2013年4月18日 星期四

4/20高機率機經閱讀--Meerkat


圖片敘述是用mere cat meerkat (狐) 諧音的conundrum/ pun (雙關語)
"他們還是沒發現我只是(mere)一隻貓。"
相信有看過甫二度拿下奧斯卡最佳導演李安的"Life of Pi"的同學對這照片上這一群直立立( stand on their rear legs) 的動物一定不陌生, 有影評他們生活的這個島其實是Pi的媽媽的屍體,這群可愛的meerkat其實是屍體上的蛆,象徵Pi為了活下去只好吃自己母親的肉。

好了扯遠了,今天沒有要教GRE單字,也沒有要講電影(還沒看過的同學不好意思爆雷了),
主要是要講這在托福很可能考出的meerkat的習性:

1. Basic Info:
生長環境:南非平原
They often stand on their rear legs and gaze alertly over the southern African plains where they live.   
群居動物(gregarious animals):一群約20-50隻不等
A meerkat clan often contains about 20 meerkats, but some super-families have 50 or more members.

2. Altruism 利他主義
提到meerkat一定會提到他們的altruistic behavior, 他們輪流站哨(stand sentry)其他meerkats就可以趁這機會趕快去找食物
Meerkats demonstrate altruistic behavior within their colonies; one or more meerkats stand sentry while others are foraging or playing, to warn them of approaching dangers. When a predator is spotted, birds of prey, such as hawks and eagles, that can snatch them from the ground the meerkat performing as sentry gives a warning bark (or a sharp, shrill call) , and other members of the gang will run and hide in one of the many bolt holes they have spread across their territory. The sentry meerkat is the first to reappear from the burrow and search for predators, constantly barking to keep the others underground. If there is no threat, the sentry meerkat stops signaling and the others feel safe to emerge.

Meerkats also babysit the young in the group. Females that have never produced offspring of their own often lactateproduce milk) to feed the alpha pair's young, while the alpha female is away with the rest of the group. They also protect the young from threats, often endangering their own lives. On warning of danger, the babysitter takes the young underground to safety and is prepared to defend them if the danger follows. If retreating underground is not possible, she collects all young together and lies on top of them.

*題外話補充乳糖不耐症 (lactose intolerance)

3. 通風良好的洞穴
Meerkat groups utilize several different burrows and move from one to another. Each burrow is an extensive tunnel-and-room system that remains cool even under the broiling African sun. Females give birth to two to four young each year in one of the group's burrows. Fathers and siblings help to raise meerkat young, teaching them to play and forage and alerting them to the ever present danger from above. Young meerkats are so fearful of predatory birds that even airplanes will send them diving for cover.

 
 
 



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