V. Life's Corporeal Evolution Develops, Encodes and Organizes Itself: An EarthWinian Genesis Synthesis
F. Universal Gestation: Phylogeny and Ontogeny
de Waal, Frans. The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society. New York: Harmony Books, 2009. Noted more in Animal Intelligence, after a lifetime of field studies, de Waal avers that primate abilities such as mirror self-recognition appear and evolve in similar ways to how human children each learn and gain a sense of their selves.
Donald, Merlin. The Definition of Human Nature. Rees, Dai and Steven Rose, eds. The New Brain Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Reviewed more in Brain Complexity and Function, it is noted here as a case for recapitulation because children proceed to learn by the same, sequential path trod by humanity as a whole.
Ekstig, Borje. Condensation of Developmental Stages and Evolution. BioScience. 44/3, 1994. Which occur as a recapitulation due to the continuous shortening of developmental stages. A straight line can then be drawn when the age of appearance of each trait in an organism is plotted on a graph against an evolutionary age for the particular trait.
Falk, Dean. Finding Our Tongues: Mothers, Infants, and the Origins of Language. New York: Basic Books, 2009. Another imaginative work by our grand motherly “evolutionary anthropologist” who now doubles as a Senior Scholar at the Santa Fe School for Advanced Research and Research Professor at Florida State University. Search the site for other innovative writings. Here we especially note an endorsement within an evo-devo view of evolution as development whence, beyond Ernst Haeckel, that with regard to linguistic skills personal ontogeny and species phylogeny must follow similar paths.
Scientists have long theorized that abstract, symbolic thinking evolved to help humans negotiate such classically male activities as hunting, tool making, and warfare, and eventually developed into spoken language. In Finding Our Tongues, Dean Falk overturns this established idea, offering a daring new theory that springs from a simple observation: parents all over the world, in all cultures, talk to infants by using baby talk or “Motherese.” Falk shows how Motherese developed as a way of reassuring babies when mothers had to put them down in order to do work. The melodic vocalizations of early Motherese not only provided the basis of language but also contributed to the growth of music and art.
Fell, David and Andreas Wagner. The Small World of Metabolism. Nature Biotechnology. 18/11, 2000. New insights from the science of biochemical networks.
If, early in the evolution of life, metabolic networks grew by adding new metabolites, then the most highly connected metabolites should also be the phylogenetically oldest…This potential link with evolutionary history is consistent with Morowitz’s claim that intermediary metabolism recapitulates the evolution of biochemistry. (1121)
Gibson, Kathleen. The Ontogeny and Evolution of the Brain, Cognition and Language. Andrew Lock and Charles Peters, eds. Handbook of Human Symbolic Evolution. Oxford: Clarendon, 1997. On the parallels between how a child learns language and the way our human species began to speak.
Givon, Talmy. The Genesis of Syntactic Complexity. Amsterdam: Johns Benjamins, 2009. In a richly considered work on language evolution, the emeritus University of Oregon linguist perceives broad parallels between how individual children and social hominids learned to speak and remember.
Child language acquisition, at ca. 9 months, starts essentially from a launching pad that is strikingly similar to pre-human primate cognition. That is, with a rich and rapidly expanding pre-linguistic cognitive representation, both semantic and episodic. (314)
Gopnik, Alison. Theories, Language, and Culture. Bowerman, M. and S. Levinson, eds. Language Acquisition and Conceptual Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Psychologist Gopnik finds an intriguing congruence between a child’s learning process and the course of scientific understanding. By an “interactionist” view, the previous options of nativism, empiricism, or constructivism can be joined into a common “theory theory.” As a corollary, Benjamin Whorf’s hypothesis that a culture’s style of language influences how its members perceive reality can be readmitted through crosslinguistic studies whence Korean speakers are found to emphasize relational verbs vs. an English focus on objective nouns.
Gottfried, Gail and Susan Gelman. Developing Domain-Specific Causal-Explanatory Frameworks: The Role of Insides and Immanence. Cognitive Development. 20/1, 2005. In agreement with Inagaki and Hatano (below), Pomona College and University of Michigan psychologists find young children to be endowed with beliefs in immanent vital energies from which life, nature and persons arise and exemplify. However a concluding paragraph (quote) says that this conviction is much at odds with the Darwinian version they will encounter in school, which causes a deep contradiction lasting into adulthood. Here is a personal capsule of an historic original organic milieu and a later machine paradigm which drains the life from body and soul.
This analysis has implications for the ongoing debate regarding whether children undergo
Gould, Stephen Jay. Ontogeny and Phylogeny. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997. The classic statement of their relation which clarified its history, sorted definitions and prepared the ground for this increasingly valid association.
Gould, Stephen Jay. Ontogeny and Phylogeny - Revisited and Reunited. BioEssays. 14/4, 1992. An update which reviews new evidence and also goes on to suggest that genetic homologies and a scale of increasing specificity revives the idea of a common archetypal plan for animal life.
Greenspan, Stanley and Stuart Shanker. The First Idea: How Symbols, Language, and Intelligence Evolved From Our Primate Ancestors to Modern Humans. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2004. A child psychologist and physician (Greenspan) and a philosopher of language and artificial intelligence (Shanker), both leaders in their field, achieve a breakthrough synthesis of individual and evolutionary behavioral and cognitive development. The first advance is to conceive a 16 stage sequence of “Intellectual Growth and Transformations of Emotions During the Course of Life” from earliest infancy to mature adulthood. This is said to expand the Piagetian scale which only deals with logic functions. A second thesis is that its crucial generative agency is the quality and duration of “co-regulated emotional interactions” between a child and mother, father or caregiver. By extensive studies of marmosets, bonobos, chimpanzees and so on the emergence of intelligence and symbolic speech from earliest primates through the hominids to homo sapiens is then seen to occur by the same process. As a result, a strong parallel is claimed between personal ontogeny and the phylogeny of humankind. A final section advises “A Psychology of Global Interdependency” whereof our intense worldwide society needs to soon reach a reflective stage of common, shared wisdom.
Through our studies of nonhuman primates and a review of the fossil record, we will also demonstrate that what takes a human baby two years to learn took our human ancestors millions of years. Remarkably, however, we can trace the same steps in both. (2) The child becomes more reflective and forms a symbolic sense of “self” and “other” that provides the basis for reality testing. A parallel progression can be glimpsed in the fossil trail left by our early modern human ancestors. (167)