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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
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Genesis Vision
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Earth Life Emerge
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Recent Additions: New and Updated Entries in the Past 60 Days
Displaying entries 76 through 90 of 131 found.

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

Earth Life > Nest > Homo Sapiens

Mounier, Aurelien and Marta Mirazon Lahr. Deciphering African Late Middle Pleistocene Hominin Diversity and the Origin of Our Species. Nature Communications. 10/3406, 2019. Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies, University of Cambridge anthropologists avail graphic computational morphings to better serve our Anthropocene reconstructions of the sapient beings whom altogether got us to this point. The work merited a New York Times review by Carl Zimmer. Scientists Find the Skull of Humanity’s Ancestor, on a Computer (Sept. 10, 2019).

The origin of Homo sapiens remains a matter of debate. Here we use a phylogenetic modelling method to predict possible morphologies of a last common ancestor of all modern humans, which we compare to LMP African fossils. Our results support a complex process for the evolution of H. sapiens, with the recognition of different, geographically localised, populations and lineages in Africa. Based on the available fossils, H. sapiens appears to have originated from the coalescence of South and, possibly, East-African source populations, while North-African fossils may represent a population which introgressed into Neandertals during the LMP. (Abstract excerpt)

Earth Life > Nest > Homo Sapiens

Overmann, Karenleigh and Frederick Coolidge, eds. Squeezing Minds from Stones: Cognitive Archaeology and the Evolution of the Human Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019. This volume is a 40 year review of the title academic field which broadly studies, in addition to fossils, a recovery of hominin cerebral and communal experience. It was conceived by Thomas Wynn, now at the University of Colorado and a coauthor, from his idea that stone tools, carvings, along with markings, could serve this task, as it surely has. Among chapters, we note Homo Artifex by Dietrich Stout, Sticks, Stones, and the Origins of Sapience by Philip Bernard and The Origin of Cumulative Culture by Miriam Haidle. Working themes which run through are Robin Dunbar’s social brain, and niche construction via an extended evolutionary model. See especially In Three Minds by Cory Stade and Clive Gamble, reviewed herein.

Cognitive archaeology is a relatively new interdisciplinary science that uses cognitive and psychological models to explain archeological artifacts like stone tools, figurines, and art. Squeezing Minds From Stones is a collection of essays from early pioneers in the field, like archaeologists Thomas Wynn and Iain Davidson, and evolutionary primatologist William McGrew, to 'up and coming' newcomers like Shelby Putt, Ceri Shipton, Mark Moore, James Cole, Natalie Uomini, and Lana Ruck. Their essays address a wide variety of cognitive archaeology topics, including the value of experimental archaeology, primate archaeology, the intent of ancient tool makers, and how they may have lived and thought.

Earth Life > Nest > Homo Sapiens

Stade, Cory and Clive Gamble. In Three Minds: Extending Cognitive Archaeology with the Social Brain. Overmann, Karenleigh and Frederick Coolidge, eds. Squeezing Minds from Stones. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019. In this major volume reviewed herein, University of Southampton scholars (search CG) propose a triune cerebral emphasis of Rational, Experiential, and Relational functions. Altogether, they serve a materially based communal cognition (which might seen as left, right, and whole brain/mind phases). By another view, a member/group reciprocity, in some early ubuntu way, quite aids sustenance and survival.

Earth Life > Sentience > Brain Anatomy

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)

Earth Life > Sentience > Brain Anatomy

Karten, Harvey. Vertebrate Brains and Evolutionary Connectomics: On the Origins of the Mammalian Neocortex. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 370/0060.2015, 2015. The veteran UC San Diego neurophysician continues his flow of findings that while animal classes differ, persistent commonalities can be discerned by the latest sophisticated analysis, aka cerebral connectomics over time. See Morphological Evolution of the Vertebrate Forebrain: From Mechanical to Cellular Processes by Francisco Aboitiz and Juan Montiel (herein) in Evolution & Development (21/6, 2019) for similar confirmations.

Earth Life > Sentience > Brain Anatomy

Lyon, Pamela. Of What is “Minimal Cognition” the Half-Baked Version? Adaptive Behavior. Online September, 2019. A Flinders University, Adelaide natural philosopher (search) seeks to counter the popular use of this phrase for an early advent of neural faculties. She advises a better appreciation beyond marking any prior time when sensory abilities did not exist or were not present at all. Relative sentience does not and can not spring from insensate nothingness, it must be a natural, incarnate quality. See also Conditions for Minimal Intelligence Across Eukaryota by Paco Calvo and Frantisek Baluska in Frontiers in Psychology and Evolutionary Convergence and Biological Embodied Cognition by Fred Keijzer in Interface Focus (7/20160123, 2017).

“Minimal cognition” is used in certain sectors of the cognitive sciences to make a kind of ontological claim: that a function operating in organisms living today is not a fully fledged version of that function, but, rather, exhibits the minimal requirements for whatever it is, properly conceived. This article argues that “minimal cognition” and “proto-cognitive” were introduced at the turn of this century by researchers seeking to learn directly from evolved behavior, ecology and physiology. An alternative terminology is proposed, based on a phyletically neutral definition of cognition as a biological function; a candidate mechanism is explored; and a bacterial example presented. On this story, cognition is like respiration: ubiquitously present, from unicellular life to blue whales and every form of life in between, and for similar reasons: staying alive requires it. (Abstract excerpt)

Earth Life > Sentience > Animal Intelligence

Allen, Jenny. Community through Culture from Insects to Whales. BioEssays. Online October, 2019. After some two decades of wide ranging, clever studies, a Griffiths University, Australia environmental philosopher can now aver that a variety of creaturely groupings such as insects, fishes, elephants, and cetaceans are graced by behavioral attributes of cooperative foraging, resource sharing, educating young, many ways to communicate, and so on. While not overly anthropomorphic, a familiar suite of human-like social activities is quite evident. See also, e.g., Cultural Flies by Etienne Danchin, et al in Science (362/1025, 2018) about fruit fly relations.

Earth Life > Sentience > Animal Intelligence

Gagliano, Monica. The Mind of Plants: Thinking the Unthinkable. Communicative & Integrative Biology. 10/2, 2017. We use this entry to gather and report recent contributions about these floral capacities. The University of Western Australia natural biologist is a leading advocate of a growing movement to extend animal cognitive abilities to this leafy realm. The title paper is a follow up to Learning by Association in Plants by MG, et al in Nature Scientific Reports (6/38427, 2016), see second quote. A prime reference is the work of Eva Jablonka and colleagues (search EJ, Simona Ginsburg) about life’s evolutionary preference for an associative knowledge gaining method. See also Plants Learn and Remember by MG in Oecologia (186/1, 2018), Ecological Justice for Nature in Critical Systems Thinking by Anne Stephens et al in Systems Research and Behavioral Science (I36/1, 2018, third quote), and Do Plants Have Something to Say? by Ellie Shechet in the New York Times (August 26, 2019) about Monica’s mission.

Across all species, individuals thrive in complex ecological systems, of which they rarely have complete knowledge. To cope with this uncertainty and make good choices while avoiding errors, organisms are able to exploit key features within their environment. While it is well known that humans and other animals are quick to learn specific cues within locales and circumstances; the idea that plants are also capable of learning by association has not been proven until now. Here I comment on the recent paper (2016) that experimentally demonstrated associative learning in plants, thus qualifying them as proper subjects of cognitive research. (Abstract excerpt)

The emergence of associative learning has been proposed as one of the key biological innovations that powered the Cambrian explosion by driving the evolution of new sensory modalities and altering the life and adaptive possibilities of animals. Our results now show that associative learning is also an essential component of plant behaviour. We propose that the ability to construct, remember and recall new relationships established via associative learning constitutes a universal adaptive mechanism shared by all organisms. The ubiquity of associative learning across taxa, including non-animal groups suggests that the role this learning process plays in nature is thus far underexplored and underappreciated. (MG, et al, 2016, 5)

The authors of this paper provide a brief overview of the rights‐based literature that has been used to produce mechanisms to acknowledge non‐human agency in critical systems thinking (CST). With consideration of recent studies of plant cognition, we propose that by recasting CST's underlying commitments, we may produce new ontologies and new ways of working with the embedded stakeholders of socioecological systems. While the discursive shifts are simple, to recast ‘social awareness’ as ‘socioecological awareness’ and ‘human emancipation’ to ‘emancipation’, these changes open up the boundaries, scope and relevance of practice. (Stephens Abstract)

Earth Life > Sentience > Evolution Language

Hagoort, Peter, ed. Human Language: From Genes and Brains to Behavior. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2019. The MPI Psycholinguistics scholar gathers 49 expert chapters into eight Cognitive Architectures, The Development of Language, Communication Before and With Language, Modeling Language, Functional Meurobiology of Language, Neuroanatomy of Language,The Genetics of Language, and Animal Models of Language sections. We note The Genetic Bases of Brain Lateralization by Clyde Francks, Mental Representations for Language by Ray Jackendorf, and The Comparative Approach to the Biology and Evolution of Language by W. Tecumseh Fitch.

Earth Life > Sentience > Evolution Language

Saldana, Carmen. Compositional Hierarchical Structure Evolves through Cultural Transmission. Journal of Language Evolution. 4/2, 2019. University of Edinburgh linguists including Simon Kirby and Kenny Smith illuminate similar nested stages in both cases of evolutionary communication and human social conversation. In regard, still another glimpse of how this further phase of genomic and cerebral manifestation is achieved into the presence of this universal scale.

language learners to express and understand an infinity of meanings from finite sources (i.e., a lexicon and a grammar). Understanding how such structure evolved is central to evolutionary linguistics. Previous work combining artificial language learning and iterated learning techniques has shown how basic compositional structure can evolve from the trade-off between learnability and expressivity pressures in language transmission. In the present study we show how the same mechanisms involved in the evolution of basic compositionality can also result in a compositional hierarchical structure. (Abstract)

Earth Life > Genetic Info

Kreplak, Jonathan, et al. A Reference Genome for Pea Provides Insight into Legume Genome Evolution. Nature Genetics. 51/9, 2019. Some 150 years after Gregor Mendel studied changes in pea plant height, pod and seed shape, flower position, color and more, forty-five geneticists posted in France, the Czech Republic, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Canada, and the USA, a quite global group, post a comprehensive, graphic sequence.

Some 150 years after Gregor Mendel studied changes in pea plant height, pod and seed shape, flower position, color and more, forty-five geneticists posted in France, the Czech Republic, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Canada, and the USA, a quite global group, post a comprehensive, graphic sequence.

Earth Life > Genetic Info > Genome CS

Finn, Elizabeth and Tom Misteli. Molecular Basis and Biological Function of Variability in Spatial Genome Organization. Science. 365/998, 2919. We note this paper by National Cancer Institute researchers as an example among many efforts of graphic whole system studies as our worldwise intellect proceeds at pace to totally quantify every aspect of whole genomic systems. See also Mapping Human Cell Phenotypes to Genotypes with Single-Cell Genomics in Science (365/1401). In a wider evolutionary view, it could seem that life’s source code, as it rises from universe to us, is meant to reach this sapient moment so as to salve and heal in turn we tinkered beings and to begin a new intentional future procreation.

Earth Life > Individuality

Arnold, Carrie. Bacterial Clones Show Surprising Individuality. Quanta. September 4, 2019. A science journalist reviews a flow of recent papers that report even in this seemingly insensate substratum, discrete microbes can be seen to act as semi-autonomous entities, which must be of advantage to their communal colony. A sample posting is Microbial Phenotypic Heterogeneity in Response to a Metabolic Toxin by Jessica Lee, et al at bioRxiv on January 23, 2019.

Earth Life > Individuality

Bueno, Otavio, et al, eds. Individuation, Process, and Scientific Practices. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. This collection considers the many ways that personal identity, as a malleable quality, has been configured in scientific and philosophical studies. Chapters include Individuating Part-Whole Relations in the Biological World by Marie Kaiser, Emergent Quasiparticles by Alexandre Guay and Olivier Sartenaer and Individuality, Organisms, and Cell differentiation by Melinda Fagan.

Earth Life > Recapitulation

Ordin, Mikhail. Speech Rhythm as Naturally Occurring and Culturally Transmitted Behavior Patterns. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Online September, 2019. A Basque Centre on Cognition, Brain and Language scholar finds the course of individual linguistic development to well parallel and recapitulate the way that language-specific rhythmic patterns emerged in hominid to human populations.

Rhythm is fundamental to every motor activity. Neural and physiological mechanisms that underlie rhythmic cognition, in general, and rhythmic pattern generation, in particular, are evolutionarily ancient. As speech production is a kind of motor activity, investigating speech rhythm can provide insight into how general motor patterns have been adapted for more specific use in articulation and speech production. As speech capacity is a prerequisite for developing a language faculty, studies on speech rhythm may cast some light on the mystery of language evolution in the human genus. Hereby, we propose an approach to exploring speech rhythm as a window on speech emergence in ontogenesis and phylogenesis, as well as on diachronic linguistic changes. (Abstract)

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