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「貓咪科學」- The Science of Cats


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The Internet loves cats. But did you know the print on the cat's nose has a unique rigid pattern just like fingerprint? Or that catnip really is like a drug for cats?
網路熱愛貓咪。但你可知道,貓咪鼻子上的紋路就像指紋一樣,有個獨特的嚴密圖案?又或是貓草的確像個貓咪的毒品?

One of its volatile oils called nepetalactone enters the cat's nasal tissue and acts like an artificial cat pheromone. The sensory neurons are stimulated and ultimately trigger a behavioral and sexual response in the brain and body in around eighty percent of cats, which must be nice considering cats spend around eighty-five percent of their day doing absolutely nothing. Drinking, eating, defecating and even mating only take up about four percent combined.
它的一種叫做荊芥內酯的揮發性油脂進入貓咪的鼻腔組織然後扮演一個像是人造貓咪費洛蒙的角色。在大約百分之八十的貓咪中,感知神經細胞受到刺激並最終觸動一項在腦和身體中行為以及性方面的反應,考量到貓咪花上牠們一天大約百分之八十五的時間啥都不做,那肯定很棒。喝水、進食、排泄甚至交配加起來只花大約百分之四的時間。

But when they are moving, they always seem to land on their feet. This is because of something called the "Righting Reflex." Not only do cats have very sensitive motion and gravity sensing abilities, allowing them to determine which way is down, they also have an extremely flexible backbone and no collarbone. By bending in the middle and using fast twitch muscle fibers, they can whip around without ever changing their net angular momentum.
但當牠們在移動時,牠們好像總是腳著地。這是因為某種叫做「正位反射」的東西。貓咪不只有非常敏感的運動及重力感應能力,讓牠們判斷哪邊是下面,牠們也有個極富彈性的背骨,而且沒有鎖骨。透過向中間彎曲並使用快縮肌纖維,牠們可以不用任何改變角動量而翻過身來。

And did you know that when a cat lifts its tail while being pet, it's really inviting you to smell its behind?
還有你可知道,當一隻貓咪身為寵物時翹起牠的尾巴,牠確實是在邀請你聞聞牠的屁股?

Cats use scent to communicate, and this exposes glands and pheromones holding their signature smell, a nice alternative to a hug or a handshake. They also rub up against you to spread these pheromones. The glands on their face, tail and body help them to claim you with their scent, while also leaving nearby cats signals about their identity, sexual availability and territory.
貓咪使用氣味來溝通,而這會露出保有牠們特殊氣味的腺體和費洛蒙,擁抱或握手不錯的替代品。牠們也會磨蹭你來散播這些費洛蒙。牠們臉上、尾巴和身體上的腺體幫助牠們用氣味宣告對於你的主權,同時也留信號給鄰近的貓咪,關於牠們的身分、發情與否以及領地範圍。

On the other hand, cats bury their poop in an attempt to hide its smell. This evolutionary instinct is not only to avoid attracting predators, but to show that they are submissive to a dominant cat in the wild. In the case of your house, this is your cat's way of recognizing you as dominant.
另一方面來說,貓咪掩埋牠們的排泄物試圖隱藏它的味道。這項演化上的本能不只是要避免吸引掠食者,還要表達牠們臣服於野外的一隻統治大貓。在你家來說,這是你的貓咪將你認定為老大的方式。

Also, in complete darkness, cats can't actually see, though they can see much better than you and I in dim light. Cats have a layer of cells behind the retina called the "Tapetum Lucidum," which acts like a mirror reflecting extra light back at the retina. In near darkness, this gives their eyes a second chance to pick up more light, but without any light present, they can't see any more than we can.
還有,在完全黑暗之中,貓咪無法真正看得見,雖然牠們可以在微弱光線中比你我看得好很多。貓咪在視網膜後方有一層細胞叫做「脈絡膜毯」,那扮演著像是一面鏡子的角色,將額外光線反射回到視網膜。在幾近黑暗之中,這給牠們的眼睛一次額外的機會獲得更多光線,但沒有任何光線存在,牠們不會比我們能夠看到的更多。

And if you ever see a cat with three distinct colors, often called a Calico or Tortoise Shell cat, you can bet it's female. The fur color gene is located on the "X" chromosome. This means females can have two colors in addition to white, because they have two "X" chromosomes. The male "Y" chromosome, on the other hand, does not have any color genes. As a result, males will generally only have one color along with white. Though in rare genetic cases, it is possible for them to have more.
如果你曾看過一隻有三種不同的顏色的貓咪,常被稱為花斑貓或是玳瑁貓,你便可以斷定牠是母的。毛皮顏色基因位於「X」染色體。這意思是母的除了白色之外能夠擁有兩種顏色,因為牠們有兩個「X」染色體。另一方面來說,雄性的「Y」染色體沒有任何顏色基因。因此,公的通常只會有一種顏色和白色一起。然而在鮮少的基因案例中,牠們可能擁有更多的顏色。

Interestingly, we still don't really know why cats purr. In fact, cats purr both during pleasurable situations but also while they are in duress or injured. While many believe it's a means to communicate passivity or pleasure, one interesting theory suggests that the frequency that purrs occur at (24 - 140 Hz) promotes healthy bone growth and healing. Because cats have adapted to a lifestyle with frequent rest and sleep, this may be a low energy mechanism to promote muscle and bone health.
有趣的是,我們仍然不全然知曉為何貓咪會「呼嚕嚕」。實際上,貓咪在愉悅的狀態以及當牠們受到脅迫或受傷時,都會「呼嚕嚕」。儘管很多人相信它是種傳達順從或愉快的方式,一個有趣的理論認為,「呼嚕嚕」發生的頻高 (24 - 140赫茲)促進健康骨骼的成長和療癒。因為貓咪已適應了頻繁休息及睡眠的生活方式,這也許是個促進肌肉骨骼健康的低能量機制。

Got a burning question you want answered? Ask it in the comments, or on facebook and twitter. And subscribe for more weekly science videos.
有燃眉之急的問題想要解答嗎?在留言中發問吧,或在facebook和twitter上發問。訂閱以獲得更多的每周科學影片。

  • 「花(時間)、開始從事、舉起、吸收」- Take Up

    Drinking, eating, defecating and even mating only "take up" about four percent combined.
    喝水、進食、排泄甚至交配加起來只花大約百分之四的時間。

  • 「突然翻身」- Whip Around

    By bending in the middle and using fast twitch muscle fibers, they can "whip around" without ever changing their net angular momentum.
    透過向中間彎曲並使用快縮肌纖維,牠們可以不用任何改變角動量而翻過身來。

  • 「磨蹭、觸碰」- Rub Up Against

    They also "rub up against" you to spread these pheromones.
    牠們也會磨蹭你來散播這些費洛蒙。

  • 「獲得、拾起、接(人)」- Pick Up

    In near darkness, this gives their eyes a second chance to "pick up" more light, but without any light present, they can't see any more than we can.
    在幾近黑暗之中,這給牠們的眼睛一次額外的機會獲得更多光線,但沒有任何光線存在,牠們不會比我們能夠看到的更多。

  • 「除了...之外」- In Addition To

    This means females can have two colors in addition to white, because they have two "X" chromosomes.
    這意思是母的除了白色之外能夠擁有兩種顏色,因為牠們有兩個「X」染色體。

  • 「實際上、事實上」- In Fact

    "In fact", cats purr both during pleasurable situations but also while they are in duress or injured.
    實際上,貓咪在愉悅的狀態以及當牠們受到脅迫或受傷時,都會「呼嚕嚕」。

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