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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 107 found.


Life's Corporeal Evolution Develops, Encodes and Organizes Itself: An Earthtwinian Genesis Synthesis

Quickening Evolution > Nest > Symbiotic

Bennett, Gordon, et al. Bennett, Gordon, et al. Endosymbioses Have Shaped the Evolution of Biological Diversity and Complexity Time and Time Again. Genome Biology and Evolution. 16/6, 2024. After decades of denial, it has now become the fashion to describe the actual presence of all manner of beneficial symbiotic unions. Here UC Merced biologists so proceed to embellish along with a notice of a vital contribution to life’s communal emergence.

Life on Earth comprises prokaryotes and a broad assemblage of endosymbioses. Here, we provide a current perspective on how these processes form novel phenotypes that allow them to transition between adaptive landscapes to access environmental resources. Such mutual relationships have shaped and reshaped life on Earth. Early on mitochondria and chloroplasts arose via endosymbioses which led to upscaling of cellular energetics, multicellularity, and terrestrial planetary greening. Endosymbionts often experience adaptive genome streamlining, while hosts engage in resource exchange and cellular integration. (Excerpt)

Quickening Evolution > Nest > Symbiotic

McFall-Ngai, Margaret. Symbiosis takes a front and center role in biology. PLoS Biology. April, 2024. A California Institute of Technology systems microbiologist (search) provides an upbeat overview survey of this long overdue open frontier whence we can learn about these myriad occasions across life’s vivacious relational multiplexity.

These are early days and we have barely scratched the surface of the vast diversity of symbiotic systems that drive the biosphere. The ecological niches filled by invertebrates and plants are so varied that many strategies for living in the microbial world remain to be discovered. To address these different systems with the highest possible rigor, strong collaborations between animal and plant biologists and the community of microbiologists will be essential, although this imperative will not be easy, as the fields have been in silos since the 19th century. Despite these cultural challenges, it is a new day for biology, with a vast frontier to explore. (3)

Quickening Evolution > Nest > Symbiotic

Richards, Thomas and Nancy Moran. Symbiosis: In search of a deeper understanding. PloS Biology. April, 2024. Oxford University and UT Texas integrative biologists introduce eight articles which are meant as a belated admission of nature’s pervasive reciprocal interrelations between all manner of cellular embodiments, metabolic processes and environmental viability. This obvious feature can no longer be ignored for it has a primary evolutionary and organismic significance. Papers include What choanoflagellates can teach us about symbiosis by Arielle Woznica, Linking cell biology and ecology to understand coral symbiosis evolution by Niels Dingemanse and Annika Guse, Modeling endosymbioses by Lucas Santana Souza, et al, and Fungal holobionts as blueprints for synthetic endosymbiotic systems by Laila Partida-Martínez. But they often seem begrudged, with constant referrals to “mechanistic” reasons, along with not one mention of Lynn Margulis (search)who studied and advocated symbiosis since 1970.

The mechanistic biology that underpins symbiotic outcomes is fascinating. It is also where this field’s most interesting future lies. How do complex multifaceted symbiotic interactions emerge? How is partner specificity enacted? How is stability maintained under strong evolutionary MORE imperative towards exploitation and, therefore, interaction collapse? This collection demonstrates how the field is shifting to a growing focus on symbiotic interactions. By combining mechanistic and genetic understanding with evolutionary analysis, we can gain a direct view of how symbioses emerge. Only when we have this view for a range of systems can we look for unifying themes, if they even exist. (Abstract)

Symbiosis across the tree of life. Symbiosis research has become a holistic and pervasive field with a mature theoretical basis. Extraordinary diversity in symbiotic relationships exists across the tree of life. The aim of this special collection is to showcase symbiotic relationships across the tree of life, exploring their evolutionary basis and underlying mechanisms.

Once we have a deeper understanding of microbial endosymbionts in fungi, we will be able to design symbiotic systems that synergize the capabilities of fungi, bacteria, and viruses. These synthetic fungal holobionts could help us improve our crops to face climate change; restore eroded or contaminated soils; produce high-valued chemicals, enzymes, and other biomolecules and biomaterials; and increase the recycling of organic matter and plastics. (Laila P-M)

Quickening Evolution > Nest > Societies

Amichay, Guy, et al. Revealing the mechanism and function underlying pairwise temporal coupling in collective motion. Nature Communications. 15/4356, 2024. Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour, University of Konstanz, biobehaviorists including Iain Couzin continue to finesse and explain the multiplex statistical organics that independently underline and guide creaturely groupings.

Coordinated motion in animal groups has been studied with a focus on spatial interactions, such as how individuals position and orient themselves relative to one another. Here, by studying pairwise interactions in juvenile zebrafish we reveal that there exists a rhythmic, alternating, temporal coordination. We find that reciprocal (bi-directional) feedback is sufficient to explain this emergent coupling. Beyond a mechanistic understanding that temporal coordination considerably improves spatial responsiveness. Our findings highlight the synergistic role of spatial and temporal coupling in facilitating effective communication between individuals on the move. (Excerpt)

Quickening Evolution > Nest > Societies

Dunbar, Robin. Structural and Cognitive Mechanisms of Group Cohesion in Primates. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Online April 30, 2024. The senior Oxford University evolutionary psychologist is well known for his primate to human social studies and Dunbar number scale. (search). This entry provides is his latest thorough explanations for their beneficial veracity

Group-living creates stresses that often lead to fragmentation and conflict. Here I refer to grooming networks and cognitive abilities in primates to show that living in large, stable assemblies involved structural solutions which led to ‘friendship’ linkages, bonding behaviours so that coalitions work effectively, and cognitive skills similar to social relationships in humans. The first ensures that individuals synchronise their activity cycles; the second allows issues to be defused; and the third can manage difficulties. In primates, these strategies appear at specific group sizes, suggesting that they break through ‘glass ceilings.’ This sequence maps onto the grades that underpin the fractal-like Social Brain Hypothesis known to optimize information conversant flow.

Quickening Evolution > Nest > Societies

Phaniraj, Nikhil, et al. Marmosets mutually compensate for differences in rhythms when coordinating vigilance. PLoS Computational Biology.. May, 2024. Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Zurich cognitive biologists including Judith Burkart describe clever field experiments about how these communal primates adopt reciprocal behaviors to their advantage.

Synchronized animal behaviors often emerge from simple interaction rules. Here, we employed mathematical modeling to study how marmoset monkeys coordinate both vigilance and feeding behaviors. We found that pairs of marmosets adopt a state when one individual is feeding, the other is on guard, and vice-versa. Overall, our research (1) establishes marmosets as a strong candidate species for studying the cognitive aspects of social timing, (2) provides a novel mathematical framework that is tailored for studying synchronization in biological systems, and (3) underlines the implications of synchrony for marmosets and other animals. (Excerpt)

Quickening Evolution > Nest > Ecosystems

Pinto-Ramos, D., et al.. Pinto-Ramos, D., et al. Vegetation clustering and self-organization in inhomogeneous environments. .. arXiv:2406.12581.. An international theorist team posted in Germany, Chile, Morocco and Belgium provide further quantifications as to how many manner of flora tend to array themselves so as to cope with ever changing environs.

Due to climatic changes, excessive grazing, and deforestation, arid ecosystems are vulnerable to desertification and land degradation. The vegetation cover loses spatial homogeneity as aridity increases, and the self-organized patterns collapse into a bare state. This transition could be gradual or abrupt, leading to a catastrophic shift of ecosystems. By way of a mathematical model which includes environmental inhomogeneities, we show how vegetation patterns create a hysteresis loop which corresponds to qualitative self-organized clustering responses. These behaviors can then be connected to historically significant trends of climate change in arid ecosystems.

Quickening Evolution > Nest > Homo Sapiens

Paige, Jonathan, et al.. 3.3 million years of stone tool complexity suggests that cumulative culture began during the Middle Pleistocene. PNAS. 121/26, 2024. University of Missouri and Arizona State University anthropologists carried out extensive timeline studies of how and when early humans came to improve tool making and usage. Their findings led them to propose that a collective degree of competence which could be passed on seemed occur some six hundred thousand years ago. See also a news report When did humans start social knowledge accumulation? at Ars technical (June 21, 2024).

Homo sapiens has come to occupy diverse ecological habitats from tropical forests to arctic tundra. Our studies have led us to attribute this epochal expansion an accumulation of modifications, innovations, and improvements through social learning. Long ago hominins came to use technologies and know-how beyond what a single naive individual could achieve. We analyzed the stone tools which led them made during the last 3.3 My and found that they simple until about 600,000 years B.P. after which such implements rapidly increased in complexity. Consistent with findings from other research teams, we suggest that this transition signals the development of cumulative culture in the human lineage. (Significance)

Quickening Evolution > Nest > Homo Sapiens

Vallini, Leonardo, et al. The Persian plateau served as hub for Homo sapiens after the main out of Africa dispersal. Nature Communications. 15/1882, 2024. Ten bioarcheologists with posting like MPI Geoanthropology, University of Padova, Human Origins, Smithsonian Institution and Institute of Genomics, University of Tartu, Estonia apply the latest paleogenomic techniques to deftly fill in this mid epoch between African bases and European settlements. But again we wonder whomever on Earth has altogether arisen perform such a retrospective retrace of whence we came from.

A combination of evidence based on genetic, fossil and archaeological findings indicates that Homo sapiens spread out of Africa between ~70-60 thousand years ago (kya). However, human populations did not expand across all of Eurasia until ~45 kya. The whereabouts of these interim migrants has been difficult to reconcile. Here we combine genetic evidence and palaeoecological models to infer geographic locations during the early colonization of Eurasia. We show that populations from the Persian Plateau carry an ancestry component that closely matches the Hub outside Africa. With the paleoclimatic data to date, we built ecological models showing that this locus was suitable for human occupation and could sustain more peoples than other West Asian regions. (Excerpt)

The Persian Plateau is a geological feature spanning parts of Central, South and West Asia. It is situated between the Zagros Mountains, the Armenian Highlands, the Caucasus Mountains, the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf to the south.

Life’s Cerebral Cognizance Becomes More Complex, Smarter, Informed, Proactive, Self-Aware

Earth Life > Intelligence

Kuhn, Robert Lawrence. A landscape of consciousness: Toward a taxonomy of explanations and implications. Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology. Volume 190, 2024. The visionary creator and interviewer of the Closer to Truth: Cosmos, Life, Consciousness, Meaning TV and YouTube series since the 2000s also has a doctorate in neuroscience. See his Wikipedia page for even more achievements. This 167 page contribution then is a comprehensive survey of extant vistas and topical aspects as we human wonderers lately study from an entire span of scientific and philosophical approaches. (But I worry that the still mechanistic mindset has long concluded that there is no independent, abiding truth to get close to.)

Diverse views of consciousness are arrayed on a physicalist-to-nonphysicalist landscape of essences and mechanisms. Categories: Materialism Theories (philosophical, neurobiological, electromagnetic field, computational and informational, homeostatic, embodied and enactive, relational, representational, language); Non-Reductive Physicalism; Quantum Theories; Integrated Information Theory; Panpsychisms; Monisms; Dualisms; Idealisms; Anomalous and Altered States. A Landscape of Consciousness, I suggest, offers perspective.

Earth Life > Intelligence

Seth, Anil. Conscious artificial intelligence and biological naturalism. osf.io/preprints/psyarxiv/tz6an. The University of Sussex neuroscientist and actual philosopher is the popular author of Being You: A New Science of Consciousness (Dutton, 2021). This June 2024 43 page essay proceeds to broadly consider whether the prolific AI phenomenon could attain some manner of sentient awareness. Its main theme considers a variety of neural net computational methods as they may learn, be informed and flicker.

As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to develop, we ought to ask whether AI systems can be not only intelligent, but also conscious. I consider why some people think AI might develop consciousness, identifying some biases that lead us astray. I ask what it would take for conscious AI to be a realistic prospect, pushing back against some common assumptions such as the notion that computation provides a sufficient basis for consciousness. I’ll instead make the case for taking seriously the possibility that consciousness might depend on our nature as living organisms – a form of biological naturalism. I will end by exploring some ethical considerations arising from AI that either actually is, or seems to be, conscious. (Abstract)

The final scenario is strong biological naturalism. This is the idea that consciousness inheres in the materiality of living system in a similar way to how storms depend on real water and real wind. While I favour some form of biological naturalism, it is difficult to reliably assess the relative plausibility of these scenarios. Laying them out here serves two main purposes. It reminds us not to assume that conscious AI is inevitable. And it underlines the urgency of better understanding the mechanisms responsible for biological consciousness. (33)

Earth Life > Brain Anatomy > Bicameral Brain

Donati, Georgina, et al.. Motor-sensory biases are associated with cognitive and social abilities in humans. Scientific Reports.. 14/14724, 2024. Seven behavioral neuroscientists in the UK, France and Germany including Gillian Forrester provide good 2024 evidence of the extent that a left hemisphere penchant for discrete detail and textual language and a right side able to take in an integral field of view have become the standard conception. A further achievement is the finding that these bilateral archetypes are consistently found across the neural faculties of all Metazoan species.

Across vertebrate species, adaptive behaviors like feeding and avoiding predators are linked to lateralized brain functions. In regard, when an individual’s direction of bias aligns with the majority of the population, they gain social advantages. Our large-scale study examines whether the strength and alignment of behavioral biases review cognitive and social benefits respectively in humans. In accord with the animal literature, we evaluate sensory biases linked to motor-sequencing and emotion detection. Results reveal that task success is associated with language fluency, and, like other vertebrates, our human sample possesses a common laterality profile of right hand and left visual modes. (Excerpt)

Earth Life > Individuality > Animal Intelligence

Hersh, Taylor, et al. Hersh, Taylor, et al. Cetaceans are the next frontier for vocal rhythm research. PNAS. 121/25, 2024. . A senior international team of TH, Marine Mammal Institute, Oregon State University, Andrea Ravignani, Comparative Bioacoustics, MPI Psycholinguistics and Hal Whitehead, Dalhousie University report a novel quantification of the range repertoire by which these aquatic vocalists form and maintain a sophisticated culture.

While rhythm can facilitate many aspects of behavior, its evolutionary course in vocal communication systems remains enigmatic. We can investigate occasions in different species, but research to date has focused on songbirds and primates. Here we present evidence that cetaceans — whales, dolphins, and porpoises — can help us learn why rhythm evolved. Cetaceans not only produce song-like vocalizations along with specific behaviors such as knowledge gain, breathing control, sexually select displays, mother–infant bonds, and group synchronization. By coupling an infraorder-level taxonomic array of rhythmic sounds compared to other species, we illustrate a more nuanced sense of the wide prevalence, enhancement, and many functions in animal communication. (Excerpt)

Earth Life > Individuality > Animal Intelligence

Martin-Ordas, Gema. Inferential reasoning abilities in wild-caught bumblebees. Biology Letters. June, 2024. In a science news worthy paper, a University of Stirling, UK behavioral psychologist reports how she was able to discern even more cognitive capacities for this archetypal superorganic insect. One might then add that as all these current findings herein are recorded across vertebrates and invertebrates they altogether seem to imply the natural presence of an independent sophisticated intelligence which is accessible to each and every creature

The ability to decide by excluding alternatives is a logical reasoning that allows organisms to solve problems with incomplete information. Several species of vertebrates are able to find hidden food using inferential abilities. Yet little is known about invertebrate capabilities. I examined how bumblebees’ could locate a reward stimulus using direct or incomplete information, the latter by use inferential reasoning. To do so, I adapted three paradigms previously used with primates—the two-cup, three-cup and double two-cup tasks. Bumblebees succeeded in the three versions consistent with an inferential method. These findings highlight comparative studies with invertebrates so to gain a deeper track o the evolution of general cognitive abilities.

Our Earthuman Ascent: A Major Evolutionary Transition in Twndividuality

wumanomics > Integral Persons > Somatic

Francois, Paul and Victoria Mochulska. Waves, patterns, bifurcations: A tutorial review on the vertebrate segmentation clock. Physics Reports. Volume 1080, 2024. University of Montreal and McGill University, Canada biophysicists post a comprehensive 100 page, 300 reference, pediasphere quantification of nature’s embryonic cellular somitogenesis procedures across fish, reptile, avian and mammalian species. As a result, complex, scalar, orderly self-organization systems are similarly evident for life’s apparent evolutionary gestation, all the way, so it seems, to our retrospective Earthkinder progeny. In 2024, this certain contribution can exemplify the theoretic syntheses that have now become possible. As I log on in June, altogether they promise to verify a natural orthogenesis.

Proper vertebrae formation relies on a tissue-wide oscillator called the segmentation clock. Individual cellular oscillators in the presomitic mesoderm are modulated by intercellular coupling and external signals, leading to the oscillatory waves of genetic expression which stabilize into a static pattern. Here, we review four decades of biophysical models of this process, starting from the Clock and Wavefront and reaction–diffusion models. Modern descriptions in molecular description and process visualization lead to phase, delayed, systems-level, and finally geometric models. We then refer to embryonic development and scaling via wave propagation. (Excerpt)

The field has then been strongly driven by the constant experimental progress in molecular biology, genetics, imaging, and more recently synthetic biology, allowing scientists to explore more complex and refined scenarios, that we will describe. Many of the most recent ideas described in the following also find their origin in the era of ‘‘systems biology’’, with a focus on the (emergent) properties of gene regulatory networks, (4)

Somitoenesis is the process by which somites form. Somites are bilaterally paired blocks of paraxial mesoderm that form along the anterior-posterior axis of the developing embryo in segmented animals. In vertebrates, somites give rise to skeletal muscle, cartilage, tendons, endothelium, and dermis.

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