英语资讯
News

科学美国人60秒:Mom's Genes Make Some Giraffes Hard to Spot

Source: scientificamerican    2018-10-12  我要投稿   论坛   Favorite  

音频下载[点击右键另存为]

Just like humans have virtually unique sets of fingerprints, every giraffe has a unique set of spots. Not that those spot patterns really help wildlife biologists identify their study subjects in real time.

"We have more than 3,000 individuals. … I have a hard time keeping track of that many humans so I have that problem with giraffes as well."

Derek Lee is a wildlife biologist and population ecologist at Penn State, and with the Wild Nature Institute, a research consultancy group. He and his collaborators have been tracking giraffes for seven years, throughout 1,500 square miles in Tanzania. And they've amassed a library of 70,000 giraffe photos along the way. Photographing the animals isn't that hard, he says. 

"The hard part is the tsetse flies constantly biting us on our face and hands while we're trying to take pictures."

Now, they've used image analysis software to study the spots of mothers and their calves. And they found that baby giraffes inherit at least some particular elements of their patterning from their mothers. Like how circular the spots are, and how jagged the edges are. 

They also found that calves with larger spots were more likely to survive their first months on the savannah, perhaps because the spots better mimic the dappled sunlight in the bushes where calves like to hide from hungry lions and hyenas. 

The results—and a lot of giraffe patterns—are in the journal PeerJ. [Lee et al., Seeing spots: quantifying mother-offspring similarity and assessing fitness consequences of coat pattern traits in a wild population of giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis)]

It’s perhaps not surprising that a physical characteristic that protects an individual from being eaten passes the test of Darwinian natural selection—and get passed along to offspring. "The fact these things are heritable and they did affect juvenile survival makes us feel like evolution is acting on these spot traits." So if mom's camouflage is good, her babies, too, might have the spots that make them harder to spot. 

—Christopher Intagliata


将本页收藏到:
上一篇:科学美国人60秒:Economics Nobel Highlights Climate Action Necessity
下一篇:返回列表

最新更新
论坛精彩内容
网站地图 - 学习交流 - 恒星英语论坛 - 关于我们 - 广告服务 - 帮助中心 - 联系我们
Copyright ©2006-2007 www.Hxen.com All Rights Reserved
友情链接:聊天交友软件app  2015婚恋交友app排行榜  国内专业女女交友app  网易同城交友约会app  不约炮的外国交友app  婚恋交友app都要交钱么  推荐兴趣交友app  日本人用的交友app  交友app软件有哪些  最好的交友app排名榜  正规的交友app官网  2017app交友软件  韩国交友app推荐  交友涉黄诈骗app  国内交友软件app排行  交友网站app  交友约炮app排行榜  中日交友app  婚恋交友平台app开发  楚雄交友app下载