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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
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V. Life's Corporeal Evolution Encodes and Organizes Itself: An EarthWinian Genesis Synthesis

G. Universal Gestation: Phylogeny and Ontogeny

Singer, Wolf. Consciousness and the Binding Problem. Pedro Marijuan, ed. Cajal and Consciousness. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2001. Similar modes of perception and thought lead to a general accord between individual and evolutionary brain development.

Tomasello, Michael and Amrisha Vaish. Origins of Human Cooperation and Morality. Annual Review of Psychology. 64/231, 2013. By experimental comparisons of great apes and human children, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology developmental psychologists find basic ontogeny-phylogeny parallels with regard to early tendencies for mutual collaboration and prosocially motivated interactions, which lead to more individualist, broadly “cultural” behaviors.

From an evolutionary perspective, morality is a form of cooperation. Cooperation requires individuals either to suppress their own self-interest or to equate it with that of others. We review recent research on the origins of human morality, both phylogenetic (research with apes) and ontogenetic (research with children). For both time frames we propose a two-step sequence: first a second-personal morality in which individuals are sympathetic or fair to particular others, and second an agent-neutral morality in which individuals follow and enforce group-wide social norms. Human morality arose evolutionarily as a set of skills and motives for cooperating with others, and the ontogeny of these skills and motives unfolds in part naturally and in part as a result of sociocultural contexts and interactions. (Abstract)

Tomasello, Michael, et al. Two Key Steps in the Evolution of Human Cooperation: The Interdependence Hypothesis. Current Anthropology. 53/6, 2012. Noted more in Appearance of Homo Sapiens, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology researchers, akin to Jean-Pierre Changeux above, accept and employ an evident, obvious, recapitulation between the ontogeny of human children and great ape phylogeny.

In support of our hypotheses, we focus on two sources of evidence not common in anthropology. First, we invoke experimental studies, many from our own laboratory, that compare the cognitive and motivational skills of humans, mostly young children, and their nearest great ape relatives (as representative, in a very general way, of the last common ancestor). We show that even young children are adapted for collaborative activities in a way that other great apes are not. Second, we also in some cases invoke human ontogenetic sequences as suggestive of potential phylogenetic sequences, for example, that young children in fact (and possibly of logical necessity) learn to collaborate with other individuals in concrete situations before they construct more abstract group-level phenomena such as social norms and institutions. (674)

Toomela, Aaro. Development of Symbol Meaning and the Emergence of the Semiotically Mediated Mind. Toomela, Aaro, ed. Cultural Guidance in the Development of the Human Mind. Westport, CT: Ablex Publishing, 2003. In this volume from the Advances in Child Development within Culturally Structured Environments series edited by Jaan Valsiner, a University of Tartu, Estonia, psychologist advocates a broad parallel between the evolutionary ability to acquire and act upon cognitive representations and how each infant and child learns and assimilates their culture. An allusion is made that just as life’s course began with a single cell, so does each person’s gestation. In this regard, a ‘universal’ repetition, the same pathway, can be seen to distinguish phylo-, onto-, and micro-genesis.

Another interesting direction where this theory can be moved is connection the theory of mental development in ontogenesis with the cultural phylogenesis. Even though the idea of recapitulation is rejected in modern psychology, it can be revived again. One line of evidence for recapitulation can be based on empirical data. Analysis of the development of visual arts in culture exactly follows the same stages identified in the ontogenesis. (200-201) Another line of support for the idea of recapitulation is purely theoretical. Both phylogenesis and ontogenesis of the mind begin from the structurally identical state, an ability to respond to individual sensory attributes. The mechanism of development is also exactly the same. Both culture and individual can develop only in one way – through constructing representations on the basis of active interaction with the environment. Consequently, if mental development begins from structurally the same mental state and proceeds by the same general mechanism, it should be possible to see recapitulation of mental phylogenesis in mental ontogenesis. (201)

Uesaka, Masahiro and Naoki Irie. Beyond Recapitulation: Past, Present and Future.. Journal of Experimental Zoology B. 338/1-2, 2022. Laboratory for Evolutionary Morphology, RIKEN Center, Kobe, Japan and University of Tokyo system biologists introduce this double issue as a latest 19th century to 21st century, once and future, scientific review as this persistent, obvious affinity gains a new evidential credibility. A prime basis has been a historic reunification of macro evolutionary and micro developmental processes. In addition, as the section reports, strong parallels have also been identified for cerebral activities, language learnings, cultural artifacts and more. Some papers are How can Recapitulation be Reconciled with Modern Concepts of Evolution? by Shigeru Kuratani, et al and The Biogenetic Law and the Gastraea: From Ernst Haeckel’s Discoveries to Contemporary Views by Georgy Levit, et al.

Zelditch, Miriam, ed. Beyond Heterochrony: The Evolution of Development. New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001. In the effort to reunite embryology and evolution, while changes in the rate or timing of development (heterochrony) are important, we need to consider other factors such as heterotopy, changes in embryonic locations, to make further progress.

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