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A Dictionary of Animal Behavior, Ecology and Evolution (excerpt)

Posted on December 11, 2012 by James Kohl.

Jay Feierman, who is the moderator of the human ethology yahoo group owed by the International Society for Human Ethology has again refused to post one of my contributions. He says: message not approved:  “Flaming. Just stick to science.”

Group’s description (in part) “Human ethology is the study of the biology of human behavior, including the behavior’s phylogeny (evolutionary history), ontogeny (development), proximate causes, and adaptiveness (survival value). Postings relevant to these topics will be accepted.”  (shouldn’t that say: unless the moderator doesn’t want to post it?). You decide if I’m “flaming” or sticking to science: here’s the message that was not approved.

Re: A Dictionary of Animal Behavior, Ecology and Evolution

Excerpt: sensory adaptation. ‘Note: Cells of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae adapt to (= recover from) growth arrest induced by their mating pheromones. Their adaptation is, therefore, their ceasing to respond to the pheromone (Grishin et al. 1994, 1081). syn. neuronal adaptation (Brown 1975, 268) cf. learning: habituation”

My comment: A single note accurately represents what is known about the epigenetic effects of nutrient chemical-dependent (i.e., glucose-regulated) survival, growth, and the advent of sexual reproduction in microbes like yeasts. It extends my model from microbes to man via the common molecular mechanisms of glucose-regulated survival, growth, and epigenetic effects of pheromone-controlled secretion from gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) neurosecretory neurons in the human brain that modulate nutrient chemical-dependent pheromone-controlled reproduction.

The involvement of adaptively evolved genetically predisposed behavior, which is required for nutrient acquisition and reproduction, should be as clear as the requirement for the transgenerational epigenetic effects on the inheritance of behaviors. For example, subtle alterations in experience-dependent behaviors facilitate speciation via direct effects on de novo production of olfactory receptor genes.

Arguably, however, the complexities of systems biology may not be understood by those who offer explanations of behavior that appears to be driven by its consequences (e.g., animal trainers), or by those who offer explanations of behavior that appears to somehow be driven by affects of non-olfactory/pheromonal stimuli (e.g., sans direct effects of visual, auditory, or tactile input on hormone secretion in invertebrates and vertebrates).

Given the current lack of understanding of systems biology exemplified by most participants here, the dictionary may be relatively useless to them. But I thank Farid and Jay for providing it, since one need only know where to look for evidence of cause, effects of sensory input on hormones, and affects on behavior — as detailed in Human pheromones: integrating neuroendocrinology and ethology, and in my recently published work Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors, which are based on the model we detailed in From fertilization to adult sexual behavior.

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James Kohl
Retired medical laboratory scientist

James Kohl




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