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大熊猫竟是食肉动物!

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2019年05月15日

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For most of us, the jump from meat-eater to vegetarian is a big one. For the giant panda, the switch was all too easy. Despite a long family history of meat-heavy meals, this large bear now feeds almost exclusively on tough bamboo – a change its ancestors made more than 2 million years ago.

对于大多数人来说,从杂食到纯素饮食,需要艰难的习惯过程。但是大熊猫不一样,它们可以自由地转换饮食习惯。尽管历史上,大熊猫曾长时间以肉类为主食,但现在却几乎只吃坚硬的竹子——它们200多万年前的祖先走上的那条进化支线。

For that reason, by all appearances, the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is a herbivore. But escaping your roots has never been easy, and from one dietary perspective this black-and-white bear remains just as much a carnivore as many of its relatives.

因此,从各方面来看,大熊猫(Ailuropoda melanoleuca)是草食动物。但江山易改本性难移,这只黑白相间的熊和它的许多亲戚一样,仍然保留了食肉动物本性。

大熊猫竟是食肉动物!

Even though the giant panda has long-eschewed all meat, new research suggests that it continues to eat like a wolf (quite literally).

尽管大熊猫长期以来都不吃肉,但新研究表明,它吃起东西来像狼一样(字面意思)。

After years of tracking the animal's eating habits, scientists have now revealed that its favourite bamboo shoots are basically a kind of faux meat, given they're absolutely brimming with protein.

经过多年来对这种动物的饮食习惯的跟踪,科学家们发现,它最喜欢的竹笋基本上是一种人造肉,因为它们含有极为丰富的蛋白质。

And pandas know it. Over the years, the researchers watched as these creatures climbed to ever greater heights, following the young shoots with low fibre content and high protein.

熊猫也知道这一点。多年来,研究人员观察到,这些生物会爬得更高去获取纤维素更少,蛋白质含量更高的笋。

With half the panda's energy coming from protein alone, the researchers conclude that the bear's diet is less like a herbivore and more like a hyper-carnivore, similar to a feral cat or wolf. In fact, it's left the team wondering if the term 'herbivore' can even fully capture the true quirkiness of this giant mammal's diet.

由于大熊猫一半的能量仅来自蛋白质,研究人员得出结论:熊猫的饮食不像是食草动物,更像是食肉动物,类似于野猫或狼。事实上,这让研究小组怀疑“食草动物”这个词是否能完全概括这种巨型哺乳动物饮食的真正特性。

Based on what they eat, they absolutely belong to the herbivores, but considering the macronutrient composition of the ingested and absorbed diets, they belong to the carnivores, says researcher Fuwen Wei from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.

北京中国科学院的研究员魏福文说:“基于食物类型,它们绝对属于食草动物,但考虑到常规摄入和消化的营养成分,它们属于食肉动物。”

Perhaps the giant panda is doomed to forever sit on this categorical fence. Over millions of years of evolution, the bear developed jaws, teeth and thumbs ideal for handling bamboo, but deep inside it holds a bloodthirsty secret that has largely gone unnoticed.

或许熊猫就是两者的分界线。经过数百万年的演化,熊猫发展出非常适合处理竹子的下颚、牙齿和拇指,但在身体内部深处却暗藏了一个嗜血的秘密——在很大程度上被人类忽视了。

Unlike a herbivore, its digestive tract is short and unsuited to fibre digestion, while the enzymes and microbes in its gut speak volumes of its Carnivora clade. Both the panda's milk and poo were also found to contain high levels of protein, with the milk especially reminiscent of what carnivores suckle, in terms of its macronutrient makeup.

与草食动物不同,它的消化道很短,不适合纤维消化,而肠道中的酶和微生物类型则属于的食肉动物一支。大熊猫的牛奶和粪便中都含有高水平的蛋白质,从宏观营养成分来看,熊猫奶特别像是雌性食肉动物的哺乳期分泌的液体。

In giant pandas, a short, carnivorous gut facilitates rapid throughput, and the high abundance and easy accessibility of bamboo enable large amounts to be eaten, compensating for low digestive efficiency, the authors explain.

作者解释说:“在大熊猫体内,一条短而食肉的肠道有助于快速吞食,竹子数量丰富,易于获取,可以大量食用,从而补偿了低消化效率。”

In short, the findings suggest that giant pandas had to undergo few evolutionary adaptations to make the switch from meat to bamboo. There, sitting in front of them, was a seemingly endless source of protein-rich food that had everything they needed. All they had to do was eat a lot of it.

简而言之,研究结果表明,大熊猫不得不进行微调进化,以便从肉食转向竹子。毕竟,那是看似无穷无尽的富含蛋白质的食物来源,它们所要做的只是使劲多吃。

If you're going to switch to a specific plant, bamboo isn't too bad, as it does have respectable plant protein levels, as well as a swathe of different vitamins, bacteriologist Garret Suen from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, who wasn't involved with the study, told The Atlantic.

威斯康星大学麦迪逊分校的细菌学家Garret Suen说:“如果你改吃特定的植物,竹子也不算太糟糕,因为它的植物蛋白质含量可观,而且含有大量不同的维生素。”


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