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动物世界里有真正的一夫一妻制的吗? – 译学馆
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动物世界里有真正的一夫一妻制的吗?

Are any Animals Truly Monogamous?

单配制——与单个个体交配一段时间的行为,
Monogamy –the practice of mating with a single individual for an extended period of time–isn’t
在动物世界里并不普遍。只有大约3%的哺乳动物是一夫一妻,另外,尽管
that popular in the animal kingdom. Only about 3% of mammals are monogamous, and, although
95%的鸟类联袂成双(至少在一个季节里),父系亲属测试显示
95% of birds pair off (at least for one breeding season), paternity tests have revealed that
鸟类世界充满着欺骗。
the avian world is chock-full of cheaters.
最不忠诚的鸟类可能是壮丽细尾鹩莺:他们结下终身契约,
The least loyal bird species might be the Superb Fairy-wren: they form lifelong bonds
如果你在整个繁殖季节从早到晚地留意一对细尾鹩莺,
and, if you watched a pair of them from morning ’til night for an entire breeding season,
你会认为他们很忠诚。但这只是因为雌性
you’d think they were perfectly faithful. But that’s only because female fairywrens
在黑夜的掩护下偷腥。使用无线电发射机跟踪它们的行为,研究人员
cheat under cover of darkness. Using radio transmitters to track their movements, researchers
发现可孕的雌鸟会去其他领地做黎明前日常的飞行。
discovered that fertile females make daily, pre-dawn flights to other territories. These
这些飞行只会持续约15分钟,但显然这是足够长的时间,DNA测试表明
trips only last about 15 minutes, but apparently that’s more than long enough– DNA tests show
只有25%的鸟宝宝是鸟爸爸亲生。
that just 25% of baby superb fairywrens are their father’s biological children.
因此现代遗传学可能降低了我们对鹦鹉浪漫的想法,但从
So modern genetics might be deflating our romantic notions about lovebirds, but from
生物学的角度来看,单配制而性非单配,也就是
a biological standpoint, social monogamy without sexual monogamy–that is, pairing up with
与一个个体配对却也和其他个体交配,这比绝对的性忠诚更合理。
one individual and then copulating with others on the side–makes a lot more sense than absolute
对于鸟类,配对是一个很好的策略,因为它们的后代需要
sexual loyalty. For birds, pairing up is a good strategy because their young require
大量的护理,而如果它们留下来和帮忙,雄鸟就能提升它们成功繁殖的机会。
a ton of care, so males increase their chances of successful reproduction if they stick around
另一方面,把所有的鸡蛋都放在一个篮子里是一个
and lend a beak. On the other hand, putting all of one’s eggs in a single basket is a
有风险的决定,因此雄鸟将基因放到别的鸟巢里也很合理。
risky proposition, so it also makes sense for males to try and slip some of their genetic
当然,雌鸟没有多个巢,
material into a few other nests if they can. Females, of course, can’t have more than one
但她们会偷偷地去别的鸟巢。
nest, but for their part they can try to sneak in some variety.
偷腥也可能有助于解释在表面上的单配制中,
Cheating might also help explain the otherwise unexpected physical differences between males
雄雌间一些意想不到的外形差异。我们一直有个一致的解释,针对这种存在于非单配制的雄雌
and females in apparently monogamous species. We’ve long had a solid explanation for this kind of male/female
两态性现象:因为如果雄鸟计划和多个雌鸟交配,
dimorphism in explicitly non-monogamous species:because if a male plans to mate with many females,
他需要赢得她们的喜爱和抵御其他追求者。在经过上千世代后,
he needs to win their affection and fend off other suitors. Over thousands of generations,
帮助他成功配对的特征越来越明显,
the traits that help him successfully mate can become more and more pronounced, even
尽管它们没有别的用途。
if they serve absolutely no other purpose.
例如雄性大猩猩——为了在它们族群里独有的交配权相互争斗,
For example, male gorillas–who fight each other for exclusive mating rights with the
他们比雌性大猩猩大很多,而雄性和雌性长臂猿
females in their clan– are much larger than female gorillas, while male and female gibbons,
是单配制,它们大小一样。
which are monogamous, are the same size.
这给我们带来了最喜欢的灵长类动物,人类。男性与女性之间有不可否认的
Which brings us to our favorite primates, homo sapiens. There are undeniable physical
身体差异,但尚不清楚它们是否足够明显去
differences between males and females–but it’s unclear whether they’re pronounced enough
表明我们的祖先像大猩猩一样在眷群中生活,或是
to suggest that our ancestors lived in harems like gorillas or whether our differences stem
像壮丽细尾鹩莺一样,遵守一夫一妻却不贞的制度。
from a monogamous but adulterous society like the superb fairywren’s.
有一件事是明确的:在地球上所有的物种中,一夫一妻制是罕见的,
One thing is clear: among all the species on Earth, monogamy is rare, and sexual monogamy
而性一夫一妻制更罕见。
is rarer.
然而,至少有一个已知的终身忠诚的例子,它的名字
There is, however, at least one known example of perfect, lifelong fidelity, and its name
是奇异双生虫。当这两个幼小的扁虫找到彼此时,他们
is Diplozoon paradoxum. When two of these young flatworms find each other, they literally
融合在一起,看似形成一个有机体,这个不存在通奸的联合持续
fuse together to form what looks like a single organism, and this adultery-free union lasts
它们整个漫长而热情的生活…从鱼腮中吸血。
for their entire long and amorous lives… which they spend sucking blood from fishgills.
一个真正浪漫的依恋!
A truly romantic attachment!

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