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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 61 through 75 of 112 found.


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

Earth Life > Common Code

Visentin-Bugoni, Jeferson, et al. Structure, Spatial Dynamics and Stability of Novel Seed Dispersal Mutualistic Networks in Hawai’i. Science. 364/78, 2019. Eight systems ecologists posted in Illinois, Wyoming, New Hampshire, and Honolulu report the presence of common topological forms as alien fauna and flora proceed to invade complex ecosystems. We thus record the presence of an independent mathematical source in universal formative effect.

Increasing rates of human-caused species invasions and extinctions may reshape communities and modify the structure, dynamics, and stability of species interactions. To investigate how such changes affect communities, we performed multiscale analyses of seed dispersal networks on Oahu, Hawaii. Networks consisted exclusively of novel interactions, were largely dominated by introduced species, and exhibited specialized and modular structure at local and regional scales, despite high interaction dissimilarity across communities. Furthermore, the structure and stability of the novel networks were similar to native-dominated communities worldwide. Our findings suggest that the emergence of complex network structure, and interaction patterns may be highly conserved, regardless of species identity and environment. (Abstract)

Earth Life > Nest > Life Origin

Barge, Laura, et al. Redox and pH Gradients Drive Amino Acid Synthesis in Iron Oxyhydroxide Mineral Systemss. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 116/4828, 2019. Cal Tech researchers including Michael Russell detail a probable pathway by which biochemical precursors were able to energetically come together and complexify.

Earth Life > Nest > Life Origin

Garcia, Adrien, et al. The Astrophysical Formation of Asymmetric Molecules and the Emergence of a Chiral Bias. Life. 9/1, 2019. Université Côte d’Azur, CNRS, France, and Aarhus University, Denmark scientists report a persistent proclivity of cosmic nature to form a rich variety of precursor complex biochemicals.

The biomolecular homochirality in living organisms has been investigated for decades, but its origin remains poorly understood. It has been shown that circular polarized light and other energy sources are capable of inducing small enantiomeric excesses in primary biomolecules such as amino acids or sugars. Since the first findings of amino acids in carbonaceous meteorites, a scenario in which essential chiral biomolecules originate in space and are delivered by celestial bodies has arisen. In this review we summarize the discoveries in amino acids, sugars, and organophosphorus compounds in meteorites, comets, and laboratory-simulated interstellar ices. (Abstract excerpt)

Earth Life > Nest > Life Origin

Pascal, Robert. A Possible Non-Biological Reaction Framework for Metabolic Processes on Early Earth. Nature. 569/47, 2019. The University of Montpellier biochemist comments on a paper, Synthesis and Breakdown of Universal Metabolic Precursors Promoted by Iron, in the same issue (569/104) by Kamila Muchowaka, et al (University of Strasbourg) which reports how a network of reactions for converting carbon dioxide into organic compounds could have fostered the advent and advance of original life.

Earth Life > Nest > Life Origin

Villarreal, Luis and Guenther Witzany. That is Life: Communicating RNA Networks from Viruses and Cells in Continuous Interaction. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Online March, 2019. A UC Irvine biologist and a Telos–Philosophische Praxis, Austria philosopher (search each) continue their project to better explain how life’s biomolecular origins came to be. Herein a novel finesse of ribonucleic and deoxyribonucleic acids, along with viral–like modes, is seen to provide a fuller, more accurate reconstruction.

The conserved results of evolution stored in DNA must be read, transcribed, and translated via an RNA‐mediated process for the development and growth of each individual cell. Thus, all living organisms depend on these RNA‐mediated processes. The precellular evolution of RNAs was crucial to the emergence of cellular life. Here we argue that RNA networks and RNA communication can interconnect precellular and cellular levels. With the reemergence of virology in evolution, it became clear that communicating viruses and subviral infectious genetic parasites are bridging these two levels by invading, integrating, coadapting, exapting, and recombining constituent parts in host genomes for cellular requirements in gene regulation and coordination aims. Therefore, a 21st century understanding of life is of an inherently social process based on communicating RNA networks, in which viruses and cells continuously interact. (Abstract excerpts)

Earth Life > Nest > Symbiotic

Bosch, Thomas, et al. Evolutionary “Experiments” in Symbiosis. BioEssays. Online May, 2019. TB, University of Kiel, Karen Guillemin, University of Oregon, and Margaret McFall-Ngai, University of Hawaii propose novel ways to properly and fully perceive the breadth and depth of communal reciprocities that so distinguish the many phases of natural life.

Nature has given us an overwhelming diversity of animals to study, and recent technological advances have greatly accelerated the ability to generate genetic and genomic tools to develop model organisms for research on host–microbe interactions. With the help of such models the authors therefore hope to construct a more complete picture of the mechanisms that underlie crucial interactions in a given metaorganism (entity consisting of a eukaryotic host with all its associated microbial partners). As reviewed here, new knowledge of the diversity of host–microbe interactions found across the animal kingdom will provide new insights into how animals develop, evolve, and succumb to the disease. (Abstract)

Earth Life > Nest > Symbiotic

Serra, Denise, et al. Self-Organization and Symmetry Breaking in Intestinal Organoid Development. Nature. 569/66, 2019. A 13 person team at Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland perform detailed studies which exemplify how cellular life can indeed be known to have a capacity to organize itself during its evolutionary development.

Intestinal organoids are complex three-dimensional structures that mimic the cell-type composition and tissue organization of the intestine by recapitulating the self-organizing ability of cell populations derived from a single intestinal stem cell. Our findings reveal how single cells exposed to a uniform growth-promoting environment have the intrinsic ability to generate emergent, self-organized behaviour that results in the formation of complex multicellular asymmetric structures. (Abstract excerpt)

Earth Life > Nest > Societies

Cavagna, Andrea, et al. Dynamical Renormalization Group Approach to the Collective Behavior of Swarms. arXiv:1905.01227. This is the first of two postings by a six member team of Italian and Argentine systems theorists including Irene Giardina. The second is Renormalization Group Crossover in the Critical Dynamics of Field Theories with Mode Coupling Terms at arXiv:1905.01228 (see quote). As a general review, by since there can only be one extant nature, whether it is variously described by RG, network, complexity, fractal, computational or other methods. By 2019 each version in its way cites a dual node and link-like interactives reciprocity. This innate cosmic vitality is now seen to consistently seek and reside at an optimum critical poise such as brains, animal groupings, or protein webs. By this analysis, once again a deep rooting in condensed matter physics is achieved. As we log in along with Dante Chialvo 2019, since the 1980s when this complexity revolution began, and intimated much earlier, we may finally glimpse the epic achievement *magnum opus) of this universe to human source code.

The success of the theory of critical phenomena is based upon a simple observation: systems with very different microscopic details behave in strikingly similar ways when correlations are sufficiently strong. This experimental fact eventually crossed over into theory with the formulation of the phenomenological scaling laws, whose key idea is that the only relevant scale ruling the spatio-temporal behaviour of a system near its critical point is the correlation length. Eventually, the great conceptual edifice of the Renormalization Group (RG) tied everything together, explaining why microscopically different systems shared so much at the macroscopic level, giving a demonstration of universality through the concept of attractive fixed points, and providing a method to calculate experimentally accessible quantities, most conspicuously the critical exponents. (1905.01228, 1)

Earth Life > Nest > Societies

Su, Qi, et al. Evolutionary Dynamics with Stochastic Game Transitions. arXiv:1905.10269. Harvard University mathematicians including Martin Nowak explain why creaturely groupings seem to have an inherent drive and incentive toward beneficial cooperative behaviors versus negative selfishness. See also Su, Qi, et al Spatial Reciprocity in the Evolution of Cooperation by Qi Su, et al in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. (Vol.286/Iss.1900, 2019) for another analysis that reaches a similar conclusion.

The environment has a strong influence on a population's evolutionary dynamics. Driven by both intrinsic and external factors, the environment is subject to continuous change in nature. To model an ever-changing environment, we develop a framework of evolutionary dynamics with stochastic game transitions, where individuals' behaviors together with the games they play in one time step decide the games to be played next time step. We then study the evolution of cooperation in structured populations and find a simple rule: natural selection can favor cooperation over defection. We show that even if each individual game opposes cooperation, allowing for a transition between them can result in a favorable outcome for cooperation. Our work suggests that interdependence between the environment and the individuals' behaviors may explain the large-scale cooperation in realistic systems even when it is expensive relative to its benefit. (Abstract excerpt)

Earth Life > Nest > Societies

Sueur, Cedric, et al. Mechanisms of Network Evolution: A Focus on Socioecological Factors. Primates. 60/3, 2019. This is a lead article in an issue on Social Networks Analyses in Primates: A Multilevel Perspective by University of Strasbourg, Kyoto University, Sun Yat-sen University and University of Agder, Norway system primatologists. They report that simian groupings, as they formed viable niches, can be found to spontaneously exhibit similar interconnective linkages as most everywhere else. See also in this issue Social Style and Resilience of Macaques Networks by Ivan Puga-Gonzalez, et al and Using Multiplex Networks to Capture the Multidimensional nature of Social Structure by Sandra Smith-Aguilar.

Since group-living animals are embedded in a network of social interactions, socioecological factors may not only affect individual behaviors but also group-level social interactions, i.e., the network structure. These co-variations between socioecological factors, individual behavior, and group-level structure are important to study since they may strongly influence animal health outcomes and reproductive success. This paper reviews how causal factors (food distribution, predation, and infectious agent risk), via intermediary mechanisms (stress, information sharing, and mating system), may affect individual behavior and social network topology. We conclude that studies focusing on how well networks resist changing conditions might provide a better understanding of underlying individual behavior, a process we have called network evolution. Evolutionary processes may favor a group phenotypic composition, thus a network topology, aka “collective social niche construction”. (Abstract excerpts)

Earth Life > Nest > Ecosystems

Tu, Chengyi, et al. Reconciling Cooperation, Biodiversity and Stability in Complex Ecological Communities. Nature Scientific Reports. 9/5580, 2019. With an opening nod to Alfred Lotka and Vito Volterra from the early 1900s, Chengyi Tu, UC Berkeley, Samir Suweis, Marco Formentin, and Amos Maritan, University of Padova, and Jacopo Grilli, International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste (search names) continue to finesse mathematical theories which are well exemplified by active creaturely groupings. It is again averred that cooperative relations are most important for achieving viable success.

Earth Life > Nest > Ecosystems

Zhao, Li-Xia, et al. The Shaping Role of Self-Organization: Linking Vegetation Patterning, Plant Traits and Ecosystem Functioning. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Vol.286/Iss.1900, 2019. When this section was first posted in the early 2000s, perceptions of self-organized natural complex dynamics were just beginning to dawn. A decade and a half later East China Normal University, Nanjing University, and Utrecht University ecologists contribute to recognitions of their broad scale, formative, beneficial presence. Notable factors in this achievement involve better (remote) sensing techniques, along with global research analysis and communications.

Self-organized spatial patterns are increasingly recognized for their contribution to ecosystem functioning, productivity, stability, and species diversity in terrestrial as well as marine ecosystems. Most studies of self-organization have focused on regular patterns. However, there is an abundance of patterns which are not strictly regular. Understanding of how they are formed and affect ecosystem function is crucial for the broad acceptance of self-organization in ecological theory. Field observations and experiments have revealed that self-organization involves a range of plant traits, including shoot-to-root ratio, rhizome orientation, node number and length, and enhances vegetation productivity. Moreover, patchiness in self-organized salt marshes can support a microhabitat for macrobenthos promoting a spatial heterogeneity of species richness. Our results extend existing concepts of self-organization and its effects on productivity and biodiversity to the spatial irregular patterns observed in many systems. (Abstract edits)

Earth Life > Nest > Gaia

Doolittle, W. Ford. Making Evolutionary Sense of Gaia. Trends in Ecology & Evolution. Online May, 2019. The veteran Dalhousie University biologist has long disavowed this hypothesis of a steady self-regulating biosphere. It just does not square with or be explained by standard Darwinian selection. However as this vital theory has steadily grown by way of robust study and application, the author offers a novel rationale, much to his credit, as to how this presence is indeed possible.

The Gaia hypothesis in a strong and frequently criticized form assumes that global homeostatic mechanisms have evolved by natural selection favoring the maintenance of conditions suitable for life. Traditional neoDarwinists hold this to be impossible in theory. But the hypothesis does make sense if one treats the clade that comprises the biological component of Gaia as an individual and allows differential persistence – as well as differential reproduction – to be an outcome of evolution by natural selection. Recent developments in theoretical and experimental evolutionary biology may justify both maneuvers. (Abstract)

Earth Life > Nest > Gaia

Jabr, Ferris. The Earth is just as Alive as You Are. New York Times. April 21, 2019. On Easter Sunday, a science writer makes a vibrant case, braced by new findings such as how even microbes can have an effect on plate tectonics, that the Gaia theory of a self-maintaining biosphere ought to be fully revived. As readers know, the view that living systems have long acted together to maintain a conducive world has had both advocates and detractors (see Michael Ruse). As so many stresses beset planet and person, maybe it is time to realize that our rarest abode is in actual fact a living organism.

In his early writing, Dr. Lovelock occasionally granted Gaia too much agency, which encouraged the misperception that the living Earth was yearning for some optimal state. But the essence of his hypothesis — the idea that life transforms and in many cases regulates the planet — proved prescient and profoundly true. We and all living creatures are not just inhabitants of Earth, we are Earth — an outgrowth of its physical structure and an engine of its global cycles. Although some scientists still recoil at the mention of Gaia, these truths have become part of mainstream science.

Like many living creatures, Earth has a highly organized structure, a membrane and daily rhythms; it consumes, stores and transforms energy; and if asteroid-hitching microbes or space-faring humans colonize other worlds, who is to say that planets are not capable of procreation? If Earth breathes, sweats and quakes — if it births zillions of organisms that devour, transfigure and replenish its air, water and rock — and if those creatures and their physical environments evolve in tandem, then why shouldn’t we think of our planet as alive?

Humans are the brain — the consciousness — of the planet. We are Earth made aware of itself. Viewed this way, our ecological responsibility could not be clearer. By fuming greenhouse gases, we have not simply changed the climate; we have critically wounded a global life form and severely disrupted its biological rhythms. No other member of this living assembly has our privileged perspective. No one else can see the sinews and vessels of our planetary body. Only we can choose to help keep Earth alive.

Earth Life > Sentience > Animal Intelligence

Marino, Lori. Thinking Chickens: A Review of Cognition, Emotion, and Behavior in the Domestic Chicken. Animal Cognition. 20/2, 2017. The founding director of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy in Kanab, Utah provides a most thorough study and appreciation to date about a personal and communal repertoire that this avian icon actually possesses.

Domestic chickens are members of an order, Aves, which has been the focus of a revolution in our understanding of neuroanatomical, cognitive, and social complexity. At least some birds are now known to be on par with many mammals in terms of their level of intelligence, emotional sophistication, and social interaction. Yet, views of chickens have largely remained unrevised. Here I examine scientific data on the leading edge of cognition, emotions, personality, and sociality in chickens, exploring such self-awareness, cognitive bias, social learning and self-control. My overall conclusion is that chickens are just as cognitively, emotionally and socially complex as most other birds and mammals in many areas, and that there is a need for further noninvasive comparative behavioral research about their intelligence. (Abstract)

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