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为什么大象不会忘事?| 亚历克斯 ·钱德勒

Why elephants never forget - Alex Gendler

It’s a common saying that elephants never forget,
俗话说 大象从不忘事
but these magnificent animals are more than giant walking hard drives.
但这些庞然大物可不仅仅记忆力超群
The more we learn about elephants,
我们越了解大象
the more it appears that their impressive memory
便越发觉得 大象那令人惊叹的记忆力
is only one aspect of an incredible intelligence
只是它们极高智商中的一面
that makes them some of the most social,
这使得它们成为地球上最合群
creative, and benevolent creatures on Earth.
最富创造性和最有善意的物种之一
Unlike many proverbs, the one about elephant memory
与众多谚语不同的是 关于大象记忆力的谚语
is scientifically accurate.
在科学上是正确的
Elephants know every member in their herd,
大象认识象群中的每一位成员
able to recognize as many as 30 companions by sight or smell.
它们能够通过视觉或嗅觉识别出多达30位同伴
This is a great help when migrating or encountering other potentially hostile elephants.
在象群迁移或是遇到有敌意的大象时 这一能力很有帮助
They also remember and distinguish particular cues that signal danger
它们还能记住和分辨出某些预示危险的特殊信号
and can recall important locations long after their last visit
并能认出很久以前去过的地方
But it’s the memories unrelated to survival that are the most fascinating.
但更有趣的是大象与生存无关的其他记忆能力
Elephants remember not only their herd companions
大象不仅能记得它们的同伴
but other creatures who have made a strong impression on them.
还能记住那些给它们留下深刻印象的其他动物
In one case, two circus elephants that had briefly performed together
比如 有两只曾短暂一起表演过的马戏团大象
rejoiced when crossing paths 23 years later.
在23年后重逢时感到高兴不已
This recognition isn’t limited to others of their species.
这种认知并不仅局限于同类
Elephants have also recognized humans they’ve bonded with after decades apart.
大象也能认出分开几十年的人类
All of this shows that elephant memory goes beyond responses to stimuli.
所有这些都表明大象的记忆不仅仅是应激反应
Looking inside their heads, we can see why.
看看它们大脑的构造 我们就知道为什么了
The elephant boasts the largest brain of any land mammal,
大象拥有陆地哺乳动物中最大的大脑
as well as an impressive encephalization quotient.
以及令人佩服的脑力商数
This is the size of the brain
这指的是生物大脑的尺寸
relative to what we’d expect for an animal’s body size,
除以生物体型而得到的结果
and the elephant’s EQ is nearly as high as a chimpanzee’s.
而大象的智商几乎和黑猩猩一样高
And despite the distant relation,
尽管与人类是不同物种
convergent evolution has made it remarkably similar to the human brain,
但趋同进化使它与人类大脑惊人地相似
with as many neurons and synapses
大象的大脑拥有同样多的神经元和突触
and a highly developed hippocampus and cerebral cortex.
以及高度发达的海马体和大脑皮层
It is the hippocampus, strongly associated with emotion,
海马体与情感密切相关
that aids recollection by encoding important experiences into long-term memories.
它将重要的经历编码为长期记忆从而帮助记忆
The ability to distinguish this importance
区分这一重要性的能力
makes elephant memory a complex
使大象的记忆力变为一种复杂的适应性能力
and adaptable faculty beyond rote memorization.
而非死记硬背
It’s what allows elephants who survived a drought in their youth
这使得年轻时在干旱中幸存下来的大象
to recognize its warning signs in adulthood,
在成年后能够识别干旱的警告信号
which is why clans with older matriarchs have higher survival rates.
这就是为什么有年长母象的族群存活率更高
Unfortunately, it’s also what makes elephants one of the few non-human animals
不幸的是 这也使得大象成为少数几种
to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
会被创伤后应激障碍折磨的非人类动物之一
The cerebral cortex, on the other hand, enables problem solving,
另一方面 大脑皮层使大象能够解决问题
which elephants display in many creative ways.
它们的很多创造性行为能看出这一点
They also tackle problems cooperatively,
它们也合作解决问题
sometimes even outwitting the researchers and manipulating their partners.
有时甚至能骗过研究人员 愚弄同伴
And they’ve grasped basic arithmetic,
它们能理解基本的算术原理
keeping track of the relative amounts of fruit
即使水果数量多次变化
in two baskets after multiple changes.
它们也知道两个篮子里增减了多少
The rare combination of memory and problem solving
记忆和解决问题的罕见结合
can explain some of elephants’ most clever behaviors,
可以解释大象的一些极聪明的行为
but it doesn’t explain some of the things
但它不能解释我们刚刚开始了解的
we’re just beginning to learn about their mental lives.
有关它们精神生活的一些事情
Elephants communicate using everything from body signals and vocalizations,
大象通过各种方式进行交流 从肢体语言和发声
to infrasound rumbles that can be heard kilometers away.
到几公里外都能听到的次声波的隆隆声
And their understanding of syntax
它们对语法的理解
suggests that they have their own language and grammar.
表明它们有自己的语言和语法
This sense of language may even go beyond simple communication.
这种语感比简单的沟通效果来的要好
Elephants create art by carefully choosing and combining
大象会仔细选择并且组合
different colors and elements.
各种颜色和元素来创造艺术
They can also recognize twelve distinct tones
他们还能识别12种不同的音调
of music and recreate melodies.
并能重新创作旋律
And yes, there is an elephant band.
没错 确实有一个大象乐队
But perhaps the most amazing thing about elephants
但大象身上最令人惊奇的
is a capacity even more important than cleverness:
也许是它们比聪明更重要的特质
their sense of empathy, altruism, and justice.
也就是它们的同情心 利他主义和正义感
Elephants are the only non-human animals to mourn their dead,
除了人类以外 大象是唯一一种会为逝者哀悼
performing burial rituals and returning to visit graves.
举行葬礼仪式 并会回访墓地的动物
They have shown concern for other species, as well.
他们也关心其他物种
One working elephant refused to set a log down into a hole
有只大象干活时 拒绝把木头放进洞里
where a dog was sleeping,
因为有只狗在里面睡觉
while elephants encountering injured humans have sometimes stood guard
大象遇到受伤的人类时 有时会站在旁边
and gently comforted them with their trunk.
用鼻子轻轻地安慰他们
On the other hand, elephant attacks on human villages
另一方面 大象对于人类村庄的袭击
have usually occurred right after massive poachings or cullings,
通常发生在大规模偷猎或宰杀之后
suggesting deliberate revenge.
表明它们是蓄意报复的
When we consider all this evidence,
考虑到所有这些事实
along with the fact that elephants are one
再加上大象是少数
of the few species who can recognize themselves in a mirror,
能够从镜子里认出自己的物种之一
it’s hard to escape the conclusion
我们很容易得出这样的结论
that they are conscious, intelligent, and emotional beings.
它们是有自我意识 聪明且有情感的物种
Unfortunately, humanity’s treatment of elephants does not reflect this,
不幸的是 人类对待大象的方式并没有反映出这一点
as they continue to suffer from habitat destruction in Asia,
亚洲栖息地被毁坏 非洲象牙偷猎者
ivory poaching in Africa,
以及全球范围内的囚禁虐待
and mistreatment in captivity worldwide.
都威胁着大象的生存
Given what we now know about elephants
鉴于我们现在对大象的了解
and what they continue to teach us about animal intelligence,
以及它们不断教给我们的有关动物智力的知识
it is more important than ever to ensure
当前最重要的是确保
that what the English poet John Donne described as”nature’s great masterpiece”
英国诗人约翰·当德所描述的“自然的伟大杰作”
does not vanish from the world’s canvas.
不会从世界的油画布上消失

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视频概述

看完这个视频也许会颠覆你的想象,大象可不是那种外表看上去笨笨的家伙,它们不仅记忆力强大,还有许多其他令你惊讶的能力。

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蜗牛姑娘

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视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSXNqsOoURg

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