Nutrient-dependent cooperation vs cannibalism (video)

February 23, 2014 | James Kohl

Contributions of VLDLR and LRP8 in the establishment of retinogeniculate projections reported as:

Researchers find surprising relationships in brain signaling

Excerpt: ”…the glycoprotein Reelin is crucial to developing healthy neural networks. Logically, taking away the two receptors that Reelin is known to act on early in the brain’s development should create the same malformations as taking away Reelin itself.  It didn’t.

My comment: Differences in glucose metabolism lead to differences in cell types via receptor-mediated behavior. Mutated receptors are ecological dead ends because perturbed protein folding does not benefit any organism of any species with differentiated cell types that are nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled. Nutrient-dependent cooperation is required and it is not mutation-driven.

See also:  Genetic and Neural Modularity Underlie the Evolution of Schooling Behavior in Threespine Sticklebacks reported as:

Genetics of how and why fish swim in schools: Research sheds light on complex social behavior

My comment: The link from this article to information on eye regression and schooling in blind cave fish establishes the fact that schooling is nutrient-dependent in fish. It may not depend on visual input, since changes that occur downstream of sensory input must first somehow be linked to epigenetic effects of sensory input. There is no known link between visual input and the epigenetic effects that might change genetic loci. The epigenetic landscape becomes the physical landscape of DNA in the organized genomes of species from microbes to man via olfactory/pheromonal input. That fact is consistent with experimental evidence reported as:

Excerpt: ”Schooling behavior in A. mexicanus has evolved both through changes in sensory systems and through changes in genetic loci that likely act downstream of sensory inputs.”

My comment: However, it should be clear that schooling behavior has not evolved in the context of mutation-driven evolution of eyes or eye regression in cave fish. Schooling behavior is nutrient-dependent and pheromone controlled as is the social behavior of all species. That explains why “Cavefish have lost the tendency to school regardless of vision.” In their nutrient-poor environment that led to eye regression, it also led to deficits in signaling by pheromones that enables schooling.

Summary: ”Genetic analysis of behavior can also reveal associations between behavior and morphological or neural phenotypes, providing insight into the proximate mechanisms that control behavior.” The proximate mechanisms that control behavior are not mutation-driven in the context of mutation-driven evolution. Proximate mechanisms are nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled. They enable differences in nutrient availability to determine ecological adaptations via the pheromone-controlled physiology of reproduction in species from microbes to man.

See also: Nutrient-dependent / Pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: (a mammalian model of thermodynamics and organism-level thermoregulation) — video excerpt.

Nutrient-dependent / Pheromone–controlled thermodynamics and thermoregulation (full text)

Nutrient-dependent / pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution (poster)


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Cannibalism and cooperation are not mutation-driven (videos)

February 23, 2014 | James Kohl

Exchanges at the Frontier with Iain Couzin

Excerpt: Iain Couzin specialises in collective animal behaviour, a phenomenon that encompasses flocking birds, shoaling fish and swarming locusts.

My comment: This series of videos is an excellent representation of biologically based cause and effect. See, for example, the second short video representation by Iain Couzin on cannibalism and cooperation in locusts.

Cannibalism, not cooperation is the basis of nutrient-dependent behavior of locusts before swarming occurs. Apparently, there is a transition to cooperative swarming behavior when nutrient-dependent reproduction and development of morphological and behavioral phenotypes leads to pheromone-controlled insect behavior in locusts with wings. The developmental transition can be compared to developmental transitions in eusocial behavior in honeybees via conserved molecular mechanisms. These conserved molecular mechanisms are exemplified in species from microbes to man and microbes are discussed in the series of videos by Bonnie Bassler.

Exchanges at the Frontier with Bonnie Bassler

“Bonnie Bassler is a molecular biologist who has made a stunning discovery: bacteria ‘talk’ to each other using chemical signals that enable them to act as a unit, mount attacks and coordinate defence.”

If you watch these two short videos and still think that mutation-driven evolution is responsible for nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological adaptations in species from microbes to man, please tell your friends. Ask them if they consider themselves to be more like cannibalistic locusts, or more like bacteria and honeybees. The biological basis of these behaviors is the same, but your beliefs and the beliefs of your friends will probably determine whether or not you eat each other if you become extremely hungry. Any friend who you think might eat you is probably a co-worker or a manager — not a friend.

See also: Nutrient-dependent cooperation vs cannibalism (video)


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Transubstantiated? Biological facts and biosocial dimensions

February 23, 2014 | James Kohl

Body Society. 2014; 20:111-132.  Consuming the Lama: Transformations of Tibetan Buddhist Bodies by Tanya Maria Zivkovic


Tibetan understandings about the bodies of spiritual teachers or lamas challenge the idea of a singular and bounded form. Tibetan Buddhists believe that the presence of the lama does not depend on their skin-encapsulated temporal body, or a singular lifespan. After death, it is not uncommon for a lama to materialize in other appearances or to become incorporated into the bodies of others through devotees’ consumption of their bodily remains. In this article, I discuss how the European ingestion of the holy bodies of Tibetan lamas creates new possibilities for embodied intersubjectivity, and also how this practice repositions bodily substance in cannibal discourse.

Comment posted by Jay R. Feierman to ISHE’s human ethology yahoo group:

Excerpt: ”Is this practice analogous or even homologous (from a biological perspective) to Roman Catholics consuming the transubstantiated body and blood of Jesus in the Mass?”

My comment: If it is either analogous or homologous (from a biological perspective), can it be used to support the views on religion and pedophilia that he has detailed in his books?  Pedophilia: Biosocial Dimensions; The Biology of Religious Behavior: The Evolutionary Origins of Faith and Religion.

Now that James Cantor appears to be attempting to convince others that pedophilia may be a form of sexual orientation, it’s biosocial dimensions could be examined in the context of religion and in the context of biological facts that indicate why sexual attraction to reproductively immature conspecifics is not found in other organisms. The fact that pedophilia is not found in other organisms may be why pedophiles have had such difficulty gaining social acceptance of their sexual preferences.

That fact suggests the origins of faith and religion are consistent with what is known about the biophysical constraints on nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological adaptations. It makes sense that religious faith would be associated with the lack of social acceptance of pedophilia. It also makes sense that slight differences and major differences in rituals would add to the biosocial dimensions of acceptance or lack of acceptance of specific behaviors that threatened the social structure of any group that collectively showed no tolerance for behaviors associated with pedophilia. Therefore, biophysical constraints on ecological adaptations appear to be consistently manifested in the context of how biosocial dimensions influence religious behavior. The consistency of biophysical constraints on ecological adaptations and biosocial dimensions that are manifested in human behavior suggest that human behavior did not arise during what some people believe exemplifies mutation-driven evolution in which “constraint-breaking” mutations result in the claim that “We are all mutants“.  See for example: ”In other words, genomic conservation and constraint-breaking mutation is the ultimate source of all biological innovations and the enormous amount of biodiversity in this world. In this view of evolution there is no need of considering teleological elements.” (p. 199)

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Research blinds people to effects of a nutrient-poor environment in cave fish

February 23, 2014 | James Kohl

Genetics of how and why fish swim in schools: Research sheds light on complex social behavior

Excerpt: “The motivation to be social is common among fish and humans,” said Greenwood

Excerpt: “That really suggests that there’s some kind of genetic factor controlling this difference,” Greenwood said.”

Excerpt: “…a single gene could cause fish to detect their environment differently…”

Excerpt: “If we can understand the process by which evolution works and the genes that tend to be affected during evolution in these other model systems, we can apply that to humans,” she said.”

My comment: This report from Sept 13, 2013 on research blinds people, which is probably why it was posted to the ISHE’s yahoo group more than five months later, on 2/23/14. It  does not shed any new light on complex social behavior. It merely implies that the environment might cause genetic differences during the evolution of behavior.

If the researchers had reported that the nutrient-dependent de novo creation of species-specific olfactory receptor genes caused the fish to detect their environment differently than might be expected to occur in blind cave fish, that fact might have helped others understand the process by which ecological variation involves genes that tend to be epigenetically effected during ecological adaptations that occur in other model organisms.

For example, that fact could have been compared to facts about blind cave fish. They do not need eyes in their nutrient-poor environment, and the physiology of reproduction controls eye regression via the ecological adaptations to a nutrient-poor environment that are manifested in morphological and behavioral phenotypes. This exemplifies biologically-based cause and effect that is common among species from microbes to man.

For information on why the moderator of the ISHE’s yahoo group might want to blind people to biological facts, see the moderator’s post and my blog post on transubstantiation:


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Experimental evidence and examples vs opinions

February 22, 2014 | James Kohl

The Age of Olfactory Bulb Neurons in Humans (2012, senior author Frisén)

Abstract excerpt: Results show that olfactory bulb neurons in humans are as old as the individual and argue that adult olfactory bulb neurogenesis is minimal in humans.

Journal article conclusion: “Functional studies in rodents have implicated adult neurogenesis in olfactory memory formation, odorant discrimination, and social interactions (Lazarini and Lledo, 2011). The lack of comparable adult olfactory bulb neurogenesis in humans poses the question whether these functions are mediated by conceptually different mechanisms in humans, or whether the more limited dependence on olfaction in humans compared to rodents in part may be due to the lack of one type of plasticity, adult neurogenesis.”

Reported as: No new neurons in the human olfactory bulb

Excerpt: “This is a strong indication that there is no significant generation of new neurons in this part of the brain, something that sets humans apart from all other mammals.”

My comment: Experimental evidence clearly shows that conserved molecular mechanisms link the epigenetic landscape to the physical landscape of DNA in the organized genome of species from microbes to man via olfactory memory formation, odorant discrimination, and social interactions. Food odors and social odors  link ecological variation from the impact of olfactory/pheromonal input in rats to the differentiation of our cell types and to our morphological and behavioral phenotypes. The importance of acknowledging the conserved molecular mechanisms is apparent in the following article about:

Lifelong Neuronal Rebirth

By Kate Yandell | February 20, 2014

Excerpt: Eventually, Frisén and his colleagues’ findings could impact regenerative medicine research and the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

My comment: In less that two years, Frisén and his colleagues’ findings have gone from denying the similarities across species of mammals, to exemplifying them.  What appears to have not changed is Frisén’s opinion about the importance of the sense of smell in rats compared to its importance in humans.

2012 ”Humans are less dependent on their sense of smell for their survival than many other animals, which may be related to the loss of new cell generation in the olfactory bulb…” says Professor Frisén.

2014 “It is clear that we are much less dependent on olfaction—and have a less developed sense of smell—than most other mammals,” Frisén explained in an e-mail to The Scientist.

My [edited] comment to the Scientist:

The perceptual logic of smell ”…growing recent evidence for expression of olfactory receptors in non-chemosensory tissue” implies that “..the complexity of the olfactory genome may hold secrets for more than understanding olfaction alone.”

This model details how chemical ecology drives adaptive evolution via: (1) ecological niche construction, (2) social niche construction, (3) neurogenic niche construction, and (4) socio-cognitive niche construction. This model exemplifies the epigenetic effects of olfactory/pheromonal conditioning, which alters genetically predisposed, nutrient-dependent, hormone-driven mammalian behavior and choices for pheromones that control reproduction via their effects on luteinizing hormone (LH) and systems biology.

Pheromones and the luteinizing hormone for inducing proliferation of neural stem cells and neurogenesis links my “atoms to ecosystems” approach from food odors and pheromones to neurogenic niche construction, neurodegenerative diseases and to morphological and behavioral phenotypes in species from roundworms to humans.

For example, see: System-wide Rewiring Underlies Behavioral Differences in Predatory and Bacterial-Feeding Nematodes ”We uncover a massive rewiring in a complex system of identified neurons, all of which are homologous based on neurite anatomy and cell body position.”

No experimental evidence suggests that “…we are much less dependent on olfaction—and have a less developed sense of smell—than most other mammals….” That is an ecologically invalidated opinion, which Professor Frisén’s work helps to expose in the context of neurogenic niche construction.

It is also an opinion that is biologically implausible. Like other opinions about cause and effect, it must be placed into the context of the ecological adaptations that enable neurogenic niche construction. Clearly, we cannot be any less dependent on olfaction for nutrient acquisition or the nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled physiology of our reproduction than any other organism with conserved molecular mechanisms. And those mechanisms link the epigenetic landscape to the physical landscape of DNA in the organized genomes of species from microbes to man. The organized genomes in roundworms are organized by the molecular mechanisms that enable neurogenic niche construction in humans.

In that context, opinions about the relative salience of different types of sensory input, which epigenetically effect the molecular mechanisms that affect behavior, and opinions about the primacy of our sense of smell defy The perceptual logic of smell. Ernst et al., tells us it is time for our opinions to become acquainted with biological facts about ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction.

Addendum: Even when it is Frisén who reports results that imply he previously misrepresented biological facts, his opinion about the importance of the human sense of smell compared to its importance in other mammals has not changed. The question arises: why waste time on experiments that provide evidence if the experimental evidence does nothing to change your opinions about the conserved molecular mechanisms of biologically-based cause and effect? However, perhaps the science journalist do not know how to ask scientists the right questions, which would enable accurate reporting of their results.

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