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鲸为何唱歌? – 译学馆
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鲸为何唱歌?

Why do whales sing? - Stephanie Sardelis

【启点字幕组】
Light up the world
水下交流具有挑战性
Communicating underwater is challenging.
光线与气味传播不佳 对动物来说 很难去看与闻
Light and odors don’t travel well, so it’s hard for animals to see or smell.
但声音在水中的传播速度比在空气中快4倍
But sound moves about four times faster in water than in air,
所以在这个黑暗的环境中
so in this dark environment,
海洋哺乳动物经常通过发声进行交流
marine mammals often rely on vocalization to communicate.
这就是为何海洋里充满合奏的声音
That’s why a chorus of sounds fills the ocean.
嘀嗒声
Clicks,
噗噗声
pulses,
汽笛声
whistles,
呻吟声
groans,
啵嘤声
boings,
叫喊声
cries,
颤抖声 还有其他叫不出名字的
and trills, to name a few.
但这支水下交响乐最著名的部分是
But the most famous parts of this underwater symphony
世界最大的哺乳动物鲸唤起的旋律或者
are the evocative melodies, or songs, composed by the world’s largest mammals,
歌曲
whales.
鲸之歌是动物王国最复杂的
Whale songs are one of the most sophisticated communication systems
交流系统之一
in the animal kingdom.
目前已知的 只有少数种类会唱歌
Only a few species are known to sing.
蓝鲸【已知世界上最大的鲸】
Blue,
鳍鲸【又叫长须鲸,是已知的第四大鲸】
fin,
北极露脊鲸【又叫弓头鲸,贴近水面时,脊背会浮出来】
bowhead
小须鲸【又叫小鳁鲸,尖嘴鲸,体短粗,头部较小,正面形似等腰三角形。】
minke whales,
当然还有座头鲸【座头源于日语,意指“琵琶”,以其跃出水面姿势、超长的前翅与复杂的叫声而闻名】
and of course humpback whales.
这些都是须鲸类
These are all baleen whales
他们使用毛状鲸须板而非牙齿来诱捕猎物
which use hairy baleen plates instead of teeth to trap their prey.
同时 齿鲸使用回声定位【有牙齿的鲸 抹香鲸、突吻鲸、白暨豚、海豚等都属于这一类别】
Meanwhile, toothed whales do use echolocation,
它们和其他须鲸类一样
and they and other species of baleen whales
发出如叫喊声和汽笛声之类的特殊声音以进行交流
make social sounds, such as cries and whistles, to communicate.
但这些发声缺乏歌曲的复杂性
But those vocalizations lack the complexity of songs.
所以它们是怎么唱歌的呢
So how do they do it?
陆生哺乳动物像人类一样 呼吸时通过使空气在声带中运动
Land mammals like us generate sound by moving air over our vocal chords
从而产生振动
when we exhale, causing them to vibrate.
须鲸类的肺与大型充气器官喉囊之间
Baleen whales have a U-shaped fold of tissue between their lungs
有一种U型褶皱组织
and their large inflatable organs called laryngeal sacs.
我们对此并不确定
We don’t know this for sure
因为根本不可能去观察一个活生生的
because it’s essentially impossible to observe the internal organs
唱着歌的鲸的内脏
of a living, singing whale,
但我们认为 当鲸类唱歌时
but we think that when a whale sings,
喉咙与胸部肌肉收缩
muscular contractions in the throat and chest
将空气从肺部经U型褶皱组织挤压至喉囊
move air from the lungs across the U-fold and into the laryngeal sacs,
引起U形褶皱组织的振动
causing the U-fold to vibrate.
产生的声音在喉囊发生共鸣 就像合唱团在大教堂里唱歌一样
The resulting sound resonates in the sacs like a choir singing in a cathedral
让声音响亮到足以传播几千公里远
making songs loud enough to propagate up to thousands of kilometers away.
鲸不需要呼气来唱歌
Whales don’t have to exhale to sing.
反而是空气循回至肺部
Instead, the air is recycled back into the lungs,
从而再一次发出声音
creating sound once more.
鲸唱歌如此美妙的原因之一是它们的模式
One reason whale songs are so fascinating is their pattern.
诸如呻吟 呼喊 啾啾这类的基本单位[音符]被排编排成乐句
Units, like moans, cries, and chirps are arranged in phrases.
重复的乐句组合成主旋律
Repeated phrases are assembled into themes.
多重主旋律在一种可预测模型里重复 即创作出一支歌曲
Multiple themes repeated in a predictable pattern create a song.
这种分层结构类似于一种语法
This hierarchical structure is a kind of grammar.
鲸之歌的长度极其多样化
Whale songs are extremely variable in duration,
而且鲸可以将之一直重复
and whales can repeat them over and over.
在一次录音中 一头座头鲸唱了22小时
In one recorded session, a humpback whale sang for 22 hours.
那么它们为何这么做呢
And why do they do it?
我们目前尚不了解其确切目的 但我们可以推断
We don’t yet know the exact purpose, but we can speculate.
考虑到唱歌的是雄性鲸 而且它们大多在交配季节唱歌
Given that the singers are males and they mostly sing during the mating season,
所以歌声也许是用来吸引雌性
songs might be used to attract females.
也可能是划分地盘 用来威慑其他雄性
Or perhaps they’re territorial, used to deter other males.
鲸每年都回到同一片觅食与繁殖场地
Whales return to the same feeding and breeding grounds annually,
并且每一个独立群体都有不同的歌曲
and each discrete population has a different song.
随着基本单位或乐句的加入 变换或减少 歌曲随时间进化
Songs evolve over time as units or phrases are added, changed, or dropped.
当来自不同鲸群的雄鲸在听力所及范围内觅食时
And when males from different populations are feeding within earshot,
它们的乐句经常交换
phrases are often exchanged,
可能因为新歌对于繁殖期的雌鲸更有吸引力
maybe because new songs make them more attractive to breeding females.
这是文化传播最快速的例子之一
This is one of the fastest examples of cultural transmission,
习得的行为在一个种群中的
where learned behaviors are passed between unrelated individuals
无关个体间传播
of the same species.
我们可以利用一种叫做水诊器的水下麦克风
We can eavesdrop on these songs using underwater microphones
偷听这些歌曲
called hydrophones.
这可以帮助我们在视线受阻或基因样本稀少时追踪鲸群
These help us track species when sightings or genetic samples are rare.
比如 科学家已经可以
For example, scientists have been able to differentiate
根据难以捉摸的蓝鲸们的歌曲来区分它们在世界范围内的总数量
the elusive blue whale’s populations worldwide based on their songs.
但海洋正因为人类的活动而变得更加吵闹
But the oceans are getting noisier as a result of human activity.
划船
Boating,
军用声呐
military sonar,
水下建设
underwater construction,
石油地震勘探活动 都越来越频繁
and seismic surveys for oil are occurring more often
可能会妨碍鲸类的交流
which may interfere with whale’s communication.
如果人类噪音太大 一些鲸会避开主要觅食
Some whales will avoid key feeding or breeding grounds
或繁殖场所
if human noise is too loud.
目前已观察到座头鲸因对200公里外的噪音产生反应
And humpback whales have been observed to reduce their singing
而减少歌唱频率
in response to noise 200 kilometers away.
对影响鲸类迁移路径沿线
Limiting human activity along migratory routes
和其他临界栖息地的人类活动进行限制
and in other critical habitats,
减少海洋内的噪音污染
and reducing noise pollution throughout the ocean
有助于保证鲸类持续生存
would help ensure whales continued survival.
如果鲸可以一直歌唱 我们就可以一直聆听
If the whales can keep singing and we can keep listening,
也许某一天 我们可以真正理解它们的语言
maybe one day we’ll truly understand what they’re saying.

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