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从猫的角度看世界变迁 – 译学馆
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从猫的角度看世界变迁

The history of the world according to cats - Eva-Maria Geigl

“在古代 猫被当作神来崇拜 他们没有忘记这一点” – Terry Pratchett
“In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.” – Terry Pratchett
1941年5月27日
On May 27th, 1941,
德国的俾斯麦号战列舰在一场激烈的交火中沉没
the German battleship Bismarck sank in a fierce firefight,
2200人中只有118名船员存活
leaving only 118 of her 2,200 crew members alive.
但当英国驱逐舰来接战俘时
But when a British destroyer came to collect the prisoners,
他们发现了一位意想不到的幸存者:
they found an unexpected survivor –
一只黑白相间的猫咪抓着漂浮的木板
a black and white cat clinging to a floating plank.
接下来的几个月 这只猫在舰上抓老鼠 鼓舞了英国人的士气
For the next several months this cat hunted rats and raised British morale –
直到突然有一发鱼雷击碎了船体 舰沉没了
until a sudden torpedo strike shattered the hull and sank the ship.
但不可思议的是 猫没事儿
But, miraculously, not the cat.
它被戏称为永不沉没的Sam
Nicknamed Unsinkable Sam,
在从贝尔法斯特水手之家退休之前
he rode to Gibraltar with the rescued crew
他与被救的船员漂游到直布罗陀海峡
and served as a ship cat on three more vessels –
并在另外三艘船担任船猫 – 其中一艘也沉没了
one of which also sank – before retiring to the Belfast Home for Sailors.
也许很多人认为猫不是有用的水手
Many may not think of cats as serviceable sailors,
或是任何形式的合作伙伴
or cooperative companions of any kind.
但是猫咪和人类一起生活了几千年了
But cats have been working alongside humans for thousands of years –
彼此之间互相帮助
helping us just as often as we help them.
所以这些独居的生物
So how did these solitary creatures go
是如何从野蛮的捕食者变成海军军官
from wild predator to naval officer
又变成沙发伙伴的呢?
to sofa sidekick?
现代家猫的驯养
The domestication of the modern house cat
可以追溯到
can be traced back to more
一万多年前新月沃土地带的
than 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent,
新石器时期
at the start of the Neolithic era.
人们当时在学习让自然屈服于他们的意志
People were learning to bend nature to their will,
生产出的食物远超当时农民所需
producing much more food than farmers could eat at one time.
这些新石器时代的农民把多余的谷物 储存在大坑
These Neolithic farmers stored their excess grain in large pits and short,
和短陶土筒仓里
clay silos.
但这些储备的食物吸引了成群的啮齿动物
But these stores of food attracted hordes of rodents,
以及它们的捕食者 – 非洲野猫 –
as well as their predator, Felis silvestris lybica –
这种野猫遍布北非和西南亚
the wildcat found across North Africa and Southwest Asia.
这种野猫是迅速凶猛的食肉猎手
These wildcats were fast, fierce, carnivorous hunters.
它们的大小和外形
And they were remarkably similar
与如今的家猫非常相似
in size and appearance to today’s domestic cats.
主要的区别在于古代的野猫肌肉发达
The main differences being that ancient wildcats were more muscular,
身上有条纹 对其他猫科动物和人类的社交能力较弱
had striped coats, and were less social towards other cats and humans.
大量出没在粮仓里的啮齿动物
The abundance of prey in rodent infested granaries
吸引了这种典型的独居动物
drew in these typically solitary animals.
随着野猫学会了在进餐时间
And as the wildcats learned to tolerate the presence of humans
放任人类和其他猫的出现
and other cats during mealtime,
我们认为农民也同样包容了猫 以换取免费的害虫防治
we think that farmers likewise tolerated the cats in exchange for free pest control.
这种关系是如此有益
The relationship was so beneficial
以至于猫跟着新石器时代的农民
that the cats migrated with Neolithic farmers
从安纳托利亚迁移到欧洲和地中海
from Anatolia into Europe and the Mediterranean.
老鼠是七大洋的主要祸害
Vermin were a major scourge of the seven seas.
它们吃食物 啃咬绳索
They ate provisions and gnawed at lines of rope,
所以猫早就成为了航海必不可少的伙伴
so cats had long since become essential sailing companions.
在环球飞窜的安纳托利亚猫扬帆起航的时候
Around the same time these Anatolian globe trotting cats set sail,
埃及人驯养了他们自己的本地猫
the Egyptians domesticated their own local cats.
家猫因其能够捕捉毒蛇
Revered for their ability to dispatch venomous snakes,
捕捉鸟类和老鼠而备受尊敬
catch birds, and kill rats,
家猫成为埃及宗教文化的重要组成部分
domestic cats became important to Egyptian religious culture.
它们在壁画 象形文字 雕像 甚至坟墓中获得永生
They gained immortality in frescos, hieroglyphs, statues, and even tombs,
和它们的主人一起木乃伊化
mummified alongside their owners.
埃及的船猫在尼罗河上巡航
Egyptian ship cats cruised the Nile,
在海湾抓毒蛇
holding poisonous river snakes at bay.
从船上毕业后
And after graduating to larger vessels,
它们也开始从一个港口转移到另一个港口
they too began to migrate from port to port.
在罗马帝国时期
During the time of the Roman Empire,
往返于印度和埃及之间的船只
ships traveling between India and Egypt
承载着中亚奥娜塔野猫的血统
carried the lineage of the central Asian wildcat F. s. ornata.
几个世纪以后 在中世纪
Centuries later, in the Middle Ages,
埃及猫乘坐海盗船
Egyptian cats voyaged up to the Baltic Sea
航行到波罗的海
on the ships of Viking seafarers.
近东部和北非的野猫
And both the Near Eastern and North African wildcats
– 此时可能已被驯服 –
– probably tamed at this point —
继续穿越欧洲
continued to travel across Europe,
最终启航前往澳大利亚和美洲
eventually setting sail for Australia and the Americas.
如今 大多数家猫都有
Today, most house cats have descended
近东或埃及非洲野猫的血统
from either the Near Eastern or the Egyptian lineage of F. s.lybica.
但是仔细分析
But close analysis
现代猫的基因组和斑纹
of the genomes and coat patterns of modern cats
这告诉我们
tells us that unlike dogs,
与经历了几个世纪人工选择的狗不同
which have undergone centuries of selective breeding,
现代猫在基因上与古代猫非常相似
modern cats are genetically very similar to ancient cats.
除了让它们变得更加社会化和温顺
And apart from making them more social and docile,
我们几乎没有改变它们的自然行为
we’ve done little to alter their natural behaviors.
换句话说 现在的猫或多或少和以前一样:野生动物
In other words, cats today are more or less as they’ve always been: Wild animals.
凶猛的猎手 不把我们当作它们的守护者的生物
Fierce hunters. Creatures that don’t see us as their keepers.
考虑到我们在一起的悠久历史 它们也许没错
And given our long history together, they might not be wrong.
如果你和我们一样喜欢猫咪
If you love cats as much as we do,
看这些课程来了解更多关于猫朋友的趣事吧
check out this lessons for more fun facts on our feline friends.

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从猫的角度看世界变迁

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