《经济学人》:狗狗,人类最好的朋友
日期:2011-09-09 10:58

(单词翻译:单击)

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。

One idea has governed dog training for far too long, Mr Bradshaw says. Wolf packs are supposedly despotic hierarchies dominated by alpha wolves. Dogs are believed to behave in the same way in their dealings with humans. Thus training a dog effectively becomes a contest for dominance in which there can be only one winner. To achieve this the trainer must use a variety of punishment techniques to gain the dog’s submission to his mastery. Just letting a dog pass through a door before you or stand on the stairs above you is to risk encouraging it to believe that it is getting the upper hand over you and the rest of the household. Mr Bradshaw argues that the theory behind this approach is based on bad and outdated science.

布拉德肖说,长期以来一种观点指导着狗的驯化。一般认为,狼群内部等级森严,头狼具有绝对领导权,狗在与人类相处时,这一点也与狼相同。于是训狗实际就成了一场领导权的竞争,最后只有一个胜者,要么人胜,要么狗胜。为赢得这场竞争,人类必须用各种惩罚手段使狗对自己服服帖帖。例如,若允许狗在你之前进门或上台阶就会让狗觉得自己可凌驾于你和家人之上。布拉德肖认为这种训狗方式背后的指导思想是过时的谬误理论。

Dogs share 99.6% of the same DNA as wolves. That makes dogs closer to wolves than we are to chimps (with which we have about 96% of our DNA in common), but it does not mean that their brains work like those of wolves. Indeed, the outgoing affability of most dogs towards humans and other dogs is in sharp contrast to the mix of fear and aggression with which wolves react to animals from other packs. “Domestication has been a long and complex process,” Mr Bradshaw writes. “Every dog alive today is a product of this transition. What was once another one of the wild social canids, the grey wolf, has been altered radically, to the point that it has become its own unique animal.” If anything, dogs resemble juvenile rather than fully adult canids, a sort of arrested development which accounts for the way they remain dependent on their human owners throughout their lives.

狗和狼的DNA相似度高达99.6%,这样狗与狼的相似度甚至比人与大猩猩还要高(人类与大猩猩的基因相似度为96%)。但这并不意味着狗和狼大脑运作方式相同。实际上,狗对人类和其同类都友好和善,与狼对本群之外的其他动物怀有的恐惧和攻击心理形成鲜明对比。布拉德肖说在书中写道:“驯化是一个漫长复杂的过程,如今每一只狗都是这个过程的产物。比如灰狼曾经是一种野外群居犬科动物,现在已经在这个过程中彻底改变,形成了一种新的独特物种。”如果说狗与犬科动物确有相似性,那么也只是像未成年而非成年犬科动物。这种类似发育停滞的现象可以解释狗为何一生都如此依赖主人。

But what makes the dog-wolf paradigm especially misleading, Mr Bradshaw argues, is that until recently, the studies of wolves were of the wrong wolves in extremely artificial conditions. In the wild, wolf packs tend to be made up of close family members representing up to three generations. The father and mother of the first lot of cubs are the natural leaders of the pack, but the behavioural norm is one of co-operation rather than domination and submission. However, the wolves on which biologists founded their conclusions about dominance hierarchies were animals living in unnaturally constituted groups in captivity. Mr Bradshaw says that feral or “village” dogs, which are much closer to the ancestors of pet dogs than they are to wolves, are highly tolerant of one another and organise themselves entirely differently from either wild or captive wolves.

布拉德肖认为,近来某些研究中的狼都是生活在人工色彩极重的环境中的豢养狼,是不可以作为研究对象的,这让狗狼相似理论变得尤其具有误导性。野生狼群常常以数个家庭为单位,祖孙三代共同生活。第一窝狼崽的父母顺理成章地成为狼群领袖,但狼群之内行为模式是以合作为主的,而非统治与服从。然而生物学家关于狼群等级统治的结论是建立在非自然聚合的豢养狼群之上。布拉德肖说:“同狼相比,野狗或者说土狗与如今宠物狗的祖先关系要近得多,野狗个体之间非常宽容,狗群的组织方式与野生和豢养的狼也完全不同。”

Dogs are not like nicely brought-up wolves, says the author, nor are they much like people despite their extraordinary ability to enter our lives and our hearts. This is not to deny that some dogs are very clever or that they are capable of feeling emotion deeply. But their intelligence is different from ours. The idea that some dogs can understand as many words as a two-year-old child is simply wrong and an inappropriate way of trying to measure canine intellect. Rather, their emotional range is more limited than ours, partly because, with little sense of time, they are trapped almost entirely in the present. Dogs can experience joy, anxiety and anger. But emotions that demand a capacity for self-reflection, such as guilt or jealousy, are almost certainly beyond them, contrary to the convictions of many dog owners.

根据布拉德肖的看法,狗并不是精心调教大的狼,也不怎么像人类——尽管他们能如此走进我们的生活,走进我们的内心。当然不否认有些狗非常聪明,善于体会人类的感情。但狗的智力和我们是不同的。有人说一些狗能理解的词汇数量可以同一个两岁小孩一样多,这种看法根本就是不对的,狗的智力也不能用这种方式衡量。实际上,狗的情感范围相比人类是很有限的,这部分是因为狗没有时间的概念,因此几乎就生活在当前。狗确实能够体会高兴、焦虑和愤怒,但和很多狗主人所想的完全相反,有些情感如内疚或嫉妒等需要自省能力,这些情感是几乎完全在狗的体验能力之外的。

Mr Bradshaw believes that it is difficult for people to empathize with the way in which dogs experience and respond to the world through their extraordinary sense of smell: their sensitivity to odours is between 10,000 and 100,000 times greater than ours. A newly painted room might be torture for a dog; on the other hand, their olfactory ability and their trainability allow dogs to perform almost unimaginable feats, such as smelling the early stages of a cancer long before a normal medical diagnosis would detect it.

布拉德肖觉得,关于狗有一点人们很难理解,即狗靠其灵敏的嗅觉来体验周围世界并作出反应:狗的嗅觉灵敏度是人类的1万到10万倍。让狗呆在新粉刷的房屋里可能对它就是巨大的折磨;另一方面,狗的嗅觉敏锐度和高度可训练性让它们能够做到几乎无法想象的事情,例如早在医学诊断结果出来之前,狗就可以嗅出早期癌症。

The latest scientific research can help dogs and their owners have happier, healthier relationships by encouraging people to understand dogs better. But Mr Bradshaw is also fearful. In particular, he deplores the incestuous narrowing of the gene pool that modern pedigree breeders have brought about. Dogs today are rarely bred for their working abilities (herding, hunting, guarding), but for a very particular type of appearance, which inevitably risks the spread of physical and temperamental abnormalities. Instead, he suggests that dogs be bred for the ideal behavioural traits associated with the role they will actually play. He also worries that the increasing urbanisation of society and the pressures on couples to work long hours are putting dogs under huge strain. He estimates that about 20% of Britain’s 8m dogs and America’s 70m suffer from “separation distress” when their owners leave the house, but argues that sensible training can teach them how to cope.

最新的科学研究鼓励人们去更加了解狗,从而使狗与主人之间的关系更加健康愉快。但布拉德肖也有担忧,他尤其反对现今为保证狗种纯正而让狗近亲繁殖,导致狗的基因库缩小。如今狗种培育很少是注重其为人们做事的能力(如放牧、打猎、看门等),而是为了让其具有特定外形,这不可避免地可能导致一些生理和性情上的畸形现象随繁殖而扩散。布拉德肖认为,狗种培育时应注重保留与其扮演角色相关的优点。他还担心随着城市化发展,人们工作时间增长,狗也会面临巨大压力。据他估计,英国800万和美国7000万只狗中,约有20%在主人离开时表现出“分别忧郁症”症状,不过他认为合理训练会让狗们知道如何应付分别。

"Dog Sense” is neither a manual nor a sentimental account of the joys of dog-ownership. At times its rigorously research-led approach can be slightly heavy going. A few more jolly anecdotes might have leavened the mix. But this is a wonderfully informative, quietly passionate book that will benefit every dog whose owner reads it.

《狗的心灵世界》既非养狗手册亦非养狗之乐的温情系列。书中有的地方引用大量研究结果,读起来可能还有些费劲,如果书中再增加些趣事的话可能会让内容轻松一点。但不管怎样,本书是一本内容充实、充满热情又不失宁静的好书,读读这本书会让你的爱犬幸福无比的。

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重点单词
  • extraordinaryadj. 非凡的,特别的,特派的
  • passionateadj. 热情的,易怒的,激情的
  • resemblevt. 相似,类似,像
  • guiltn. 罪行,内疚
  • reasonableadj. 合理的,适度的,通情达理的
  • outgoingadj. 喜欢外出的,离开的,外向的 n. 外出,开支,
  • approachn. 接近; 途径,方法 v. 靠近,接近,动手处理
  • effectivelyadv. 事实上,有效地
  • tolerantadj. 宽容的,容忍的
  • genen. 基因