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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 76 through 90 of 120 found.


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

Earth Life > Nest > Symbiotic

Speijer, Dave. Debating Eukaryogenesis: Does Eukaryogenesis Presuppose Symbiosis Before Uptake? BioEssays. 42/2, 2020. The University of Amsterdam veteran biologist makes a strong case to date that life’s innate avail of beneficial assemblies at every stage reveals a persistent “symbiogenesis,” instead of an “autogenesis” by many small steps. Other “predator/prey” models are then also set aside. So it seems after decades of study, it can be said that this mutual “coadptation” method becomes most evident, and thus can traced to an earlier, onset phase. Further experiments are proposed, but in this consummate year, it does seem that a “universal symbiosis” proceeds apace through a developmental evolutionary gestation.

Eukaryotic origins are heavily debated. The author and others have proposed that they are linked with the arrival of a pre‐mitochondrion of alphaproteobacterial=like ancestry, in a so‐called symbiogenic scenario. The ensuing mutual adaptation of archaeal host and endosymbiont seems to have been a defining influence leading to the last eukaryotic common ancestor. An unresolved question deals with the means by which the bacterium ends up inside. Here the author argues that prior models share flaws, hence making them less likely, and that a “pre‐symbiotic stage” would have eased ongoing metabolic integration. I will speculate about the nature of the (endo) symbiosis that started eukaryotic evolution in the context of bacterial entry being a relatively “early” event. (Abstract excerpt)

Earth Life > Nest > Multicellular

Larson, Ben, et al. Biophysical Principles of Choanoflagellate Self-Organization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 117/1303, 2020. UC Berkeley and Harvard biologists including Nicole King describe how these cellular cousins are likewise moved by and exemplify these common formative agencies, as they proceed toward multicellular developments. Once again a natural genesis uses the same independent source system at each instance.

Comparisons among animals and their closest living relatives, the choanoflagellates, have begun to shed light on the origin of animal multicellularity and development. Here, we complement previous genetic perspectives on this process by focusing on the biophysical principles underlying choanoflagellate colony morphology and morphogenesis. Our study reveals the crucial role of the extracellular matrix in shaping the colonies and leads to a phase diagram that delineates the range of morphologies as a function of the biophysical mechanisms at play. (Significance)

The choanoflagellates are a group of free-living unicellular and colonial flagellate eukaryotes considered to be the closest living relatives of the animals. Choanoflagellates are collared flagellates having a funnel shaped collar of interconnected microvilli at the base of a flagellum.

Earth Life > Nest > Societies

Tokita, Christopher and Corina Tarnita. Social Influence and Interaction Bias can Drive Emergent Behavioural Specialization and Modular Social Networks Across Systems. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. January, 2020. Princeton University evolutionary ecologists identify how complex adaptive system features such as diverse group modules, and appropriation of tasks are present and evident for many animal species. See also Fitness Benefits and Emergent Division of Labour at the Onset of Group Living by Y. Ulrich, et al (C. Tarnita) in Nature (560/635, 2018).

In social systems ranging from ant colonies to human society, consistent differences in behavior are common. Individuals can specialize in tasks they perform (division of labour DOL), their political poles, or various personalities they exhibit. Behavioural specialization often co-occurs with modular and assortative social networks as entities tend to associate with similar others. We then wonder whether the same mechanism could drive co-emergent social network structures. Here we extend a model of self-organized DOL to account for influence and interaction bias among various social dynamics. Our findings suggest that DOL and political polarization—two social phenomena not typically considered together—may actually share a common core. (Abstract excerpt)

Earth Life > Nest > Societies

Twomey, Colin, et al. Searching for Structure in Collective Systems. Theory in Biosciences. March, 2020. . University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and Humboldt University social biologists advance the study of ubiquitous creaturely assemblies by way of deep network principles. In regard, a middle scale mutuality between semi-autonomous members and overall clusters is found to best provide the viability that groupings achieve and require.

Collective systems such as fish schools, bird flocks, and neural networks are comprised of many mutually-influencing individuals, often without leaders, hierarchies, or persistent relationships. The remarkably organized group-level behaviors readily observable in these systems contrast with the ad hoc, often vicarious, complex interactions among their constituents. While these individual dynamics factor into group-level coordination, they do not reflect its macroscopic properties. Rather, the source of group cohesion may be better described at some intermediate, mesoscopic scale. We introduce a novel method from information-theoretic principles to find a compressed description of a system based on the actions and mutual dependencies of its constituents, which reveals the natural structure of the collective. (Abstract excerpt)

Earth Life > Nest > Ecosystems

Keil, Petr, et al. Macroecological and Macroevolutionary Patterns Emerge in the Universe of GNU/Linux Operating Systems. Ecography. 41/11, 2018. This rich paper by European theoretical ecologists is reviewed more in Common Principles.

Earth Life > Nest > Ecosystems

McGuirl, Melissa, et al. Topological Data Analysis of Zebrafish Patterns. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 117/5113, 2020. Self-organized pattern behavior is ubiquitous throughout nature from fish schooling to collective cell dynamics. (1) Biomathematicans MM and Bjorn Sandstede, Brown University, and Alexandria Volkening, Northwestern University provide an example of how widely this natural propensity has become accepted in practice. In the early 2000s, it was hardly mentioned anywhere. In 2020, a universality of local interactive agents from which a global phase arises is strongly evident. After citing this common source, the paper describes an instance by the way it shapes aquatic scale formations.

Earth Life > Nest > Homo Sapiens

Paabo, Svante. The Human Condition: A Molecular Approach. Cell. 157/216, 2014. As our Paleogenomics section cites, the MPI Evolutionary Anthropology geneticist and original sequencer of Neanderthal genomes describes how past lineages of homo sapiens are being wholly revised and sketched anew by such advanced genetic sequemce techniques.

Research into when and where modern humans originated and how they differ from, and interacted with, other now-extinct forms of human has so far been the realm of archaeologists and paleoanthropologists. However, over the past decade, molecular geneticists have begun to study genomes of extinct humans. Here, I discuss where we stand today with respect to understanding how modern humans came to differ from Neandertals and other human forms that existed until about 30,000 years ago.

Earth Life > Nest > Homo Sapiens

Tylen, Kristian, et al. The Evolution of Early Symbolic Behavior in Homo Sapiens.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 117/4578, 2020. We cite this entry by Aarhus University, University of Johannesburg, and University of Western Australia archaeologists to convey, along with bodily features, how life’s course to our late cognitive-social phase brought out the first signs of an external depiction and record of their vital environments. Another instance is the finding of earlier cave paintings in Indonesia (Google) of an animal hunt.

Early symbolic behavior of Homo sapiens is challenging to address yet fundamental to the success of our species. We used ancient engravings from the South African Blombos Cave and Diepkloof Rock Shelter in a number of controlled cognitive experiments to qualify discussions about the evolution of early symbolic traditions. We found that the engravings evolved over a period of 30,000 y to become more effective “tools for the mind,” that is, more salient to the human eye, expressive of human intent and identity, and easier to reproduce from memory. Our experiments suggest that the engravings served as decorations and expressions of socially transmitted cultural traditions. (Significance)

Earth Life > Sentience > Brain Anatomy

Burger, Joseph, et al. Toward a Metabolic Theory of Life History. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 116/26653, 2019. Evolutionary ecologists posted in North Carolina, Missouri and New Mexico (James Brown) can now proceed to visualize and discern broadly applicable patterns and processes across the vast species diorama that past decades have put together.

The life histories of animals reflect the allocation of metabolic energy to traits that determine fitness and the pace of living. Here, we extend metabolic theories to address how demography and mass–energy balance constrain biomass for survival, growth, and reproduction over a life cycle of one generation. Evolution has generated enormous diversity of body sizes, morphologies, physiologies, ecologies, and life histories across the millions of animal, plant, and microbe species, yet simple rules specified by general equations highlight the underlying unity of life. (Abstract excerpt)

Earth Life > Sentience > Brain Anatomy

Melchionna, M., et al. Macroevolutionary Trends of Brain Mass in Primates. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 129/1, 2020. In this consummate year, nine evolutionary neuroscientists across Italian universities and institutes confirm life’s advancing cerebral encephalization and resultant cognitive attributes on the way to human acumen. And to reflect on their illustrated report, whomever at present is this worldwise personsphere emerging from homo to Anthropo sapience to gain a retrospective vista and import?

A distinctive trait in primate evolution is the expansion in brain mass. The potential drivers of this encephalization process due diversification dynamics are still debated. We assembled a phylogeny for 317 primate species of both extant and extinct taxa so as to identify trends in brain mass evolution. Our findings show that Primates as a whole follow a macroevolutionary increase in accord with more body mass, relative brain size and speciation rate over time. We also find that hominins, starting with Australopithecus africanus in the Oligocene, stand out for distinctly higher rates. (Abstract excerpt)

Earth Life > Sentience > Brain Anatomy

Pontes, Anselmo, et al. The Evolutionary Origin of Associative Learning. American Naturalist. 195/1, 2020. By way of clever digital simulations in Richard Lenski’s lab, Michigan State University researchers including Christoph Adami test whether this analogic edification, drawn much from Simona Ginsberg and Eva Jablonka (see definitions below), is actually in effect. Indeed, results over many generations show that life does become smarter by a constant, iterative, combinational process of trials, errors and successes for both entities and groups. From 2020, a central developmental trend of “stepwise, modular, complex behaviors” as an open-ended creativity is evidentially traced and oriented.

Learning is a widespread ability among animals and is subject to evolution. But how did learning first arise? What selection pressures and phenotypic preconditions fostered its evolution? Neither the fossil record nor phylogenetic comparative studies provide answers. Here, we study digital organisms in environments that promote the evolution of navigation and associative learning. Starting with a sessile ancestor, we evolve multiple populations in four environments, each with nutrient trails with various layouts. We find that behavior evolves modularly and in a predictable sequence. Environmental patterns that are stable across generations foster the evolution of reflexive behavior, while environmental patterns that vary across generations but remain consistent for periods within an organism’s lifetime foster the evolution of learning behavior. (Abstract excerpt)

Associative learning is a theory that states that ideas reinforce each other and can be linked to one another. Associative learning is a principle that states that ideas and experiences reinforce each other and can be linked to one another, making it a powerful teaching strategy. Associative learning, in animal behaviour, is a process in which a new response becomes associated with a particular stimulus.

Earth Life > Sentience > Bicameral Brain

Forrester, Gillian, et al, eds. Cerebral Lateralization and Cognition: Evolutionary and Developmental Investigations of Behavioral Biases. Progress in Brain Research. Volume 238, 2018. This is a copious collection which proceeds to show how widespread and important bicameral brain asymmetries are across every animal grouping. Most prominent in human beings, an ancient, axial encephalization traced to insect invertebrates consistently makes use of reciprocal detail and image faculties as the best way to survive and evolve. Among the 15 papers are Insights into the Evolution of lateralization from the Insects, Motor Asymmetries in Fishes, Amphibians, and Reptiles, Mother and Offspring Lateralized Social Behavior, and Sensorimotor Lateralization Scaffolds Cognitive Specialization.

Earth Life > Sentience > Evolution Language

Huang, Mingpan, et al. Male Gibbon Loud Morning Calls Conform to Zipf’s Law of Brevity and Menserath’s Law: Insights into the Origin of Human Language. Animal Behavior. January, 2020. This entry by Sun Yat-Sen University linguists is notable because it reports how these lawful features similarly serve to guide these vocal displays amongst primates. Such a result suggests that they commonly apply across all manner of creaturely communications. See also The Speech-like Properties of Nonhuman Primate Vocalizations by Thore Bergman, et al in this journal (151/229, 2019).

The study of vocal communication in nonhuman primates offers critical insight into the origins of human language. Although human language represents a highly derived and complex form of communication, researchers have found that the organization of language follows a series of common statistical patterns, known as ‘linguistic laws’. Zipf's law of brevity and Menzerath's law are pervasive (see below). Here, we provide evidence that the long-distance morning calls of male gibbons follow both laws. Zipf's law of brevity and Menzerath's law. Our findings thus support the generality of these two linguistic laws.. (Abstract)

Zipf's law is an empirical law which uses mathematical statistics to refer to the fact that much data studied in the physical and social sciences can be approximated by a family of related discrete power law probability distributions. Menzerath's law is a linguistic law whence the increase of the size of a linguistic construct results in a decrease of the size of its constituents, and vice versa, e.g., the longer a sentence, the shorter the clauses.

Earth Life > Sentience > Evolution Language

Prieur, Jacques, et al. The Origins of Gestures and Language: History, Current Advances and Proposed Theories. Biological Reviews. Online December, 2019. Free University of Berlin and University of Rennes, CNRS animal ethologists scope out multimodal and multicausal influences for an array of primate forebears to reconstruct how our emergent result came to have such conversational facilities.

Investigating the mechanisms underlying human and non‐human primate communication systems (gestures, vocalisations, facial expressions) can shed light on the evolutionary roots of language. Reports on non‐human primates, particularly great apes, suggest that gestural communication would have been a crucial prerequisite for the emergence of language. We review three processes that can explain great apes' gestural acquisition: phylogenetic ritualisation, ontogenetic ritualisation, and learning via social negotiation. We thus propose a theory of language origins which postulates that primates' communicative signalling is a complex trait shaped by a cost–benefit trade‐off of signal production and processing of interactants in relation to four interlinked categories of evolutionary and life cycle factors: species, individual and context‐related characteristics as well as behavior. (Abstract excerpt)

Earth Life > Genetic Info

Cowen, Lenore, et al. Network Propagation: A Universal Amplifier of Genetic Associations. Nature Review Genetics. 18/551, 2020. Tufts, Princeton, Tel Aviv University, and UC San Diego, systems geneticists including Trey Ideker contribute to growing realizations of how important these connective genomic phenomena are. In regard, they can be seen to have an equally evident, proactive role, maybe more so, than the discrete nucleotide biomolecules.

Biological networks are powerful resources for the discovery of genes and genetic modules that drive disease. Fundamental to network analysis is the concept that genes underlying the same phenotype tend to interact. This principle can be used to combine and amplify signals from individual genes. Recently, bioinformatic techniques have been proposed for genetic analysis using networks, based on random walks, information diffusion and electrical resistance. In fact, all these approaches are variations of a unifying mathematical basis — network propagation — suggesting that it is a powerful data transformation method of broad utility in genetic research. (Abstract)

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