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社交有益健康,即使你的朋友长了虱子

更新时间:2016-8-24 18:39:17 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Japanese Monkeys Like to Socialize, Even With Nits to Pick
社交有益健康,即使你的朋友长了虱子

Social life is good for you, even when your friends have lice — if you’re a Japanese macaque.

就算朋友长了虱子,社交活动也对你有益处——如果你是日本猕猴的话。

Whether the same is true for humans hasn’t been tested directly, at least not the way researchers in Japan conducted their experiments with networks of female macaques.

这一点是否也在人类身上成立并未得到检验,至少没有做过身在日本的研究者用母猕猴交际网做的那种实验。

Julie Duboscq, a researcher at Kyoto University’s Primate Research Institute in Japan, tracked louse infestation and grooming interactions in about 20 adult female macaques. As she, Andrew J.J. MacIntosh and their colleagues noted in describing their research in Scientific Reports, grooming is known to reduce lice, but such close physical contact can also make it easy for lice to pass from one animal to another.

日本京都大学灵长类研究所(Primate Research Institute)的研究员朱莉·迪博斯克(Julie Duboscq)追踪了大约20头成年母猕猴当中的虱子滋生现象与梳毛行为的互动。在发表于《科学报告》(Scientific Reports)的文章中,她和安德鲁·J·J·麦金托什(Andrew J.J. MacIntosh)及几名同事指出,外界已知梳毛行为可减少虱子,但此类亲密的身体互动也会让虱子更容易地从一只猕猴传到另一只身上。

Dr. Duboscq is interested in the costs and benefits of social behavior. For animals that live in social groups, as macaques and people do, the benefits of social life are many, from defense against predators (for wild monkeys, and no doubt for humans at some point in their history) to emotional health and well-being (for humans, and probably monkeys, too).

迪博斯克博士对社交行为的成本与效益感兴趣。对于生活在社群中的动物而言,比如猕猴和人类,社交生活能带来诸多益处,从防御捕食者(对野生猴来说如此,在人类历史上的某个时刻无疑也成立),到情绪与身体健康(对人类而言如此,对猴类而言很可能也成立)。

But there are negatives associated with sociality, like the transmission of parasites and diseases. “We don’t fully understand the costs and benefits,” Dr. Duboscq said.

不过,社交也有负面作用,比如寄生虫和疾病的传播。“我们并不完全了解它的坏处和好处,”迪博斯克博士说。

In this study, she and her colleagues estimated the degree of louse infestation by the number of nits picked. The more nits, they calculated, the more lice-producing nits.

在这项研究中,她和同事们根据抓到的虱卵数量估算虱子滋生的程度。他们认为,虱卵越多,说明产卵的虱子越多。

They compared the degree of louse infestation with how central each female was in the social network, meaning how many other monkeys were her social contacts. The result was that the females with more social contacts, and who therefore received more grooming, had fewer lice, but only during the winter and summer.

他们比较了虱子的滋生程度与每只母猕猴在交际网中的位置,也就是说,她和多少只猴子有社会交往。结果发现,社交更多,因此得到更多毛发梳理的母猴身上虱子就越少,不过仅在冬夏两季。

During the spring and fall, a female’s position in a social network didn’t seem to make any difference.

在春秋两季,母猴在交际网中的地位似乎对虱子数量没有什么影响。

Dr. Duboscq said the reason for the seasonal difference wasn’t yet clear, but it was possible that the monkeys’ biology affected that of the lice.

迪博斯克博士称,季节性差异的原因尚不明确,不过有可能是猴子的生理机能对虱子产生了影响。

Winter is the mating season for these macaques, and they give birth in the summer. Hormonal changes in the blood of the macaques that the lice feed on could affect louse reproduction and cause a jump in lice in winter and summer, which would make grooming more important.

冬季是这些猕猴的交配季节,她们在夏季产仔。虱子吸食的猕猴血液中的激素变化可能会影响虱子的繁殖,导致冬夏两季虱子数量暴增,那会让梳毛显得更为重要。

But that is only speculation so far. What is clear is that grooming works well to keep the louse population down. In this case, the benefits of sociality outweigh the risks.

不过,到目前为止,这只是推测。比较明确的一点是,梳毛对于控制虱子数量很有效。这样的话,社交的益处大于风险。

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