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为什么动物们会形成群体? – 译学馆
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为什么动物们会形成群体?

Why do animals form swarms? - Maria R. D'Orsogna

“蚂蚁不聪明 蚁群才聪明”
“Ants aren’t smart,Ant colonies are.”
“成群结队”
SWARMS
当沙漠蝗虫吃饱时 它们是独立的生物
When desert locusts are well fed, they’re solitary creatures.
但当食物短缺时
But when food becomes scarce, hungry,
饥饿而绝望的沙漠蝗虫就会成群地横扫
desperate locusts crowd onto small patches of land
仍能找到吃的东西的地方
where they can still find something to eat.
不同蝗虫后肢之间的接触
Contact between different locusts’ hind legs
就会发生大量的
set off a slew of reactions
改变它们外形和行为的反应
that change their appearance and behavior.
现在 它们会去寻找同伴 而不是互相躲避
Now, instead of shunning their peers, they seek each other out.
蝗虫最终开始行进
The locusts eventually start marching and
然后大规模地飞行
then fly away in large numbers
寻找更佳的栖息地
seeking a better habitat.
这些巨大的群体可能包含数百万的昆虫
These gigantic swarms can host millions of insects
可以飞行数千英里 肆虐植被和庄稼
and travel thousands of miles, devastating vegetation and crops.
它们彼此离得很近 又不太近
They stay close to each other, but not too close,
否则就可能被饥饿的同伴吃掉
or they might get eaten by their hungry neighbors.
当许多独立的生物体 如蝗虫 细菌
When many individual organisms, like locusts, bacteria,
凤尾鱼或蝙蝠
anchovies, or bats,
聚集到一起并作为步调一致的整体行动时
come together and move as one coordinated entity,
就叫“成群结队”
that’s a swarm.
从几只鸟到几亿只昆虫
From a handful of birds to billions of insects,
群体可以是任何规模
swarms can be almost any size.
但它们的共同点是 没有领头的
But what they have in common is that there’s no leader.
群体中的个体只和最近的几个同伴互动
Members of the swarm interact only with their nearest neighbors
或是通过间接性信号互动
or through indirect cues.
每个个体都遵循着简单的规则 如:
Each individual follows simple rules:
和周围的同伴保持前进方向一致
Travel in the same direction as those around you,
靠近些 并且避免碰撞
stay close, and avoid collisions.
跟着这样的群体行动有很多好处
There are many benefits to traveling in a group like this.
小猎物通过聚集形成的群体
Small prey may fool predators by assembling into a swarm
看起来像更大的生物 来迷惑捕食者
that looks like a much bigger organism.
聚集成一个大的整体也能降低
And congregating in a large group reduces the chance
其中任一个体被捉住的可能
that any single individual will be captured.
朝着同伴前进的方向前进
Moving in the same direction as your neighbors
能分担风和水的阻力 节约能量
saves energy by sharing the effort of fighting wind or water resistance.
甚至 成群结队时也更容易找到配偶
It may even be easier to find a mate in a swarm.
“成群结队”也能让许多动物
Swarming can also allow groups of animals
完成单独个体无法完成的任务
to accomplish tasks they couldn’t do individually.
当数百个或数百万个生物体遵循这些规律时
When hundreds or millions or organisms follow the same simple rules,
就有可能出现被称为“群体智慧”的复杂行为
sophisticated behavior called swarm intelligence may arise.
一只蚂蚁做不了什么事
A single ant can’t do much on its own,
但一支蚁群却能解决复杂的问题
but an ant colony can solve complex problems,
比如筑巢 找到通往食物的最短路径
like building a nest and finding the shortest path to a food source.
但偶尔 也会出现差错
But sometimes, things can go wrong.
比如在群体中 疾病传播的也更容易
In a crowd, diseases spread more easily,
食物匮乏时 有些成群的生物或许会开始吃同类
and some swarming organisms may start eating each other if food is scarce.
甚至群体的好处中的某些 如更有效的定位
Even some of the benefits of swarms, like more efficient navigation,
也会产生灾难性的后果
can have catastrophic consequences.
“行军蚁”就是一个例子
Army ants are one example.
它们会排出一种被称为“外激素”的化学物
They lay down chemicals called pheromones
这种化学物会指引同伴追随它们的踪迹
which signal their neighbors to follow the trail.
如果领头的是朝着食物去的
This is good if the head of the group is marching
那还好
towards a food source.
但有时 前方的蚂蚁会偏离正轨
But occasionally the ants in the front can veer off course.
然后整个蚁群都会
The whole swarm can get caught
跟着外激素的踪迹不停地转圈圈
in a loop following the pheromone trail
直到精疲力竭而亡
until they die of exhaustion.
人类尽管是社会性动物 但却是众所周知的利己主义者
Humans are notoriously individualistic,though social animals.
但我们能从这种以“群体”为基础的结构中学到什么吗
But is there anything we can learn from collective swarm-based organization?
谈及技术 这个问题的答案是肯定的
When it comes to technology, the answer is definitely yes.
蝙蝠能启发无人机怎样在有效的空间内导航而不致撞毁
Bats can teach drones how to navigate confined spaces without colliding,
鱼类可以帮助设计软件 使驾驶过程更为安全
fish can help design software for safer driving,
昆虫正在启发机器人团队
and insects are inspiring robot teams
在搜救任务中发挥作用
that can assist search and rescue missions.
而人类的群体或许更复杂
For swarms of humans, it’s perhaps more complicated
要倚赖人的动机和领导才能
and depends on the motives and leadership.
人类的群体行为有时可能会表现为毁灭性的暴行
Swarm behavior in human populations can sometimes manifest as a destructive mob.
但合作的行为也可以实现众包的 科学性的突破
But collective action can also produce a crowd-sourced scientific breakthrough
一种艺术表现 或一次和平的全球性革命
an artistic expression, or a peaceful global revolution.
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蝙蝠群,鱼群,蝗虫群,为何它们都是成群结队?

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视频来源

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