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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
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Recent Additions: New and Updated Entries in the Past 60 Days
Displaying entries 31 through 45 of 50 found.


Earth Life Emergence: Development of Body, Brain, Selves and Societies

Earth Life > Nest > Life Origin

Deamer, David. ssembling Life: How Can Life Begin on Earth and Other Habitable Planets? New York: Oxford University Press, 2019. The veteran UC Santa Cruz origins researches continues his lifelong flow of frontier volumes with ever better retrospective explanations. See also his Origin of Life: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford, 2020) for even more insights.

Assembling Life, David Deamer continues to address how did non-living organic compounds assemble into the first forms of primitive cellular life? What was the source of those compounds and the energy that produced the nucleic acids? Did life begin in the ocean or in fresh water on terrestrial land masses? Deamer describes organic chemicals that were likely to be available in the prebiotic environment and the volcanic conditions that could drive their complexity. In a wider view the goal is to understand how life can begin on any habitable planet.

Earth Life > Nest > Life Origin

Fahrenbach, Albert and Quoc Phuong Tran. Prebiotic Metabolism gets a Boost. Nature Chemsitry. 12/11, 2020. University of New South Wales biochemists introduce a special issue on the latest research with entries such as: A Metal-free Ancestral Analogue of the Krebs cycle Composed of Alpha-ketoacids by Trent Stubbs, et al. and Harnessing Chemical Free Energy for Activation and Joining of Prebiotic Building Block by Ziwei Liu, et al.

It’s generally assumed that primitive forms of cellular life arose from nucleic acids and peptides compartmentalized within vesicles, along with a non-enzymatic protometabolism. So then how could this complex chemistry arise in the first place? To address this question, prebiotic chemists have explored non-enzymatic pathways for production of these biomolecules under conditions that are consistent with an early-Earth environment, and represent various stages along the progression from non-life to protolife amd to life as we recognize it today. In this issue of Nature Chemistry, three studies demonstrate such non-enzymatic chemistry that can point towards possible mechanisms,at life’s progressive emergence. (982)

Earth Life > Nest > Symbiotic

Curatolta, Agnese, et al. Cooperative Pattern Formation in Multi-component Bacterial Systems through Reciprocal Motility Regulation. Nature Physics. 16/11, 2020. University of Paris, University of Hong Kong, and Shenzhen Institute of Synthetic Biology biomedical researchers provide another indication this current year of how much since 2000 that cellular, and evolutionary science has adopted the formative presence of complex self-organized dynamics. But as yet without an integral organic revolution (which this site tries to report) we are not able to appreciate and avail its natural procreativity. But we note that this biological article is in a physics journal, so progress is underway.

Self-organization is a prerequisite of biological complexity. At the population level, it amounts to spontaneously sorting different individuals through space and time. Here, we reveal a simple mechanism by which different populations of motile cells can self-organize through a reciprocal control of their motilities. (Abstract excerpt))

Self-organization is a hallmark of living systems that is observed at all scales. Coordinated behaviours are indeed required to regulate the spatial arrangements of specialized cell types to generate tissue patterning and form complex body layouts, but they are also crucial to the global organization of populations. In biology, metabolic interactions or competition for food offer standard self-organization mechanisms, which have been shown to be complemented by motility-based mechanisms such as chemotaxis. (1152)

Earth Life > Nest > Ecosystems

Mehr, Samuel, et al. Origins of Music in Credible Signaling. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Online August, 2020. With some 300 references into the 20th century, Harvard, UCLA, and Washington State University (Edward Hagen) paleolinguists propose this latest clarification of how primate and hominin sing and sign fostered relative familial and communal communications. With a nod to Robin Dunbar and others, the vital presence of a nested scale of social groupings becomes evident. See Music as a Coevolved System for Social Bonding by Patrick Savage, et al in this journal issue.

How did music evolve? We show that prevailing views on the evolution of music are inadequate. We argue that music evolved as a credible signal in at least two contexts: coalitional interactions and infant care. Specifically, we propose that (1) the production and reception of coordinated, entrained rhythmic displays is a co-evolved system for credibly signaling coalition strength, size, and coordination ability; and (2) the production and reception of infant-directed song is a co-evolved system for credibly signaling parental attention to secondarily altricial infants. The adaptations provide a foundation for the cultural evolution of music in its actual domain, yielding the diversity of musical forms and musical behaviors found worldwide. (Abstract excerpt)

Earth Life > Sentience > Animal Intelligence

Kuo, Tzu-Hsin and Chuan-Chin Chiao. Learned Valuation during Forage Decision-making in Cuttlefish. Royal Society Open Science. December, 2020. National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan neuroscientists describe the many clever, thought through devices that this cephalopod uses to find and secure food. Their practice of “optimal foraging theory” indicates a heretofore unexpected level of aware intelligence in this species. See also Cuttlefish Took Something Like a Marshmallow Test by Veronique Greenwood in the New York Times for December 30, 2020.

Earth Life > Sentience > Animal Intelligence

Pfeffer, Sarah and Harald Wolf. Anthropod Spatial Cognition. Animal Cognition. 23/11, 2020. Ulm University neurobiologists introduce a special issue about the extraordinary acute capacities of these invertebrates whose appropriate sophistication seems to be far beyond their rudimentary neural facility.

Arthropod insects and crustaceans show a diverse repertoire of cognitive feats. Despite their smaller brains, the cognitive abilities of arthropods are comparable to, or may even exceed, those of some vertebrates. Miniature brains often provide parsimonious but smart solutions for complex behaviours or ecologically relevant problems. Arthropod spatial cognition studies long concentrated on the honeybee, However, myriad species worldwide, have a broad diversity of lifestyles, ecology, and cognitive abilities. This special issue compiles four review articles and ten original research reports from a spectrum of arthropod species. They range from the well-studied hymenopterans, and ants in particular, to chelicerates and crustaceans. (Abstract excerpt)

Earth Life > Sentience > Evolution Language

Chen, Zhuo and John Wiens. The Origins of Acoustic Communication in Vertebrates.. Nature Communications. 11/369, 2020. Henan Normal University, China and University of Arizona behavioral ecologists parse ways that animals of every diverse phylum incessantly chatter convey semiotic signals in one form or another. In New England migrating geese are ever honking to each other. Dolphins constantly whistle to maintain pods. In some broader way it seems that ecosmic nature is trying to say something to itself, which is finally up to we planetary peoples.

Acoustic communication is crucial to humans and other tetrapods including birds, frogs, crocodilians, and mammals. However, large-scale patterns in its evolution are largely unstudied. Here, we study the origins of acoustic communication in terrestrial vertebrates using phylogenetic methods and show they are much associated with nocturnal activity and is strongly conserved over time. Finally, we find that acoustic communication evolved independently in most major tetrapod groups, often with ancient origins (~100–200 million years ago). (Abstract excerpt)

Earth Life > Sentience > Evolution Language

Chen, Zhuo and John Wiens. The Origins of Acoustic Communication in Vertebrates. Nature Communications. 11/369, 2020. Henan Normal University, China and University of Arizona behavioral ecologists parse ways that animals of every phylum chatter in one form or another to convey semiotic signals. In my New England migrating geese keep honking to each other. Dolphins constantly whistle to maintain pods. In some broader way it may seem that an animate nature is trying to say something to itself, which now involves our planetary selves.

Acoustic communication is crucial to humans and other tetrapods including birds, frogs, crocodilians, and mammals. However, large-scale patterns in its evolution are largely unstudied. Here, we study the origins of acoustic communication in terrestrial vertebrates using phylogenetic methods and show they are much associated with nocturnal activity and is strongly conserved over time. Finally, we find that acoustic communication evolved independently in most major tetrapod groups, often with ancient origins (~100–200 million years ago). (Abstract excerpt)

Earth Life > Individuality

Ball, Philip. Life with Purpose. /aeon. November 12, 2020. this popular online site, the prolific British science writer makes a point that organisms, and we peoples, ought to be better viewed as distinguished an autonomous agency. Citing the work of Stuart Kauffman and Philip Clayton before, and Gavin Crooks and Susanne Still lately, as life’s emergent, oriented evolution becomes known as a self-organizing process, its member beings thus gain a capacity as distinct selves actively engaged in its advance.

The crucial point of all this is that agency – like consciousness, and indeed life itself – isn’t just something you can perceive by squinting at the fine details. Nor is it some second-order effect, with particles behaving ‘as if’ they’re agents, when enough of them get together. Agents are genuine causes in their own right. Those who object can do so only because we’ve so far failed to find adequate theories to explain how agency comes about.

Earthomo Sapiens: A Major Evolutionary Transition in Individuality

wumanomics > Integral Persons > Somatic

Zhu, Meng and Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz. Principles of Self-Organization of the Mammalian Embryo. Cell. 183/6, 2020. Cambridge University developmental physiologists report their latest findings which could be seen as well indicative of a 21st century scientific revolution to view life’s morphogenesis as due to this dynamic, Turing-like mathematical generation. See also from M Z-G’s lab Self-organization of Stem Cells into Embryos by Marta Shahbazi, et al in Science (364/948, 2019, herein), and The Dance of Life: The New Science of How a Single Cell becomes a Human Being. by and M. Zernicka-Goetz and Roger Highfield. (Basic Books, 2020).


Early embryogenesis is a conserved and self-organized process. In the mammalian embryo, the potential for self-organization is manifested in its extraordinary developmental plasticity, allowing a correctly patterned embryo to arise despite experimental perturbation. The underlying mechanisms enabling such regulative development have long been a topic of study. In this Review, we summarize our current understanding of the self-organizing principles behind the regulative nature of the early mammalian embryo. We argue that geometrical constraints, feedback between mechanical and biochemical factors, and cellular heterogeneity are all required to ensure the developmental plasticity of mammalian embryo development. (Abstract)

wumanomics > Integral Persons > Cerebral Form

Abbott, Larry, et al. The Mind of a Mouse. Cell. 182/6, 2020. Twenty-five senior neuroscientists including Doris Tsao, Sebastian Seung and Terrence Sejnowski view 34 years of progress in brain studies since the original 1986 “Mind of a Worm” paper by way of rudimentary imaging and without computers. A main article graphic Scaling Connectomic Reconstruction from a Worm to a Mouse: A 10-Million-Fold Increase in Brain Volume well can now well show how life’s developmental evolution advances in cerebral size and informed capacity.

Large scientific projects in genomics and astronomy are influential not because they answer any single question but because they enable investigation of continuously arising new questions from the same data-rich sources. Advances in automated mapping of the brain’s synaptic connections (connectomics) suggest that the complicated circuits underlying brain function are ripe for analysis. We discuss benefits of mapping a mouse brain at the level of synapses. (Abstract)

wumanomics > Integral Persons > Cerebral Form

Bassett, Danielle, et al. Reflections on the Past Two Decades of Neuroscience. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. September, 2020. Eighteen researchers with prior papers in this journal including Kathleen Cullen, Martha Farah and Hailan Hu were asked for a retrospective view. We cite from D. Bassett’s response because it alludes to a popular generic method as a two step sequence which first identifies the necessary component pieces, and then the equally real, more important, associations in between, which altogether can be seen to carry informative content.

As a practice in the acquisition and curation of knowledge, neuroscience has expanded upon prior paradigms. Two pioneering paths of formal study now extend: that of neural representations and of network systems. The former considers the pattern of activity across neural units that encode an object, concept or state of information, while the other views the pattern of connections between neural units that can transmit information and the modulate neural networks. The twin paths of representation and transmission move beyond the mapping of a country’s borders, to record a city’s statistics and the transportation networks along which traffic flows. (Bassett)

wumanomics > Integral Persons > Conscious Knowledge

Perl, Yonaton, et al. Non-equilibrium Brain Dynamics as a Signature of Consciousness. arXiv:2012.10792. Eight neurophysicists posted in Argentina, Belgium, Germany the UK, and Spain including Enzo Tagliazucchi describe evident neuroimaging parallels between dynamical systems theories and recorded states of aware cognitive consciousness.

The cognitive functions of human and non-human primates rely on distributed neural assemblies. As such, it seems unlikely that cognition can be supported by an overall brain dynamics at the proximity of thermodynamic equilibrium. We confirmed this hypothesis by investigating electro-corticography data from primates undergoing unconscious states (sleep and anesthesia), and magnetic resonance imaging data from humans. All states of reduced consciousness unfolded at higher proximity to equilibrium dynamics than conscious wakefulness. Our results establish non-equilibrium macroscopic brain dynamics as a robust signature of consciousness, opening the way for the theoretic characterization of cognition and awareness by way of statistical mechanics. (Abstract excerpt)

wumanomics > Phenomenon > Physiology

Li, Yi, et al. . Incorporating Textual Network Improves Chinese Stock Market Analysis. Nature Scientific Reviews. 10/20944, 2020. At the close of this year, Shanxi University of Finance and Economics analysts offer another cross-correlation between diverse subject areas. The title network model which is broadly used to parse literary documents is similarly applied to analyze financial stock transactions. Our interest is to note that nature’s network dynamic geometry, in turn, can be considered to have a literary essence. See also Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking in Quantum Finance by Ivan Arraut, et al in Europhysics Letters (131/6, 2020) for a companion study and Yang-Hui He’s paper Universe as Big Data (arXiv:2011.14442) for generally the same idea.

wumanomics > Phenomenon > Physiology

Lobo, Jose, et al. Urban Science: Integrated Theory from the First Cities to Sustainable Metropolises. SSRN Electronic Journal. January, 2020. A 23 page survey by some 35 co-authors such as Marina Alberti, Marc Barthelemy, Geoffrey West and Hyejin Youn provide an initial scoping out of this new subject, which it seems to me might well be treating these concentrated, hyper-vibrant human habitations as a further stage of cellular anatomy and metabolism. See also in regard Spatial Dynamics of Complex Urban Systems within an Evolutionary Theory Frame by Raimbault, Juste and Denise Pumain at arXiv:2010.14890.

The SSRN, formerly known as Social Science Research Network, is both a repository for preprints and an international journal for the rapid dissemination of scholarly research in the social sciences and humanities. (https://www.ssrn.com/index.cfm/en)

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