(logo) Natural Genesis (logo text)
A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
Table of Contents
Genesis Vision
Learning Planet
Organic Universe
Earth Life Emerge
Genesis Future
Recent Additions

VI. Life’s Cerebral Cognizance Becomes More Complex, Smarter, Informed, Proactive, Self-Aware

B. A Neural Encephalization from Minimal Stirrings to an Earthuman Cognizance

The Ground Floor of Cognition: From Microbes to Plants and Animals.. Google title, keywords.. The home site for a 2018 Altenberg Workshop in Theoretical Biology organized by Pamela Lyon and Fred Keijzer. As a first survey meeting as this long view becomes evident, its participants included Audrey Dussutour, (Learning in Slime Molds), Frantisek Baluska, Peter Godfrey-Smith, Michael Levin, Argyris Arnellos (Individuality and Cognition: An Organizational Co-Evolution), Detlev Arendt and Eva Jablonka (From Cognition to Consciousness).

Introduction: Our project, then, is to map the general outlines of basal cognition from prokaryotes (bacteria) and unicellular eukaryotes, to plants and early animals without and with nervous systems. This will involve tracing the biological mechanisms needed for behavioral capacities such as sensing, memory, learning, decision making, anticipation, and communication. At this workshop we will concentrate on the multi-faceted cognitive capacity of decision-making Here next is a working definition.

Cognition is the complex of sensory and other information-processing mechanisms an organism has for becoming familiar with, valuing, and interacting with its internal milieu and with features of its environment in order to meet existential needs, the most basic of which are survival/persistence, growth/thriving, and reproduction. (Definition)

Aboitiz, Francisco and Juan Montiel. Morphological Evolution of the Vertebrate Forebrain: From Mechanical to Cellular Processes. Evolution & Development. 21/6, 2019. While relative brain anatomies vary with the animal classes, Chilean neuroscientists (search) add another report of the presence of consistent, homologous features. Thus, one may speak of a genetically based neurogenesis as life proceeds to evolve and develop from its earliest rudiments to our socially inquisitive selves.

Although the cerebral hemispheres are among the defining characters of vertebrates, each class is characterized by a different anatomical organization of this structure, which has become problematic for comparative neurobiology. In this article, we discuss some mechanisms involved in the generation of morphological divergence, based on spatial constraints for neurogenesis, mechanical forces generated by increasing neuronal numbers during development, and cellular strategies used by each group to overcome these limitations. We expect this view to help unify the diverging vertebrate brain morphologies into general, simple mechanisms that can establish homologies across groups. (Abstract)

Arbib, Michael. Towards a Computational Comparative Neuroprimatology: Framing the Language-Ready Brain. Physics of Life Reviews. 16/1, 2016. We cite this 50 page essay by the veteran USC neuroscientist for its integrative content and to review novel findings about dual ventral and dorsal streams of recognition and response. For Arbib, to gloss an extensive text, these two modes attend to object, item, word identity and their resultant spatial frames. As a sampling of papers next conveys, in their ongoing study researchers evaluate and nuance these relative features. Our interest is another occasion of an archetypal complementarity via discrete, elemental aspects, along with a holistic context. Its ubiquitous prevalence gives further credence to an universal edifying code. See also by Dorsal and Ventral Streams in the Evolution of the Language-Ready Brain by Arbib in the Journal of Neurolinguistics (43B/227, 2017).

Here are some other papers in regard. Transforming Vision into Action by Melvyn Goodale in Vision Research (51/1567, 2011) is a latest review by the 1992 founder, with David Milner, of these streams. The chapter Pathways and Streams in the Auditory Cortex by Josef Rauschecker (2015 search) is another good surmise, as is Two Visual Systems and Two Theories of Perception by Joel Norman in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (25/1, 2002). Michael Arbib cites Dorsal and Ventral Streams by Gregory Hickok and David Poeppel in Cognition (92/1, 2004) and Reconciling Time, Space and Function by Ina Bornkessel-Schlesewsky in Brain & Language (125/1, 2013).

We make the case for developing a Computational Comparative Neuroprimatology to inform the analysis of the function and evolution of the human brain. First, we update the mirror system hypothesis on the evolution of the language-ready brain by (i) modeling action and action recognition and opportunistic scheduling of macaque brains to hypothesize the nature of the last common ancestor of macaque and human (LCA-m); and then (ii) introduce dynamic brain modeling to show how apes could acquire gesture through ontogenetic ritualization, hypothesizing the nature of evolution from LCA-m to the last common ancestor of chimpanzee and human (LCA-c). We then (iii) hypothesize the role of imitation, pantomime, protosign and protospeech in biological and cultural evolution from LCA-c to Homo sapiens with a language-ready brain.

Second, we suggest how cultural evolution in Homo sapiens led from protolanguages to full languages with grammar and compositional semantics. Third, we assess the similarities and differences between the dorsal and ventral streams in audition and vision as the basis for presenting and comparing two models of language processing in the human brain: A model of (i) the auditory dorsal and ventral streams in sentence comprehension; and (ii) the visual dorsal and ventral streams in defining “what language is about” in both production and perception of utterances related to visual scenes provide the basis for (iii) a first step towards a synthesis and a look at challenges for further research. (Abstract)

Argembeau, Arnaud and Eric Salmon. The Neural Basis of Semantic and Episodic Forms of Self-Knowledge. Lopez-Larrea, Carlos, ed. Sensing in Nature. Dordrecht: Springer, 2012. University of Liege, Belgium, researchers use Functional Neuroimaging to study, how human, and universe, it would seem, are engaged in achieving mental representations and realizations of themselves.

Throughout evolution, hominids have developed greater capacity to think about themselves in abstract and symbolic ways. This process has reached its apex in humans with the construction of a concept of self as a distinct entity with a personal history. This chapter provides a review of recent functional neuroimaging studies that have investigated the neural correlates of such “higher-level” aspects of the human self, focusing in particular on processes that allow individuals to consciously represent and reflect on their own personal attributes (semantic forms of self-knowledge) and experiences (episodic forms of self-knowledge). (Abstract)

Balanoff, Amy, et al. Evolutionary Origins of the Avian Brain. Nature. 501/93, 2013. As the extended abstract conveys, American Museum of Natural History, and University of Texas, Austin, neural paleontologists reconstruct a persistent course of enhanced evolutionarily encephalization from dinosaur reptiles to fledgling birds by way of transitional, intermediate forms.

Features that were once considered exclusive to modern birds, such as feathers and a furcula (wishbone), are now known to have first appeared in non-avian dinosaurs. However, relatively little is known of the early evolutionary history of the hyperinflated brain that distinguishes birds from other living reptiles and provides the important neurological capablities required by flight. Here we use high-resolution computed tomography to estimate and compare cranial volumes of extant birds, the early avialan Archaeopteryx lithographica, and a number of non-avian maniraptoran dinosaurs that are phylogenetically close to the origins of both Avialae and avian flight. Previous work established that avian cerebral expansion began early in theropod history and that the cranial cavity of Archaeopteryx was volumetrically intermediate between these early forms and modern birds3, 4. Our new data indicate that the relative size of the cranial cavity of Archaeopteryx is reflective of a more generalized maniraptoran (bird-like dinosaurs) volumetric signature and in several instances is actually smaller than that of other non-avian dinosaurs. Thus, bird-like encephalization indices evolved multiple times, supporting the conclusion that if Archaeopteryx had the neurological capabilities required of flight, so did at least some other non-avian maniraptorans. This is congruent with recent findings that avialans were not unique among maniraptorans in their ability to fly in some form. (Abstract)

Ball, Philip. The Book of Minds: How to Understand Ourselves and Other Beings from Animals to AI to Aliens. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2022. In this latest volume, the prolific polyscholar science writer (search here and his website) extends his wide compass onto another vital feature of emergent life and sentience on the way to our global cognizance as it lately gains prominence. While he won a 2018 physics book for Beyond Weird about the quantum revolution, this thoroughly researched, copious interview edition covers the disparate occasions and sequential stages of how life’s long developmental course came to trace a axial advance in cerebral forms and cognitive faculties. In regard, this historic shift from bones to brains can further distinguish a progressive florescence of quickening, stirring, awakening intelligences in group communities. Chapters include Minds and Where to Find Them, Waking Up in the World, All the Things You Are and Free to Choose, along with novel machine learnings, if we properly program. But this 21st century turn from aimless accident to an evolutionary gestation as it may just reach and transition to a Geonate moment may well return human persons, one and all, to a central place and purpose.

Popular science writer Philip Ball explores a range of sciences to map our answers to a huge, philosophically rich question: How do we even begin to think about minds that are not human? Sciences from zoology to astrobiology, computer science to neuroscience, are seeking to understand minds in their own distinct disciplinary realms. Taking a uniquely broad view of minds and where to find them—including in plants, aliens, and God—Philip Ball pulls the pieces together to explore what sorts of minds we might expect to find in the universe. In so doing, he offers for the first time a unified way of thinking about what minds are and what they can do, by locating them in what he calls the “space of possible minds.” (Publisher)

Baluska, Frantisek, et al. The ‘Root-Brain’ Hypothesis of Charles and Francis Darwin: Revival after More than 125 Years. Plant Signaling & Behavior. 4/12, 2009. In the last years of his life, c. 1862-1880, Charles, assisted by his son Francis, became engrossed with studies of the sensory attributes of flora. This not well known late phase, often guided by his Romantic views, led to writings such as The Power of Movement of Plants which speculates that plants actually possess and avail cerebral-like faculties. This present paper by Universities of Bonn, Frienze, and Bristol botanists, then reports upon new research that indeed confirms their active presence. With a companion article, Baluska, et al “Swarm Intelligence in Plant Roots” in Trends in Ecology and Evolution (25/12, 2010), a true, equivalent cognition is verified to abide amongst vegetations, which aids their flourishing survival.

Outlook: Complex Social Life of Plant Roots: Recent advances in chemical ecology reveal the astonishing communicative complexity of higher plants as exemplified by the battery of volatile substances which they produce and sense in order to share with other organisms information about their physiological state. The next surprise is that plants recognize self from nonself; and roots even secrete signaling exudates which mediate kin recognition. Finally, plants are also capable of a type of plantspecific cognition, suggesting that communicative and identity recognition systems are used, as they are in animal and human societies, to improve the fitness of plants and so further their evolution. Moreover, both animals and plants are non-automatic, decision- based organisms. Should Charles and Francis Darwin have witnessed these unprecedented discoveries, they would surely have been pleased by them. (1125)

Barsalou, Lawrence. Continuity of the Conceptual System Across Species. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 9/7, 2005. An Emory University psychologist reports new evidence for the pervasive evolutionary emergence of a single cerebral development, maturation, and learning experience from prokaryote to people. Which, if we might allow, reveals a once and future central trunk and vector that stones, molecules and bones seriously misses.

In a recent neuroimaging study of macaque monkeys, Gil-da-Costa and colleagues reported that a distributed circuit of modality-specific properties represents macaques' conceptual knowledge of social situations. The circuit identified shows striking similarities to analogous circuits in humans that represent conceptual knowledge. This parallel suggests that a common architecture underlies the conceptual systems of different species, although with additional systems extending human conceptual abilities significantly. (309)

Barton, R. A. Binocularity and Brain Evolution in Primates. . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 101/10113, 2004. The increased focal convergence of binocular vision was a significant factor in the evolutionary expansion of visual brain structures and the overall size of the brain.

Bassett, Danielle, et al. Dynamic Reconfiguration of Human Brain Networks during Learning. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 108/7641, 2011. As the quotes explain, University of California, Santa Barbara, Oxford University, and University of North Carolina neuroscientists contend that as we think and know, our neural networks shift their topologies and weighted bias as they join in fluid modular arrangements. See also “Dynamic Network Centrality Summarizes Learning in the Human Brain” (arXiv:1207.5047) by a similar team with Bassett, Ernesto Estrada, Sue Grafton, et al. In addition, compare with “The Evolution of Interdisciplinary in Physics Research” by Raj Kumar Pan, et al (Nature Scientific Reports, August 1, 2012) herein where similar active modular networks are described, as if a learning global brain.

Human learning is a complex phenomenon requiring flexibility to adapt existing brain function and precision in selecting new neurophysiological activities to drive desired behavior. These two attributes—flexibility and selection—must operate over multiple temporal scales as performance of a skill changes from being slow and challenging to being fast and automatic. Such selective adaptability is naturally provided by modular structure, which plays a critical role in evolution, development, and optimal network function. Using functional connectivity measurements of brain activity acquired from initial training through mastery of a simple motor skill, we investigate the role of modularity in human learning by identifying dynamic changes of modular organization spanning multiple temporal scales. Our results indicate that flexibility, which we measure by the allegiance of nodes to modules, in one experimental session predicts the relative amount of learning in a future session. We also develop a general statistical framework for the identification of modular architectures in evolving systems, which is broadly applicable to disciplines where network adaptability is crucial to the understanding of system performance. (7641)

Consistent with our hypotheses, we have identified significant modular structure in human brain function during learning over a range of temporal scales: days, hours, and minutes. Modular organization over short temporal scales changed smoothly, suggesting system adaptability. The composition of functional modules displayed temporal flexibility that was modulated by early learning, varied over individuals, and was a significant predictor of learning in subsequent experimental sessions. Furthermore, we developed and reported a general framework for the statistical validation of dynamic modular architectures in arbitrary systems. Additionally, our evidence for adaptive modular organization in global brain activity during learning provides critical insight into the dependence of system performance on underlying architecture. (7646)

Bechtel, William and Leonardo Bich.. Using neurons to maintain autonomy: Learning from C. elegans.. Biosystems. October, 2023. UC San Diego and University of the Basque Country bioscholars provide empirical reasons to qualify the presence of self-serving propensities even in this simplest organism. See also Integrating Multicellular Systems: Physiological Control and Degrees of Biological Individuality by L. Bich in Acta Biotheoretica (72/1, 2024) for more views about cellular organisms.

How biological organisms are autonomous—maintain themselves far from equilibrium through their own activities—requires knowing how they regulate those activities. In multicellular animals, control can be exercised either via endocrine signaling through the vasculature or by sensory neurons. In C. elegans a rudimentary but distributed nervous system relies on chemical and electric signals. to integrate information from multiple sources.. We conclude by considering how a distributed nervous system without a centralized controller is nonetheless adequate for autonomy.

Bielecki, Jan, et al. Associative learning in the box jellyfish Tripedalia cystophor.. Current Biology. Septrmber 22, 2023. Kiel University and University of Copenhagen marine biologists including Anders Garn report the actual presence of innate abilities to gain an environmental awareness and know-how of survival benefit even in these rudimentary stages which lack any semblance of a brain. The work attracted much interest in the science news in Nature. So a 2020s evidence seems to build for a common cognitive repertoire which animate stage which can relatively tap into and avail regardless of their neural. make up. Might our Earthling sapiensphere just now in time also access.

Associative learning has never been unequivocally found with animals outside vertebrates, arthropods, or mollusks. Learning modulates behavior and is imperative for survival. Obstacle avoidance behavior OAB is one of several visually guided behaviors in the box jellyfish with foraging in their mangrove habitat. Using the OAB, we show that box jellyfish performed associative learning (operant conditioning). Since T. cystophora has a dispersed central nervous system, our work challenges the notion that associative learning requires complex neuronal circuitry. Moreover, since Cnidaria is the sister group to Bilateria, it suggests the possibility that advanced neuronal processes are a fundamental property of all nervous systems.

Dr. Garm and his colleagues are curious about the molecular changes that happen in these cells as the animals incorporate new information into their behavior. They wonder, too, whether the capacity to learn is universal among nerve cells, regardless of whether they are part of a brain. It might explain their peculiar persistence in the tree of life. Perhaps the ability to learn is one reason they are still here. (NY Times)

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10  Next  [More Pages]