Saturday, April 21, 2007
Public release date: 20-Apr-2007
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Contact: Anna-Lynn Wegener
European Molecular Biology Laboratory
Researchers discover that the centralised nervous system of
vertebrates is much older than expected
The rise of the central nervous system (CNS) in animal evolution has
puzzled scientists for centuries. Vertebrates, insects and worms
evolved from the same ancestor, but their CNSs are different and were
thought to have evolved only after their lineages had split during
evolution. Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory
(EMBL) in Heidelberg now reveal that the vertebrate nervous system is
probably much older than expected. The study, which is published in
the current issue of Cell, suggests that the last common ancestor of
vertebrates, insects and worms already had a centralised nervous
system resembling that of vertebrates today.
Many animals have evolved complex nervous systems throughout the
course of evolution, but their architectures can differ substantially
between species. ...all these species descend from a common ancestor
called Urbilateria. If this ancestor already possessed a nervous
system, what it might have looked like and how it gave rise to the
diversity of nervous systems seen in animals today is what Detlev
Arendt and his group study at EMBL. To do so, they investigate the
nervous system of a marine annelid worm called Platynereis dumerilii.
"Platynereis can be considered a living fossil," says Arendt, "it
still lives in the same environment as the last common ancestors used
to and has preserved many ancestral features, including a prototype
invertebrate CNS. Comparing the molecular fingerpint of Platynereis
nerve cells with what is known about vertebrates revealed surprising
"Our findings were overwhelming," says Alexandru Denes, who carried
out the research in Arendt's lab. "The molecular anatomy of the
developing CNS turned out to be virtually the same in vertebrates and
Platynereis. Corresponding regions give rise to neuron types with
similar molecular fingerprints and these neurons also go on to form
the same neural structures in annelid worm and vertebrate."...
The findings provide strong evidence for a theory that was first put
forward by zoologist Anton Dohrn in 1875. It states that vertebrate
and annelid CNS are of common descent and vertebrates have turned
themselves upside down throughout the course of evolution.
"This explains perfectly why we find the same centralised CNS on the
backside of vertebrates and the bellyside of Platynereis," Arendt
says. "How the inversion occurred and how other invertebrates have
modified the ancestral CNS throughout evolution are the next exciting
questions for evolutionary biologists."
To continue, with slight clarification, if interested:
See Neil Shubins slideshow, especially page 6 slide 5, to compare Hox gene positions in human and fruit fly.
My earlier explanation of primitive pentadactylity (5 digits) didn't well cover the duplication of reptile/mammal rear limbs from the forelimb carriage, this duplication is actually the same as the duplication of (beetle) 4 wings / 4 jaw mouthparts from the primitive frontal digits.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Facial identification in semi-vertical float-wading anthropoids would be significant.
[I'll have to reread this and edit it, it's just a few thoughts about the significance of facial identification resulting from semi-vertical wading]
The Suaq Swamp orangutans are social, not isolated. Borneo orangs may have suffered a population bottleneck (typhus-like?) which resulted an asocial reproductive system. Borneo orangs are said to have more violent sex, possibly the bottleneck reduced the Borneo male education system, so loner/"rapist" type behavior became dominant, as opposed to chimp/bonobo group, gorilla harem, gibbon partnership and suaq orang "village". A significant clue might be this: Borneo orangs don't attempt to eat seeds from neesia fruit, but Suaq swamp orangs do using stick tools held in their lips. These neesia seeds are very high in fats, very beneficial to eaters. I'd say the Borneo orangs lost this important knowledge (sex and food habits) due to a dramatic effect, ie a bottleneck. I think they have been separate for 1/2 million years.
During Ice Age lowering of sea levels, perhaps only the Sumatran (Suaq) orangs connected to mainland South East Asia, leaving the Borneo orangs isolated.
The facial expression = group cohesion model fits well with Estuarboreal Anthropoids, if the LCA grouped in tidal water and evolved primitive laryngeal air sacs as a sinus or pocket in the soft tissue in the throat, which later diversified into the variety of air sacs seen today (see 4 common types). The oldest known monkeys had paranasal sinuses (Egypt), some have since lost them (savanna baboons), PNS combined with lar. air sacs would have kept the face up above the water but the rest of the body immersed and used to vocalize.
This Anthropoid LCA seems to have split into monkeys and apes, with the monkeys having variable tail lengths and air sacs and PNS, while the apes had a more limited base. Imaginary example: Anthropoids started from species of tarsiers (now extinct) which rafted from Madagascar to Afar, they were already partly estuarboreal, but had been niche-defined by competing lemurs and tarsiers which did not exist at Afar. Afar probably lacked thick rainforest but had monsoonal forest with seabirds nesting on rocks, fruit bats and mangroves without land predators (perhaps birds), and water may have been too salty for much crocs. At least a million years passed, before sea levels dropped, those which expanded outward along mangrove coast tropical rainforests became the miocene apes and continued to semi-vertically float-wade, while monkey ancestors expanded into monsoonal inland forests that developed in Arabia, apes expanded to both Eurasia and Africa during global wet period, then monkeys expanded into the drier Arabian forests (and circle north west into Egypt and Africa, as well as travel through Asia) when climate changed, miocene apes reduced.
Meanwhile, afar was still producing anthropoids (perhaps the barbary macaques were the last monkeys there) some which would develop into Hominoids remaining at the same area but during a sea rise the macaques and hylobatids expanded east along the coasts. Pongids split east later along coasts, while LCA HPG expanded into Africa in many waves as the region was uplifted and the island became a part-time peninsula. allowing some 2way traffic. G moved further inland, HP stayed coastal.
Most likely the OWM split from the ape LCA, moving upstream to more terrestrial habitat, while the NWM was coastal and somehow got to SA. The ape LCA
NWM may have floated across the Atlantic to Brazil, if they possessed some brackish-water processing, closeable air sacs and ate fish, krill and seaweed and could sleep in branches without nesting, the chances of survival would improve. If OTOH the LCA anthropoid was a strict freshwater primate, how could they survive such a trip? Antarctica?
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Coconuts provide a source of water, and during rainy periods, puddles and upturned shells would capture rainwater and freshwater springs would be available. Another source of water was the metabolic freshwater produced by the body from eating foods in addition to the free water inside fish.
Another likely source is rivers continuously pouring out their freshwater into the sea. The water further down-current (past the river mouth) is far more fresh than normal seawater, being variably brackish (depending on tide height and position, in some areas about the same salinity as blood plasma) so potentially it was sustainably drinkable without resulting in electrolyte imbalance. Too much salt and too little salt are both bad, and same with too much/little water. See this article on marathons, too much freshwater + not enough supplemental salt is dangerous:
The body needs optimal O2 & CO2, but also needs the optimal amount of Na & Cl, I assume as much when swimming and diving as when walking or jogging along the beach especially in sunny warm tropical conditions. It has been suggested that a diver should be hydrated preperatory to a dive, it makes sense a diver should have the right balance of electrolytes as well, for better cellular and myo/hemo/neuro/cyto-globin operation, and this would affect hypercapnea and hypoxia endurance capabilities while diving.
I'm talking here about ancient divers optimizing their dive time and performance while dive-foraging on a daily basis (not emergency situations), replenishing their water balance without entering inland rivers where the tigers, lions, crocs awaited them and other thirsty prey. (Later they figured out how to make dug-out canoes with embers and stone hand-axes and were able to penetrate the rivers far inland along gallery forests in relative safety, presumably with push-pole spears etc.).
By swimming (perhaps on a boogieboard of driftwood) offshore in clear blue seawater, and swimming into the freshwater outflow for a slightly brackish drink, beyond the normal croc zone, I'd think the only large predator would be the bull shark, which will enter large rivers easily but AFAIK doesn't target small freshwater stream outflows. I assume they used a sort of knife-blade-spatula to pry molluscs and crustaceans and perhaps spear slow groundfish and as a weapon against sharks, this tool would take the place of large canine teeth. (Chimps have been seen using sharpened sticks to spear prey in tree hollows, that's not too different from using sharp sticks to spear groundfish or sharks.)
I should note though, that some seas are very high in chemicals which cause other problems even when diluted to a brackish level, eg. Dead Sea is high in Magnesium which causes diarrhea. Of course in modern days, river outflow water would have to be checked for pollution hazards.
[Note: For more info, see also my website at THE-ARC.wikispaces]
Director, Naturalist, Author & Songwriter
The Humboldt Eureka - Aquamarine Research Center
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Kurt Vonnegut Jr., author, wrote on marine iguana
Knut Schmidt-Nielson, comparative physiologist
Daryl Habel, paleoanthropologist
All influenced me
All recently passed away
My condolences to the families and friends
"Dive well and come up for more"
[Caution: Do not attempt without ENT physiology background]
While standing vertical or while prone, not much success due to non-voluntary leakage, perhaps due to lack of practice. While supine, with head lowermost, allowed H2O saline (table salt mixed in tap water) into nasal cavity to fill. No discomfort, but not much effect either. Unknown if sinuses were filled, assume they were, unknown if middle ear s were filled, attempted to fill middle ears via holding nostrils and pressurizing with tongue, some swishing but not certain if successful, now hearing is slightly tinnitus-like in right ear but hearing seems aerobic. Now waiting to see if any additional drainage occurs, none noticed. Difficult to determine for sure whether cavities are air or water filled. Valving is not well understood or implemented at this time. Post effects not noticeable, same as previous to test, except moisture laden. Difficult to determine during test the various dive positions effects, vertical vs horizontal, due to gravity and non-buoyant conditions. During descent, no significant difficulties expected, during horizontal at depth, no difficulties expected, during ascent possibly problematic due to possible leakage. Now left nare partly clogged, right nare open.
From surface, hypothetically submerge face and allow water into nostrils while head is lowest, until nasal cavity seems filled but not overfilled.
During test, alphabet (except M, N) pronounced, clicks and various sounds made, no humming possible.
Yet to be found: middle ear condition while submerged, regarding hearing and equalization.
Left ear Eustachian tubes easily manipulated, aerated via pinching nose and pressurising (followed by automatic burp & reduction of pressure with brief slight pain), but right ear ET not voluntarily adjustable at this time possible, right ET is water filled but unlikely. Why right ET only slightly adjustable, yet left nare is partly clogged? Right ET is currently and recent-historically about 1/3 as inflatable when pinching nares and pressurising, possibly due to earwax accumulation near eardrum of right ear(?), or some other cause (possibly scars from childhood earache history, although never noticed previous to 5 years ago, also possibly related to wisdom teeth removal but this is doubted). No previous history of adult ear problems.
Still uncertain: middle ears and sinuses water filled or not. Now both ET are adjustable, although right ET less so.
Require better determination of flooded middle ears and sinuses.
After test, sniffed black pepper, no sneeze even after trying a few times vigorously, went outside to bright sun and sneezed once due to combined sunlight and pepper.
Just noticed: present burping caused slight pain in left middle ear due to pressure differential.
By adjusting jaw a bit, left ET pressure is alleviated.
1/2 hour later slight nasal leakage, probably from water in sinus traps.
3 hours later: very very slight ear warming and pressure, stuffy feeling in ears, nose normal but slightly more sensitive to smell and tactile.
4+ hours later: normal condition
Assumption: Water was too fresh, not salty enough, caused stuffy feeling.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
[Caution: Do not attempt tests without ENT physiology background]
Eureka!! Another discovery at THE-ARC!
Harmonic intervals in sound & structure
The ossified skeletal ribcage and/or vertebral column may
have originally evolved partly as a sound receiver, where
calcium (critical for hearing in inner ears) accumulated
in the cartilage for better hearing. Note the parabolic
rib cage and aerial antennae-like vertebral column, this
Pre-Homo-sapiens condition is primitive and continued in
early Homo sapiens via very thick dense bones and
occiput. Consider the very dense bones of the sirenians,
which were mistakenly thought to be deaf, but are now
known to have good hearing.
Obviously the skeleton is primarily structural now, but
that may have been a result of initial sound improvement.
Now from Synergeo group:
The oral clicking is something I've researched, it most
likely goes back at least 20,000 years, and IMO much
further back in time. The Khoisan peoples (including many
different tribes Hottentots, Hazde, !Kung, ...) use
clicks as consonants, and likely consonants are derived
from clicks IMO. Khoisan has 4 tones and 4 clicks, while
Chinese has 4 tones but the 4 clicks have derived into
consonants, other languages have largely lost both the
tones and clicks, replacing them with various sounds.
Dive-Song hypothesis suggests that while in seawater,
our ancestors communicated via humming (the person at
the surface) and clicking (the person at depth seeking
lobsters, clams, sea urchins). Parallels in clicking
include dolphins, sperm whales, walruses, seals, and
croaker fish and snapping shrimp, while parallels in
humming include blue whale (whalesong), walruses,
manatees. I don't know if sea otters vocalize under
water, but they do at the surface.
This is part of the reason why I was interested in the
12 & 31 links, to see if harmony and the Ico/VE
splitting related to bones. Sound travels far far better
through water than through air, IF the ears are adapted
to water-bone conduction (seawater in nose and middle
ears, but soft palate valve closed).
Here's a neat thought: Have you noticed that the spinal
vertebrae and the ribs extend out quite similarly to
some kinds of antennae, like TV aerial antenae? What is
the difference between a parabolic dish antenae, a single
straight antennae and a branched antenae on a roof?
-O Dish antenae
______ Pole antenae
->>> Aerial antenae
<<<<<= Rooftop aerial ../|\.. If sound is transmitted along the ribs to the nerves and if vertebrae transmit sound to spinal column via electrochemical paths and set to the brain... Now think of Bucky Fuller's geodesic domes, "radomes" which housed radar receivers in the arctic, with a fiberglass shell exterior and a metal antennae inside the dome, the fiberglass allowed transmission through the walls. So does dolphin skin and fat and so does human fat and skin, while bone deflects sound waves. The only thing that stops sonar in the body (I think) is air bubbles (in the bone and soft tissue). Ancient divers allowed water into the middle ear when diving via the nostrils, while keeping the soft palate closed, this equalized the ears & sinuses while reducing buoyancy during dive, and using the surface water means that the sinuses and middle ears had warmth even during a deep cold dive. Whales instead have middle ears with blood vessels which fill with blood, which again allows sound transmission. If one subscribes to the idea that the sphere is sort of the base in nature, and that all other shapes derive from it, and therefore relate to it both regarding physical matter and forms of energy (sound waves, light waves), then the 31 and 12 "coincidences" fit patterns. The 31 and 12 positions aren't speculation, they are fact. But interpreting them as correlative is speculative. I followed 2 rules: 1) the basal (simplest) form in nature is the sphere 2) the basal (simplest) structure in nature is the tetrahedron. With 2) being a subset of this: The (4 sided) tetrahedron, (8 sided) octahedron and (20 sided) icosahedron are the only structural forms in the universe. All other structural forms are multiples of or are derived from these primary structures. [paraphrased from Bucky Fuller's Synergetics] Beyond that, humans are not spherical, but note the roundedness of the tips of the fingers, the tip of the nose, etc. What about hair? Primitively, hair is round per cross section. Among Central Africans, far inland from seashore diving, frizzy/curly hair developed via natural selection as a way to prevent blood sucking body lice (which can spread typhus) from attaching their eggs to frizzy hair. So, hair is dead and like skin sells eventually are disposed of, so hair can grow long (due to strong protein strands). Feathers tend to maintain roundness because they have blood flow. Sound is spherical, expanding from a source point, like light. Human embryogenesis is initially spherical and divides the egg according to symmetrical rules 1/2, 1/4, ... Being a naturalist, I like to see how nature operates. http://home.usit.net/~rybo6/rybo/id7.html
This link ties together some things of note: primes, nucleus magic numbers, equilateral sphere division into 31 (structural 5 fold icosahedral) and 25 non-structural 4 fold cuboctahedral), sine waves on 4 levels (remniscent of a snake's sinusoidal propulsion), etc.
The 31 spinal pairs, with an anterior spherical skullcase, in the human species, does indeed seem significant. The sphere is the simplest form (sea turtle egg (sphere) is more primitive than chicken egg (ovoid) because it wasn't selected against like the chicken egg (which had gone through a cliff-nesting stage where spherical eggs
were less likely to survive).
The human skull (sphere-like) is more primitive than most other animals, it is less prognathic or out-of round, in part due to food aquisition methods which don't require special features (saber teeth). The spine and vertebrae are derived from the skull, they once were the propulsion mechanism, as the tail of the zooflagellate is.
An animal that moves much in water (eel) typically has a rounded cross section and lengthened axis. However, an animal that moves little or not at all tends to be more sphere like (sponge). The method of food gathering and digestion would affect greatly the form of the body.
nucleus sphericity and magic numbers
Skull & spine
The difficulty with attributing universal significance to any feature of the European harmonic system is that it is contingent upon the nature of the dominant instruments of the musical culture. In western "art" music, the bowed string and blown wind instruments (including the human voice) dominate. Because their vibrations are forced (energy is continually provided) these produce sounds with harmonic partials,
as a consequence of which harmonic intervals (those with frequency ratios that can be expressed in small integers) sound acoustically smooth. In musical cultures where the dominant instruments are tuned percussion (notably Javanese and Balinese gamelan) other intervals sound smoother and different scales (e.g. the pelog and slendro scales of the gamelan, which sound very unfamiliar to Western ears) make use of them.
For further discussion see:
Much of this essay is concerned with musical analysis. However, the acoustic arguments outlined above are given more fully in Chapter 4 and in the books by Benade and Sethares (see References).
Thanks Ken, interesting. Forced air and vocalizing sends sound forward to the listener via convection I guess (more so in dry, cool air?), while gamelans, bronze bells and gongs and nasal song/humming are less directive and more diffused (more effective in humid, warm air conduction?).
Tropical Asians use their hands in dancing much more than their feet, and speak with many ng- sounds; Northerly Westerners attend to steps and body movements while dancing, with hands for grasping partners, and rarely initiate words with ng- sounds.
Seems like climate plays a significant part in these various styles.
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Question: Is this accurate as drawn, or is a spherical version more correct?
Nature likes spheres. The black lines describe closest links (bonds) between points, points are the proton and neutron centers. So ignoring the actual black lines, and instead see each point as center of a bubble, then does it become spheroid?
The sphere in nature:
least surface area, maximal surface tension in equilibrium of non-crystaline sub-units.
In a body full of non-crystaline sub-units, for each sub-unit (eg. nucleons) to have the maximum number of bonds (contact points), the body must be spherical, any other form will result in fewer contact points in sum.
If the sub-units have weak bonds, the sphere allows the most secure body, simply due to the higher number of contact points per sub-unit. A sphere of weakly bonded sub-units may be stronger than a non-sphere with strongly bonded sub-units.
So regarding the nucleus, if double magic, the body is spherical with maximized contact points.
" ", if not magic, the body will compact towards a sphere-like condition in order to maximize bonds.
The exception occurs when the nucleus is double magic plus one extra nucleon, in which the extra nucleon has the least number of contact points, and so partially protrudes from the sphere. For every additional nucleon added, the sum of contact points is greater, so it tends toward greater sphericity.
This proves that nucleus is never cigar-shaped (except when the sum of nucleons = 2) or disk shaped (except when the sum of nucleons = 3), but instead, the nucleus is always spheroidal except during fusion or fission.
The neutrons act as buffers between the protons allowing this tight spherical fit. If the number of neutrons is less than protons, then the protons can't seat properly into the sphere shell, and will stay on the surface (reducing sphericity of the body) reducing the body density and thus the perceived gravity.
Monday, April 2, 2007
Team: Texas study shows ancient primates
Mon Apr 2, 5:39 PM ET
BEAUMONT, Texas - A team of anthropologists said their study of South Texas fossil deposits revealed evidence including ancient teeth that shows the area was home to numerous types of primates 42 million years ago.
Lamar University Professor Jim Westgate and two colleagues announced the discovery of three new genera and four new species of primates based on their examination of material removed from Lake Casa Blanca International State Park near Laredo and the Mexican border.
Westgate said the Laredo area was a coastal lagoon during the stage of geologic history known as the Eocene Epoch, which was when primates were becoming extinct on much of the continent.
"It was kind of the last gasp for the primates in North America," said Westgate, a professor of earth and space sciences.
The researchers presented their findings last week at a conference of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in Philadelphia.
Westgate and others are still studying the 15 tons of material excavated from the park's fossil deposits between 1983 and 1996. Researchers recovered 1,800 mammal teeth, including 50 from primates.
Dana Cope, a co-author of the study and associate professor of anthropology at College of Charleston in South Carolina, compared the teeth with other primate teeth from the same era. He said the newly discovered teeth, which measure about 4 millimeters, were not from known primates.
"This is a very important locality," Cope said. "Not much is known about Eocene mammals outside the Rocky Mountains."
Cope said the genus the researches have focused on likely had a diet of leaves and foliage and weighed about two pounds. Its closest living relative would probably be the tarsier primate that lives in the Philippines.
Westgate said one of the project's main goals was to excavate the material and protect it for study and documentation.
"We knew way back we had something important," he said. "Now we're targeting areas that needed more research."