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段落1

NARRATOR

Listen to part of a lecture in an archaeology class.

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旁白:请听一段考古学讲座的节选片段。

段落2

FEMALE PROFESSOR

In our last class we began talking about animal domestication, and we said it's [slowly] the process whereby a population of animals is bred in captivity and becomes accustomed to being provided for and controlled by humans.

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教授:在上一节课中,我们开始讲家畜驯养。我们说,这是一个动物种群在圈养环境下繁殖的过程,逐渐被人类所控制,为人类提供生活物质的过程。

[Pause, seeing a raised hand] Question, Jim?

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有什么问题吗,Jim?

段落3

MALE STUDENT

Yeah, I was thinking.

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学生:是的。我在想……

You said domesticated animals usually served some kind of purpose for humans.

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你说家养的动物总是可以满足人类的一些目的的,

Like horses could, uh... pull heavy loads,and dogs could hunt or herd sheep.

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就像是马……嗯……可以拉很重的东西,狗可以打猎或者放羊。

But cats? Why were they ever domesticated?

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但是猫嘛,猫为什么会被驯养呢?

[Slight laugh] I mean, mine can't do much of anything!

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我的意思是,我家的猫可是什么事情也不会做。

段落4

FEMALE PROFESSOR

Interesting question.

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教授:有趣的问题。

Cats don't seem likely candidates for domestication, do they?

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猫看起来的确不像是驯养的动物中的一员,对吗?

They actually lack an important characteristic that most animals that can be domesticated have: domesticable animals tend to live in herds or packs, with clear dominance hierarchies.

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它们实际上缺少一种大多数被驯养的动物都具有的重要特征:可驯养的动物倾向于群居,并且有着鲜明的等级制度。

Humans could easily take advantage of this hierarchical structure.

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人类就可以轻易地利用这种等级制度。

By supplanting the alpha individual, they could gain control of the whole group- or of individuals, as in the case of dogs.

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通过取代动物群中的强势个体,他们可以掌握整个种群或者种群中的个体,就像是狗的例子一样。

Cats in the wild, though, rarely have this structure.

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野生环境中的猫则基本上没有这种结构。

For the most part, they're solitary hunters.

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大多数的时候,它们单独捕猎。

段落5

But... as for their utility to humans?

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但是对于猫对人类的用途来说?

Well, it's helpful to think about when and where cat domestication might've begun.

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我们来想想人类是何时何地开始驯养猫的,这个可能会帮助我们思考。

Any ideas, Jim?

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有什么想法吗,Jim?

段落6

MALE STUDENT

Well, I'd guess ancient Egypt?

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学生:我猜是古埃及。

I'm thinking of all those ancient Egyptian paintings of cats...

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我想到了古埃及关于猫的画作。

段落7

FEMALE PROFESSOR

Good guess [even though you’re wrong…]-those paintings you mention do provide the oldest known depictions of full cat domestication, where cats are without question household companions.

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教授:很好的猜想。你提到的这些画作的确提供了驯养猫的最古老的描述。在这些画里,猫毫无疑问是家庭伴侣。

The paintings, from about 3,600 years ago, typically show cats in Egyptian homes poised under chairs, sometimes wearing collars,eating scraps of food out of bowls....

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3600年以前的画作展示了猫在埃及人家里趴在椅子下面,有时候戴着项圈,还吃着碗里小块的食物。

But the Egyptians don't get credit for the early stages of cat domestication, where cats are just beginning to interact with humans.

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但是埃及人没有记录下来最初猫是怎么被驯养的,最初是在哪里猫开始和人类有交集的。

There're signs of early domestication as far back as 9,500 years ago.

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早期对于猫的驯养要追溯回9500年前!

Recently, two graves were discovered on the island of Cyprus.

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最近,两座坟墓在塞浦路斯岛被发现了。

One was the grave of a human, buried with some tools, sea shells, and other items.

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一座是人类的坟墓,埋着一些工具,贝壳和其他的物件。

And, nearby, a cat was buried in its own grave.

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在这座坟墓的附近,一只猫被埋在它自己的坟墓里。

Interestingly, the cat's body was oriented in the same westward direction as the human's body.

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有趣的是,猫的身体的摆放和人类身体的摆放都是朝西的。

Another notable thing about the two bodies was that they were in an identical state of preservation, suggesting they'd been buried at the same time.

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另一个值得注意的事情是,这两具尸体的保存状况是相同的,这就说明了他们是在同一时间下葬的。

So we can assume that humans had at least some kind of relationship with cats as early as 9,500 years ago.

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所以我们可以假设,在9500年前,人类和猫就已经有了一些关系了。

段落8

MALE STUDENT

So cat domestication began in Cyprus?

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学生:所以猫的驯养开始于塞浦路斯岛?

段落9

FEMALE PROFESSOR

Well,[I can see how you might think that] except cats weren't native to Cyprus.

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教授:嗯,除了猫并不是塞浦路斯岛土生土长的。

They were undoubtedly brought over to the island by boat, probably from the nearby coast of the Fertile Crescent, in the Middle East.

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它们毫无疑问是从中东的肥沃新月地带通过船只带到塞浦路斯岛的。

段落10

In fact, extensive DNA analysis has now confirmed what archaeologists have believed for quite some time:all modern domestic cats arose from just one subspecies of wildcat from that single location,the Fertile Crescent,and not from any of the other four subspecies of wildcat located in other areas throughout the world.

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实际上,广泛的DNA分析现在已经确定,人类学家已经笃信很久的事实了。所有的现代猫咪都是来自一个地方的猫亚种之一:并不是来自世界上其他地区的其他四个猫咪亚种。

Pretty amazing, isn't it?

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很惊人,是吗?

段落11

Which brings us back to Jim's question: why did it happen? And how?

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这就把我们引领回了Jim的问题:为什么猫会被驯养?人类又是怎么驯养它们的呢?

段落12

Well, for years researchers have pondered this question of cat domestication, and the best I can do here is just a theory... [Slight laughter; expecting students to agree that the theory makes sense]

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几年以来,研究者仔细考虑了猫的驯养的问题,我所有的也只是个理论。

But tell me it doesn't make sense!

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但是谁能说它没什么道理呢?

In evolutionary terms, early settlements and agriculture in the Fertile Crescent around 10,000 years ago,created a completely new environment for any wild animals that were flexible and curious enough to exploit it.

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在进化这方面,10000年前的肥沃新月地带,早期人类居住地和农业生产地,为若干适应性强且好奇心足够的野生动物创造了一个全新的环境。

Mice were attracted to these settlements, and cats, being obligate carnivores- they must eat meat to thrive- they were almost certainly drawn to the settlements by the mice.

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老鼠被吸引到了这些定居地,而猫,作为坚定的食肉动物,它们也几乎注定被定居地的老鼠吸引来了。

段落13

Over time, only the cats that could adapt to living in human-dominated environments would've stayed and thrived.

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随着时间过去,只有适应人类主宰环境的猫存活并繁衍下来。

People probably encouraged them to stick around and control the mice in the fields and the granaries, and eventually their homes.

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人类可能鼓励猫呆在身边,用来控制田地和谷仓里的老鼠数量。最终,猫被用来控制家里的老鼠。

And perhaps simply grew to like their company, too.

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就这样简单地成为了他们的家庭伴侣。

段落14

MALE STUDENT

Hmm... . So in a way, the difference with cats was that domestication was their idea instead of ours!

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学生:嗯……所以在某种方式上,不同就是猫被驯化是来自猫的主观意愿,而不是人的。

[Thinking] But... why do you suppose only one of the five subspecies was domesticated?

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但是你为什么会认为只有五种猫亚种中的一种被驯化了呢?

Were the others just, um... [short pause, thinking] not friendly enough toward humans?

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因为其他四种对于人类不友好吗?

段落15

FEMALE PROFESSOR

Well, no... in fact, at least two of the other subspecies are known to be relatively friendly.

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教授:不是的。实际上,至少两个亚种是相对友好的。

But the Fertile Crescent subspecies had... well, a head start,because of its proximity to the first human settlements.

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但是新月地带的猫抢占了先机,因为它们和第一个人类居住地比较近。

段落16

And as agriculture spread, the <em class="nice-card js-hover-card">tame ancestors</em> of this subspecies spread with it.

And as agriculture spread, the tame ancestors of this subspecies spread with it.

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当农耕范围扩大后时,驯服的猫的古老亚种就随着农耕范围扩大。

So they filled the niche of home companion in each region they entered- and effectively shut out the local subspecies that were already there.

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所以它们逐渐占据了每一个地区人类家庭伴侣里的生态位,并且赶走了其他早就生活在那里的其他亚种。
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