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裸鼹鼠是地球上最奇怪的哺乳动物吗? – 译学馆
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裸鼹鼠是地球上最奇怪的哺乳动物吗?

Are naked mole rats the strangest mammals? - Thomas Park

哪种哺乳动物拥有昆虫般的社会生活
What mammal hasthe social life of an insect,
爬行动物的冷血无情
the cold-bloodedness of a reptile,
以及植物一样的新陈代谢?
and the metabolism of a plant?
秃头的青面獠牙的裸鼹鼠 可能不太好看
Bald and buck-toothed, naked mole ratsmay not be pretty,
但是它们很特别
but they’re extraordinary.
拥有30年的寿命
With a lifespan of 30 years,
它们奇特的特佂经过上百万年的进化
their peculiar traits have evolvedover millions of years
使它们特别适合在恶劣的环境下生存
to make them uniquely suitedto survive harsh conditions,
尤其在长期缺氧的环境下
especially long periods without oxygen.
在东非的沙漠里 裸鼹鼠以根茎为食
In the deserts of East Africa, naked mole rats feed on root vegetables.
它们利用能够独立移动的牙齿来挖掘根茎 如筷子一般
They dig for the roots with teeth that can move independently, like chopsticks.
但即便有这些特殊的牙齿
But even with these special teeth,
单只裸鼹鼠也没有
a single naked mole rat doesn ’ t stand a chance
找到足够食物的希望
of finding enough food;
根茎很大很有营养 但是分布较远
the roots are large andnutritious, but scattered far and wide.
大量的劳动力才有更大的生存希望
A large workforce hasa much better chance,
所以裸鼹鼠都群居生活
so naked mole rats live in colonies.
和蚂蚁 蜜蜂 白蚁相似 裸鼹鼠会建造巨大的巢穴
Similar to ants, bees, and termites,they build giant nests.
可容纳300只裸鼹鼠
Housing up to 300 mole rats,
这些群居地以复杂的地下隧道系统
these colonies feature complexunderground tunnel systems,
巢室 公共卫生间为特征
nest chambers, and community bathrooms.
和昆虫一样 裸鼹鼠有严格的社会结构
Also like insects, naked mole ratshave a rigid social structure.
占统治地位的女王
The dominant female, the queen,
她选的2-3个雄性裸鼹鼠
and two to three malesthat she chooses,
是群居地里仅有的几个可以拥有后代的裸鼹鼠
are the only naked mole rats in the colony who have babies.
剩下所有的裸鼹鼠
All the other naked mole rats,
无论雄性还是雌性 要么是士兵
male and female, are either soldiers,
保护群居地预防潜在的侵略者
who defend the colony from possible invaders,
要么是工人
or workers.
成队的工人被派遣出去 寻找根茎
Teams of workers are dispatchedto hunt for roots,
它们的劳动所得用于养活整个群居地
and their harvest feeds the whole colony.
在群居地里生活能帮助裸鼹鼠找到足够的食物
Living in a colony helps naked mole ratsfind enough food,
但是当太多的动物生活在同一个地下空间时
but when so many animals live inthe same underground space,
氧气很快会耗尽
oxygen quickly runs out.
哺乳动物需要大量的氧气
Mammals need a lot of oxygen;
我们利用氧气制造能供给
we use it to make the energy that fuels everything
从维持体温 到维持心跳 及自主行动等所有事情的能量
from maintaining our body temperatures to our heartbeats to voluntary movements.
没有氧气的话 我们很快就会死掉
Without oxygen, we quickly die.
事实上没有任何一种哺乳动物
In fact, no other mammal could survivethe oxygen depletion
能在裸鼹鼠群居地缺氧的情况下生存下来
experienced in a naked mole rat colony.
裸鼹鼠能够在低氧环境下存活
Naked mole rats can thrive in low oxygen
部分是因为它们已经放弃了需要大量氧气的
in part because they’ve abandonedone of the body functions
身体功能之一:
that requires the most oxygen:
温度调节
thermoregulation.
大部分哺乳动物是温血的
Most mammals are warm-blooded,
这就意味着它们必须保持均衡的体温
meaning they have to keeptheir body temperature consistent.
而裸鼹鼠不需要那么多的氧气去保持身体恒温 相反
Naked mole rats don’t get enoughoxygen to do this. Instead,
它们是唯一一种
they’re the only mammals
身体温度随所处环境波动的哺乳动物
whose body temperature fluctuateswith their environment,
使它们变得像爬行动物一样冷血
making them cold-blooded, like reptiles.
它们还有一种特别的血红蛋白
They also have a specialtype of hemoglobin,
即血液中输送氧气的分子
the molecule in the bloodthat transports oxygen.
它们的血红蛋白比我们的更能吸附氧气
Their hemoglobin is much stickierfor oxygen than ours
即使血红蛋白很少 也能输送氧气
and can pick oxygen upeven when it’s scarce.
应对真实的缺氧时刻
In response to a real oxygen emergency,
裸鼹鼠会进入假死状态
naked mole rats entera state of suspended animation.
它们停止移动 放慢呼吸 大幅度地降低心率
They stop moving, slow their breathing, and dramatically lower their heart rate.
大大降低了总的能量 所需的氧气 同样如此
This greatly reduces the amount of energy, and therefore oxygen, they need.
同时 它们开始像植物一样代谢果糖
At the same time, they begin to metabolize fructose, like a plant.
果糖是一种不需燃烧氧气就可以制造能量的糖
Fructose is a sugar that can be used to make energy without burning oxygen. Usually,
哺乳动物代谢一种叫做葡萄糖的不同的糖
mammals metabolizea different sugar called glucose
葡萄糖制造的能量比果糖制造的能量多
that makes more energy than fructose,
但果糖只在可获得氧气的情况下起作用
but glucose only works when oxygen ’ s available.
人的大脑和心脏细胞有
Human brain and heart cells have
一些细胞机制来消化果糖
some cellular machinery to use fructose,
但是没有裸鼹鼠的多
but not nearly as much as naked mole rats.
实际上 裸鼹鼠
Naked mole rats are,
是已知的唯一拥有此能力的哺乳动物
in fact, the only mammals known to have this ability.
虽然我们可以希望人类不需要
While we can hope humans won’t ever need
完全生活在地下隧道中
to exclusively livein underground tunnels,
但在很多情况下 我们会受益于较少的氧气消耗
there are many situations where we would benefit from needing less oxygen.
心脏病和其他医疗紧急情况发生时
During heart attacksand other medical emergencies,
人们会因缺氧而死亡 或是面临 严重的器官损伤
people often die or sustain debilitatingorgan damage from oxygen deprivation.
我们能把裸鼹鼠体内的果糖消化过程复制到人体吗?
Could we replicate the naked mole rat ’ s use of the fructose pathway for human health?
经过数百万年进化 昆虫的行为
It took millions of years of evolution to bring the behavior of an insect,
即爬行动物的体温调节才得以出现
the temperature regulation of a reptile,
植物的能量生产
and the energy production of a plant
全都体现在小小的哺乳动物身上
together in one little mammal,
也许 充分的研究之后
but maybe, with enough study,
我们可以复制些裸鼹鼠的野外适应能力
we can replicate just a few of their wild adaptations.

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裸鼹鼠是集昆虫 爬行动物 植物的特质于一体的特殊的哺乳动物

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