt.

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transition [træn'ziʃən]

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n. 过渡,转变

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