Saturday, November 28, 2009

Amazing animals

A Hawaiian duck that resembled a platypus-mole-kiwi, probably foraged in forest duff and shallow streams, huge trigeminus - why? electrosensory bill or nares? apnea adaptation? whiskery feathers?

An octopus carries and uses coconut shells
octopus hand tools

long tail glider
the tail has 2 rows of ventral ridges, reminds me of my interpretation of dino-bird and pterosaur long bony tails with bristle scale feathers to grasp tree bark, both taxa co-evolved into short tailed flyers with improved perching rear toe claws but in this "squirrel" which lacks wings is sufficient for gliding from tree to tree.

Both from Christopher Taylor's nature blog, Catalogue of Organisms

From Zooillogix nature blog: antarctic seals & elephant birth
leopard seals
weddell seals

Cameron's blog: Galapagos Marine iguana

Marine CO2 effects on shellfish, crustaceans, calcific algae:
crabs & CO2
(compare to green plants in soil which can't absorb carbonic acid through roots, so must consume CO2 in air via photosynthesis.)
eco-web-tet: ants, fungi, bacteria, plant in 4 way symbiotic relationship

Ich! Parasite has 2 endoparasites:

Humans and saltwater: (h/t Frank at Greg's site)

a recent study in ultra-marathon runners (100 mi) found that they lost between 11.2 and 144 g of sodium during the event. Obviously the range is huge and it really depends on the person. Total water loss in the same event ranges from 14 to 36 liters.

A liter of seawater contains approximately 35g of salt. One liter of blood contains 9g of salt. For every liter of seawater you drank you would need to add 2.8 liters of fresh unsalted water to be “even.”
While sweating excessive amounts of salt would be deleterious to humans inhabiting hot and humid inland environments, sweating large quantities of salt that was isotonic with the blood stream would be advantageous in a hot and humid coastal marine environment where significant
quantities of marine invertebrates were consumed." MW

PZ on evo development of nervous system: exaptation of simple organelles in protists to tissue cells, salt control, electric potential...
nerve evolution

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Relative volumes & concentric hierarchy

tetra tripod table, balloonage

Icosa alloys mimic elements:

Sphere/tet/cube packing, entropy, tets in quasicrystal disks, density in box container
quasi-crystal tet packing
Researchers packed tetrahedra into a cubic box more densely than ever before: 85.03
(Cubes have a 100 percent packing fraction in a cubic box, while spheres pack at only 74 percent.) The tetrahedron was for decades conjectured to be the only solid that packs less densely than spheres, until just last year when U-M mathematics graduate student Elizabeth Chen found an arrangement of 77% that proved that speculation wrong.

the more significant finding is that the tetrahedrons can unexpectedly organize into intricate quasicrystals at a point in the computer simulation when they take up roughly half the space in the theoretical box.

In this computer experiment, many thousands of tetrahedrons organized into dodecagonal, or 12-fold, quasicrystals made of parallel stacks of rings around pentagonal dipyramids. A pentagonal dipyramid contains five tetrahedrons arranged into a disk. The researchers discovered that this motif plays a key role in the overall packing. In the simulation, the tetrahedrons organized into a quasicrystal and settled on a packing that, when compressed further, used up 83 percent of the space. Engel then reorganized the shapes into a "quasicrystalline approximate," which is a periodic crystal closely resembling the quasicrystal. He found an arrangement that filled more than 85 percent of the space.

This is the first result showing such a complicated self-arrangement of hard particles without help from attractive interactions such as chemical bonds, Glotzer said.

Thermos vacuum allows IR radiation outwards through glass, photonic crystals reduce IR heat loss better than pure vacuum
In a typical thermos, a vacuum is used to reduce heat transfer. Scientists have found that layers of photonic crystals in a vacuum can reduce the thermal conductance to about half that of a pure vacuum. Basically, heat can be transferred from one material to another in three main ways: convection, conduction, and radiation. Conduction and convection both require some kind of material medium for heat to pass through; therefore, the lack of material in a pure vacuum greatly minimizes the effectiveness of these two processes. However, heat can also be transferred through infrared radiation, a form of light that is invisible but can be felt as heat. In the example of the thermos, infrared radiation can travel through the vacuum to the thermos' outer wall; when absorbed by the outer wall, the radiation causes the molecules in the outer wall to vibrate and release heat. Significantly, photonic crystals can have band gaps that forbid propagation of certain frequency ranges of light. In this case, they could be used to block infrared radiation.

The scientists found that a 100-micron-thick structure made of a stack of 10 photonic crystal layers, each 1 μm thick and separated by 90-μm gaps of vacuum, could reduce the thermal conductance to about half that of a pure vacuum. In a more recent study, Fan and his colleagues calculated the fraction of all frequencies that the photonic crystal allows through. They were somewhat surprised to find that the thermal conductance doesn't depend on the thickness of the layers but only on how fast light travels through the material, or its index of refraction.

Circles & spheres, flakes and crystals, water & ice
super cold
Take a regular tetrahedron and set the distance from vertex to tet center as unit 1. Then an
edge of the tet is 1.632993.. . So this number is directly related to the ubiquitous Maraldi angle, 109.47.. degrees (the caltrop angle -- the vertex-center-vertex angle in a regular tet).
CircumsphereRadius/Edge = (1/4)*SQRT(6)
Edge/CircumsphereRadius = 4/SQRT(6)
Vertex-Vertex central Maraldi Angle = arc cos -1/3 ( or ) 2*ACOS(SQRT(1/3))
Giacomo_F._Maraldi: "In math known for obtaining experimentally the angle in the
rhombic dodecahedron shape in 1712, which is still called Maraldi angle."

"Water is a network-forming matter. You can imagine the structure of the network as a kitchen sponge, Matsumoto continues. The sponge structure is originally a kind of foam but membranes are lost, and only the beams - bonds - remain. In both network of water and kitchen sponge, four bonds meet at a point, or node, to form a three dimensionally connected random network. As Plateau pointed out in 19th century, four beams of a foam crosses at a node with regular tetrahedral angle - Maraldi's angle - similar to the waters hydrogen bond network. Matsumoto used computer simulation to look at three ways to change the volume of the foam cells: extension of the bonds, a change in the containing angle between the bonds, and a change in network topology. By discriminating the three contributions, the mechanism became very clear. One contributes to thermal expansion, another one contributes to thermal contraction, and the last one does not. Density maximum is a result of these competing contributions, he explains. "

Caltrops: reg tet 'land mines' The simple design paradigm says that the most elegant, efficient, iconic inventions are necessarily the simplest; like the elastic band, the brick, and the pizza. A caltrop is a simple piece of shaped metal (concrete tank killers); a spiky tetrahedron which, when liberally scattered on the ground, causes a great deal of annoyance to any passing dudes or ponies. And the brilliant thing is that however you drop them, they always land spiky point up.

Biological size, volume, area, fluid flow
size & form

Interaction on Bucky Fuller's tetrahedra as unit volume in synergetic sequence, with input from Allan, Kirby, myself:

Shape: Volume (notes)
MITE: 1/8 (AAB mods)
Tetra: 1 (24 A mods)
Coupler: 1 (8 MITE's)
Stella Octangula: 1.5 (Little octahedron of .5 volume + little tets totalling volume of 1. Notice that the Stella Octangula occupies half the volume of its enclosing cube.)
Cubocta: 2.5 (1/2 ƒ)
Octa: 4 (dual of cube)
Cube: 3 (dual of octa)
Cube-Octahedron Compound: 4.5 (first stellation of cub-octahedron)*
Rh-Dodeca: 6 (12 half-couplers, other ways)
Escher's Solid: 12 tetras (or 12 couplers [see above], other ways. Notice that the Escher's Solid occupies half the volume of its enclosing cube.)
Cubocta: 20 (volume = 8*2.5)
Cube: 24 (2ƒ)
Stella Octangula: 12 (Octa volume of 4 + 8 tets. Notice that the Stella Octangula occupies half the volume of its enclosing cube.)
Octahedron: 32 (2ƒ)
Cube-Octahedron Compound: 36 (larger version)

*The (small) cube-octahedron compound has a volume of 4.5, since the cube corners are
half the heights of the regular tetrahedrons.

Relative Volume Sequence: (mine, preliminary, w/ response from Allan)

tet 1 (reg or irreg)
reg tet volume, of course!
coupler 1 (irreg octa)

tet duo 2 (vertex/edge/face bonded)
two tetrahedrons

duotet cube 3
The volume of the cube is 3 tetrahedrons.

octa 4
The volume of the octahedron is 4 tetrahedrons.

The volume of the cube-octahedron compound or first stellation of cub-octahedron is 4.5 tetrahedra. If the octants are elevated even more to regular tetrahedra, then you will get the cuboctahedral star with a volume of 5. (see below)

star tet 5 [tetra-star]
The star tetrahedron is the unfolded net of the pentachoron, which is bounded by 5 tetrahedra.
rhombic triacontahedron 5
reg tet stell cubocta 5 [cubocta star w/ reg tet ecto]

rh dodeca 6
Rhombic dodecahedron has twice the volume of the cube. The volume of the stellated rhombic dodecahedron is 12, which is half the volume of the enclosing 2ƒ cube of volume 24. (below)

star octa 12 [octa star]
Stellated octahedron has half the volume of the enclosing 2ƒ cube of volume 24.
stellated rh dodeca 12

icosa int 18.51 endo
If you think that the icosahedron has volume 20, then you're obviously from another (fourth) dimension! The icosahedron, as we know in our flat Euclidean three-dimensional realm, has a endo- volume of about 18.51 tetrahedra.

cubocta 20 endo
This is the jitterbug, fully extended.

star icosa ext 20 [icosa star reg tet ecto]
But that's assuming that each face has a REGULAR tetrahedron on it.

star cubocta 40 [cubocta star reg tet endo ecto]
The 2ƒ version of the cube-octahedron compound or stellated cuboctahedron has a volume of 36 tetrahedra. For the star cuboctahedron to have a volume of 40, each face would have to be stellated with equilateral triangles (i.e. half-octahedra and regular tetrahedra). (see above)

> Icosa (Fuller explanation, Amy Edmondson, paraphrased)
> Its endo-volume of approximately 18.51 does not fit rationally into
> the cosmic hierarchy with whole numbers nor click-stop when
> jitterbugging.

> I found this interesting, a clue perhaps re. 18.51 1/electron

> "The icosahedron contracts to a radius less than the radii of the
> vector equilibrium from which it derived. There is a sphere that is
> tangent to the other 12 spheres at the center of an icosahedron, but
> that sphere is inherently smaller. Its radius is less than the
> spheres in tangency which generate the 12 vertexes of the vector
> equilibrium or icosahedron. Since it is no longer the same-size
> sphere, it is not in the same frequency or in the same energetic
> dimensioning. The two structures are so intimate, but they do not
> have the same amount of energy. For instance, in relation to the
> tetrahedron as unity, the [endo]volume of the icosahedron is 18.51 in
> respect to the vector equilibrium's [endo]volume of 20 [and also the
> star icosa's ectovolume of 20]. The ratio is tantalizing because the
> mass of the electron in respect to the mass of the neutron is one
> over 18.51. That there should be such an important kind of seemingly
> irrational number provides a strong contrast to all the other
> rational data of the tetrahedron as unity, the octahedron as four,
> the vector equilibrium as 20, and the rhombic dodecahedron as six:
> beautiful whole rational numbers". Syn 400.00 system

> "When the volume of a tetrahedron is specified as one unit, other
> ordered polyhedra are found to have precise whole-number volume
> ratios, as opposed to the cumbersome and often irrational quantities
> generated by employing the cube as the unit of volume. Furthermore,
> the tetrahedron has the most surface area per unit of volume".
> (sphere has least) A Fuller Explanation

> shows IVM in a tet
> from previous:

> Relative volumes: (endo = interior, ecto = exterior shell)

> Tet: (@IVM), vol 1
> Oct: (@IVM), vol 4
> Star Tet: center tet endovol 1 + ectovol 4 (ext tets), vol 5
> Star Oct: center oct endovol 4 + ectovol 8 (@IVM), vol 12
> Star Icosa: center icosa endovol 18.51 + ectovol 20, vol 38.51
> Star Cubocta: endovol 20 + ectovol 20, vol 40

> DD
> On Nov 23, 2009, at 8:00 AM, rybo6 wrote:

> > "Topologically, lines are composed of points."

> > I don't know how it is defined elsewhere, but to me, a line is a
> > point with depth (not = zero), and a point is a line with depth = 0.
> > [Where 'depth' is any direction.] This does not conflict with the
> > definition of a point being a line crossing (which is the same as 2
> > or more vectors meeting at a vertex).
> > The irreg tets that make an icosa, do their struts meet at the
> > center, or do each reach to the opposite face? I thought each face
> > triangle had a tet apex at the icosa center (not modelable with
> > toothpicks), but maybe it goes to the opposite side at a point. Or
> > are there no irreg tets in an icosa?

> > Here (@ link bottom) see the regular icosa and star icosa:
> >

> > Here see that 2 halves of duotet = cubocta & 2 halves of cubocta =
> > duotet. Do the relative volumes equate?
> >

> >
> >
> > Relative volumes: (endo = interior, ecto = exterior)

> > Tet: vol 1 (@IVM)
> > Oct: vol 4 (@IVM)
> > Star Tet: center tet endovol 1 + ectovol 4 (ext tets)
> > Star Oct: center oct endovol 4 + ectovol 8 (@IVM)
> > Star Icosa: center icosa endovol 18.51 + ectovol 20
> > Star Cubocta: endovol 20 + ectovol 20

> > Icosa (Fuller explanation, Amy Edmondson, paraphrased)
> > Its endo-volume of approximately 18.51 does not fit rationally into
> > the cosmic hierarchy with whole numbers nor click-stop when
> > jitterbugging. The icosahedron is a phase in between octahedron and
> > vector equilibrium, rather than a definitive stopping point in the
> > flow. The icosahedron is thus restricted to single-layer
> > construction, able to contract/collapse to rigidity, its radius too
> > small to permit having same-size nuclear sphere. (461.05)
> > You could not have two adjacent layers of vector equilibria and then
> > have them collapse to become the icosahedron, it has to be an outside
> > layer, remote from other layers... . It may have as high a frequency
> > as nature may require. The center is vacant. (456.20-1).

> > If the center of an icosa is vacant, should its structural volume be
> > zero? Consider the volume of a donut/torus, is the donut hole volume
> > included in the donut's volume? The donut hole does not contribute to
> > the structure of the donut, it is vacant, but it is part of the donut
> > definition. That is sort of what I think the inner volume of an icosa
> > is, a sort of donut hole, a vestige, therefore not a whole number,
> > perhaps like the interstitial spaces in ball packing.

> > DD

Cubocta = cube & octahedron dual intercept, VE when complete
Octet = octahedron & tetrahedron 3D lattice (CCP), cubocta or star oct IVM
Cuboctet = IVM with cubocta voids (vector flexor) expand-contract jitterbug
shrinks from 20 tetvol hollow cubocta with single bonds to 4 tetvol octet with double bonds

Relativity on earth
Bucky's design science goal was "To make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone." Tim Tyler: How can you tell if the world is 'working' for someone? What % of humanity is the world 'working' for today? It seems rather unrealistic to expect nobody to be disadvantaged. Advantages in nature are relative - "evolution is driven by relative fitnesses, not absolute fitnesses. Santayana's aphorism, ``It is not enough to succeed; others must fail.''
At any time, an organism's chances of surviving depend not on how fit it is, but on how fit it is relative to its competition."
Neutron stars do really exist. Long after the protons and electrons have long given up the struggle to maintain their identity against the force of gravity, all that is left is neutrons, pressed together into one big atomic nucleus a few kilometres across.

Stars are big balls of gases. Their size is determined by the balance between two opposing forces: gravity pulling the gas inwards, and pressure pushing it outwards. Just like the pressure of air in a balloon, pressure reflects the fact that it's hard to push things together. The pressure depends on how many things you're trying to push together (density), but it also depends on how hard they are to push together. At higher temperatures, the air molecules have more energy, so it takes more effort to keep them from bouncing off each other. There's a relation, then, between the amount of matter and the pressure it exerts in a given setting, which is called the equation of state. We have a fairly good idea of this relationship for the interior of stars like our own sun. Eventually, as our sun radiates energy away, the internal pressure will fall and the gravitational force will increase the density until the point at which electrons are forced together (or, more precisely into degenerate states) forming a white dwarf, and for these conditions we also have a fairly good idea of the equation of state. But for more massive stars, the collapse keeps going past this point and is only halted when the remaining neutrons are forced too 'close' together. And at this point we reach some uncertainty (at least according to 1980 era graduate texts) in what the equation of state is. So there is some real scientific uncertainty in the mass of the neutron teaspoon.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Note to a colleague re. the ARC

A fine diving spot: Deans Blue Hole, Bahamas
Divers paradise
Myostatin protein regulates muscle build, effect on myoglobin, brain, jaws?
myostatin vs follistatin
nose nerves, inf conchae, PSR
Physis: a marine journal, CIEE in Bonaire
Blue planet divers site, diver list
Blue Planet Divers
Shoal/slow/shallow, sandbar, reef, wave patterns at shallows
Shoal, lagoon, Ayre/lake/laut/loch

The derivation of the word ayre is from Old Norse. It refers to a shallow bay/lake being separate from the sea by a sandspit. This may partly cut off a sheltered stretch of water from the sea to form a shallow freshwater loch.[2] This word is still in use for the particular landform in the Northern Isles of Scotland.

In Malay/Indonesian, ayer or air means water, laut means lake or sea.

The post-coastal Hadza Hunter/Gatherer camps

Isotope markers in bone: Seal (high) vs mollusk (low) in human diet, iris bulbs, at South African coastal Holocene sites
South Africa coastal hunting and gathering diet
Through chemical analysis of bone collagen from 69 skeletons dated from 4,500 to 2,000 years before present, what foods were you able to determine that Holocene populations in Robberg/Plettenberg and the Matjes River Rock Shelter were consuming?
In this area, people were able to choose from a long menu of foods including venison and the meat of other wild animals, berries, edible roots and corms, particularly of plants in the iris family, seafood including shellfish, fish, seabirds, stranded dolphins or whales, and much else. All these items have been identified in excavated food remains. It is, however, harder to know their relative importance. Neither conventional archaeological techniques nor isotope analysis (for different reasons) permit precise quantification of individual foods, but it is clear from the high ratios of 15N/14N in their bones that people buried at Robberg/ Plettenberg Bay ate unusually large quantities of high trophic level [animals high on the food chain] marine foods, very likely the meat of seals and large predatory fish caught in the deep waters surrounding the Robberg Peninsula. Bone tissue accumulates over many years, so this was a long-term dietary pattern. People buried at Matjes River Rock Shelter, on the other hand, ate much more mixed diets, with more terrestrial food or low trophic level [low on the food chain] marine foods, such as shellfish.

Why do you think their diets were different? Why is this finding important or surprising?
Today, there is a seal colony on the Robberg Peninsula, and it was probably there in the past as well. (This inference is based on the age distribution of seals that ancient people butchered and ate.) Mainland seal colonies are relatively rare (most colonies are on offshore islands, which offer protection from predators), so this would have been a special opportunity for hunter-gatherers--a type of living larder. In addition, the peninsula juts out into deep water, allowing access to fish not usually caught by shore-based anglers. People who lived at Robberg/Plettenberg Bay made the most of their good fortune, while people who lived at Matjes River Rock Shelter didn't have these advantages. What's surprising about it is the degree of specialisation in local resources, from which we can infer that these people were living within relatively small areas, rather than trekking regularly across large areas of landscape. This is unexpected, given the very mobile lifestyle of most recent southern African hunter-gatherers.

How does ethnographic research contribute to the analysis of Stone Age societies in South Africa?
Later Stone Age societies were the ancestors of communities who continued to live a foraging lifestyle, in the Kalahari and elsewhere, into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Studies of Kalahari foragers have been of enormous importance in anthropology in recent decades. In some respects, there are clear similarities between recent and ancient southern African hunter-gatherers, and the ethnographies have provided valuable insights into earlier societies. For example, aspects of belief systems recorded in the Kalahari in the twentieth century are also expressed in rock paintings that may be several thousand years old.

What does the painted seal scapula found in the cave at Knysna tell us about the hunter-gatherer society that created it?
This is a unique artifact--it's the only painted bone we have from South Africa, so interpretation must be cautious. Paintings on the walls of caves and rock shelters, however, expressed aspects of people's belief systems, including ideas about relationships between animals and humans in this world and in the spirit world. The animals depicted are usually larger species charged with symbolic power. The choice of a seal scapula and the images painted on it, of which the left-hand one, at least, looks very seal-like, hints that seals may have been important in a spiritual, as well as an economic sense.

You describe the societies as succumbing to "opportunistic sedentism." What do you mean by this, and why is it significant? How might being sedentary affect other aspects of life?
The idea is that people might initially have practiced a degree of sedentism in areas where there were rich resources, because there was no need to move. Early on, this is likely to have been a flexible pattern. When population densities rose, and there were limited options for moving, settlement patterns became more fixed--increasing our chances of recognizing them in the archaeology. Cross-culturally, more settled lifestyles require people to develop new methods of dealing with conflict, they allow storage of food or other commodities, opening up the possibility of differential access to resources and thus to social inequality. Southern Cape peoples probably didn't go very far down this road, but these are interesting questions.

Owl monkeys, Aotus spp: nocturnal, huge tarsier/lemur-like eyes, thyroid, low metabolism, retro? Have same NeuA5 sialic acid as humans, so susceptible to human type malaria but brains small, and furry, retro? Original morph of NWM/OWM/apes, before malaria?

Java man
Prehistory of leprosy

"How long should a dive last? A simple model of foraging decisions by breath-hold divers in a patchy environment" Authors: Thompson D.; Fedak M.A.
Source: Animal Behaviour, Volume 61, Number 2, February 2001, pp. 287-296(10) Pub: Elsevier

Effects of increased swimming costs on foraging behavior and efficiency of captive Steller sea lions: Evidence for behavioral plasticity in the recovery phase of dives
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Volume 333, Issue 2, 13 June 2006, Pages 306-314 L.A. Cornick, S.D. Inglis, K. Willis, M. Horning

Why do macaroni penguins choose shallow body angles that result in longer descent and ascent durations? Authors: Katsufumi Sato, Jean-Benot Charrassin, Charles-André Bost, Yasuhiko Naito1
Repetitive paired stimulation of nasotrigeminal and peripheral chemoreceptor afferents cause progressive potentiation of the diving bradycardia.
Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2008 Nov 5;
Authors: Rozloznik M, Paton JF, Dutschmann M
The hallmarks of the mammalian diving response are protective apnea and bradycardia. These cardio-respiratory adaptations can be mimicked by stimulation the trigeminal ethmoidal nerve (EN5) and reflect oxygen conserving mechanisms during breath-hold dives. Increasing drive from peripheral chemoreceptors during sustained dives was reported to enhance the diving bradycardia. The underlying neuronal mechanisms, however, are unknown. In the present study, expression and plasticity of EN5-bradycardias after paired stimulation of the EN5 and peripheral chemoreceptors was investigated in the in situ working heart-brainstem preparation. Paired stimulations enhanced significantly the bradycardic responses compared to EN5-evoked bradycardia using sub-maxim…

Bubbles and bubble rings:

Prevalence and severity of external auditory exostoses in breath-hold divers
To explore the prevalence and severity of external auditory exostoses in a population of experienced breath-hold divers, and to compare these to the same parameters within surfing and self-contained underwater breathing apparatus diving populations.

Indirect evidence for arterial chemoreceptor reflex facilitation
by face immersion in man
It is concluded that the intensification is caused by chemoreceptor reflex facilitation, due to stimulation of trigeminal receptors in the face.

The initiation and maintenance of bradycardia in a diving mammal
the muskrat, Ondatra zibethica

Extremes in human breath hold facial immersion bradycardia
Although the average human response to apneic facial immersion in ice water is a reduction in heart rate from 70 to 45 beats/min, a small proportion of healthy subjects develop diving bradycardia to less than 20 beats/min. Twenty-seven healthy subjects performed resting, seated, 30-s mid-inspiratory breath hold, facial immersion in a basin of water. Heart rate dropped more when the water temperature was 1 degree C than at 24 degrees C. Five subjects developed asymptomatic diving bradycardia to less than 15 beats/min. One physically active individual consistently had dive heart rates as low as 5.6 beats/min.

The nose is the source of many powerful reflexes, including the diving response, sneeze and sniff reflexes, and reflexes affecting autonomic nervous function to the cardiovascular system, airways in the lungs, the larynx, and other organs. The physiology of the nose 1986

The water content and glucose concentration in the whole blood of marine mammals were found to be correlated to red blood cell concentration. Because hematocrit (Hct) undergoes significant periodic shifts in these mammals during periods of apnea and/or diving, the measured values of whole blood glucose change due to alterations in Hct, independent of shifts in metabolite regulatory pathways. In contrast to humans, where red blood cell and plasma glucose concentrations are equivalent, in most other mammalian species red blood cell glucose concentration is much lower than that in plasma.
Influence of hematocrit on whole blood glucose levels: new evidence from marine mammals

Passive Flooding Of Paranasal Sinuses
And Middle Ears As A Method Of Equalisation In Extreme Breath-hold Diving
We describe a diver who, by training, is capable of allowing passive flooding of the sinuses and middle ear with (sea) water during descent, by suppressing protective (parasympathetic) reflexes during this process.

Adaptations to deep breath-hold diving: respiratory and circulatory mechanics
Respiration and circulation in diving mammals are characterized by interrelated adaptations of structure, function, and behavior that are incompletely described and understood. This speculative survey touches some of them. a) Arterial blood flow can be controlled by vasoconstriction not only in arterioles but also in large arteries. The latter physiology is not well known. b) Mechanisms that might regulate and limit nitrogen uptake are not clear, although Scholander's suggestion that airspaces become gas-free during deep dives is still accepted. c) Systemic arterial retes may be able to store oxygenated blood in some diving mammals. If so, O2 in the lung might be 'skimmed off' early in a dive, leaving the N2 behind. d) Variable clusters of interdependent adaptations in diving mammals include compliant chest walls that avoid thoracic squeeze; inspiratory breath holds that maintain high lung volumes; large tidal volumes that nearly empty the lung at end-expiration...

Renal response to head-out water immersion in Korean women divers
Head-out water immersion (HOI) induces a profound diuresis and natriuresis, which may endanger the body fluid balance of breath-hold divers during prolonged diving work.

An intact glutamatergic trigeminal pathway is essential for the cardiac response to simulated diving

Autonomic response to auditory stimulation
Autonomic and behavioral response to fear stimulation (sudden noise 80 dB) was studied in 12 sleeping infants at ages 8-50 weeks. The aim of the present study was to identify a possible passive defense response in infants. The response, which is widespread in birds and mammals, is characterized by apnea and bradycardia with circulatory changes as seen during the forced diving response.

Trigeminal mediation of the diving response in the muskrat
These data implicate trigeminal neurons in the medullary dorsal horn as modulators of autonomic activity, especially in the cardiorespiratory adjustments after nasal stimulation.
PMID: 1760738 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
h/t Ivo @

Hello (...) [slightly modified]

Do you have an opinion on these?

Chromosome 2 is unique to humans amongst hominoids, it contains the genes/SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) for:
- Photic sneeze (Dark adaptation, O2/CO2 apnea regulation?)
- Hypothyroidsm (Ecto/endo-thermic adipocity, Iodine regulation?)
- Hemochromatosis (Bone density, Iron regulation?)

I do not view that as mere coincidence.

Regarding baby backfloating in warm sunlit lagoons:
Human babies have full envelope of SC white fat (insulatory) but dorsal brown fat, which provides warmth to the only sun-shaded area that also is exposed to the coolest proximal water, infant humans (and seals) AFAIK don't shiver for warmth (not useful for hydrostatic backfloating in water). Breastfeeding human infants produce/accumulate Hydrogen (nature's most buoyant material) in the gut, and this, combined with (otherwise healthy) infant colic (GI gas entrapment while backfloating and associated crying) and abundant white SC fat, would provide sufficient buoyancy in dense warm calm saltwater to allow parental foraging without hindrance, in part resulting in loss of fur coat.

Regarding human endurance locomotion: At lagoons, dive foraging would be typical, but in between optimal lagoons, shoreline walking/wading/jogging would be typical due to hazards of rough surf, cold water, box jellyfish, sharks/crocs, etc. This would be maintained during inland seasonal migrations where diving was limited.

Regarding islanding: I think that similar to how Gibralter functioned as a gateway for EurAsian macaques into north Africa, I think the Afar-Eritrea-Yemen region functioned as a gateway to and from EurAsia. The 'bridge' linking Yemen is about 100m deep, about the depth of sea level drop at various glacial periods, (disregarding lack of data on local tectonic changes). I do not view the Danakil alps region as "the refuge", but rather as a periodic gateway, similar to Gibralter and Sinai, though it may have been a stopover with a residual population, similar to today's Barbary macaques at Gibralter.

I haven't found any evidence to contradict the dark adaptation-dive / sunlight surface exhale idea (Aquaphotic Respiratory Cycle), except that it is not used today by modern human divers. I consider it plausible that during the MSC human ancestors separated from the other apes due to being trapped in the Medit. basin, where a unique environment produced selection for a unique hominid different from the others. The low UV present, similar to today's Dead Sea, may have selected for light skin tone or less fur, and unusual eyes (exposed white eye sclerae), and plausibly the sun sneeze, and also increased availability of stone, both for tools and climbing. Later filling of the basin would send various human-types in different directions, to adapt to local conditions with different morphotypes, many would go extinct later.


ps. I've stepped away from AAT yahoogroup for a bit, but continue to skim the threads.

MSC refill
5.6 - 5.33ma MSC may have refilled in 2 years, H/P split 5 - 7ma
picture of Medit MSC refill 5.33ma

Monday, November 16, 2009

Human & elephants: big brains, O2, energy

The Brain: relative size, speed & complexity of sensory system (including intra-specific communication): oxygen as catalyst, food as fuel

On elephant and human brains, summarized from Not Exactly Rocket Science

Both humans and elephants show both semi-aquatic and terrestrial foraging traits, throw stones, manipulate branches or sticks, squirt water, live relatively long lives, have strong social behavior, have generally low rates of mutation yet high rate of mutations among specialized amino acids involved in "aerobic energy metabolism (AEM)" genes - which govern how mitochondria metabolise nutrients in food, in the presence of oxygen.

We already knew that the evolution of AEM genes has accelerated greatly since our human ancestors split away from those of other monkeys and apes (highly beneficial to a part-time sessile-benthic submersed forager (human ancestor, elephant ancestor) which needs both apneic and aerobic capability, but not a full-time pelagic dive chaser (dolphin) which needs maximal apneic (anaerobic) capability, nor a part-time wetland floating-food forager (congo swamp gorilla) which keeps its face always above water surface and so lacks apneic capability while not transiting far habitually so no selection for aerobic endurance.

"While other mutations were reshaping our brain and nervous system, these altered AEM genes helped to provide our growing cerebral cortex with much-needed energy.
And sure enough, elephants have more than twice as many genes with high ratios of non-synonymous mutations to synonymous ones than tenrecs do, particularly among the AEM genes used in the mitochondria. In the same way, humans have more of such genes compared to mice (which are as closely related to us, as tenrecs are to elephants). Overall, his conclusion was clear - in the animals with larger brains, a suite of AEM genes had gone through an accelerated burst of evolution compared to our mini-brained cousins. Six of our AEM genes that appear to have been strongly shaped by natural selection even have elephant counterparts that have gone through the same process.

Goodman's next challenge is to see what difference the substituted amino acids would have made to us and elephants and whether they make our brains more efficient at producing aerobic energy. He also wants to better understand the specific genes that have been shaped the convergent evolution of human and elephant brains over the course of evolution."

Both elephants and humans are very water-dependent and not well conserving of metabolic fluids (unlike full-time savanna/marine dwellers), moving from waterhole/lagoon to waterhole/lagoon, foraging opportunistically along the way.
Elephant ancestors were semi-aquatic - Telegraph
semi-aquatic ancestors of elephants
Tiny brains

Tiny brains: "Insects may have tiny brains, but they can perform some seriously impressive feats of mental gymnastics. According to a growing number of studies, some insects can count, categorize objects, even recognize human faces — all with brains the size of pinheads. Despite many attempts to link the volume of an animal's brain with the depth of its intelligence, scientists now propose that it's the complexity of connections between brain cells that matters most...

Whales, with brains that weigh up to 20 pounds and have more than 200 billion neurons, are no smarter than people, with our measly 3-pound brains that have just 85 billion neurons. Instead of contributing intelligence, big brains might just help support bigger bodies, which have larger muscles to coordinate [Larger muscles aren't significant, see large herbivore dinosaurs with tiny brains] and more sensory information coming in.


An islanded goat evolved coldbloodedness and delayed life span and small brain/eyes:

Some animals stranded on resource-poor islands shrink size and develop lethargic metabolism while absorbing sunlight (Galapagos tortoises), others adapt to a shore-based lethargy & active aquatic lifestyle with large brain/eyes (seals, sea lions).


Discussion on baby crying relative to mother tongue:
Sports competition & aggression, instinct vs control
Brain and nerves slideshow at:

Hominid Brain to Body size: Encephalization Quotient, estimated diet

5.8 Homo sapiens - grain-meat-nut-fruit-herb/tuber-seafood-eater, boats, cooking
4.0 Homo erectus (late) - berry/nut-tuber-seafood-meat-eater, simple spears-axes
3.3 Homo erectus (early) - berry/nut/tuber-seafood-eater, sticks-pebbles
3.1 H/A habilis - mixed diet? -nut-fruit-invertebrate eater?
2.9 Australopithecus robustus - tuber-nut-berry-herb eater
2.0 Pan t. (chimpanzee) - fruit-honey-termite-meat-nut eater
1.7 Gorilla g. (gorilla) - herb-fruit-hydrocharis eater

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gibbons, Humans, Great Apes

"Early hominid ancestors may have left the trees to take advantage of ground-level foods, a behavioral shift that could have resulted in two of the major defining characteristics of humans: unique teeth and walking on two legs, a mode of locomotion known as bipedalism that is extremely rare elsewhere in the animal kingdom."

No, they started at wetland/woodland edges, eating water lily/lotus/sedge rhyzomes/umbels and bush berries and low hanging fruits and fallen nuts, then apes moved higher in rainforest canopy while human ancestors moved to more coastal seashore areas.

Note folded flanges of adult male reduce sunlight in eyes, give gorilla appearance; balding scalp. Nonfolded flanges are broadly flat faced, very non-gorilla appearance, note clear beard and non-nasal mustache. Bornean and Sumatran orangs separated 1.6ma
flat flange
Very dark furred orangutan
dark orangutan
Male with flanges, eyes near center of face, long hair like mammoth

Human deep larynx vs ape air sacs: apnea/speech vs flotation (de Boer, Boe, Lieberman...)

Humans & gibbons share these traits (unlike great apes):

1) long achilles tendon
2) proportionately long legs (not neandertals)
3) protruding chin (not neandertals)*
4) upright biped primarily
5) no laryngeal air sac (exclude siamangs)
6) more monogamous pair bonding
7) continuous song rather than discrete hoots
8) low sexual dimorphism (teeth)
9) no woven branch nest (also siamangs)

gibbons and great apes share these traits (unlike humans)

1) fur coat
2) grasping big toe
3) very low carnivory
4) large canines, small molars

Chromosomes: Great apes have conserved primitive 48 chromosomes, humans derived 46, gibbons variable per species.

Gait: Gibbons and humans have conserved bipedal upright locomotion (original float-feeding/standing hominoid posture) while great apes have derived terrarboreal quadrupedalism.

Milk composition in hominoids, human milk is unique to all apes and all mammals

"In comparison, type I oligosaccharides predominate over type II oligosaccharides in human milk, whereas nonprimate milk almost always contains only type II oligosaccharides. The milk or colostrum of the great apes contained oligosaccharides bearing both N-glycolylneuraminic acid and N-acetylneuraminic acid, whereas human milk contains only the latter. Great ape milk, like that of humans, contained fucosylated oligosaccharides whereas siamang milk did not."

Neu5Gc in hominoids, malaria susceptibility in humans and NWM Aotus monkeys

Human malaria resistance recent? "Although sickle cell is best known in Africa, there is also an India-Pakistan variant of it that seems to have evolved separately," Hawks explained. "Both variants have evolved very recently, in the last three or four thousand years, and in that time have risen to as much as 10 to 15 percent of the populations.
Surprisingly, based on skull measurements, the human brain appears to have been shrinking over the last 5,000 or so years.

"When it comes to recent evolutionary changes, brains have shrunk about 150 cubic centimeters, off a mean of about 1,350. That's roughly 10 percent," Hawks said. "As to why is it shrinking, perhaps in big societies, as opposed to hunter-gatherer lifestyles, we can rely on other people for more things, can specialize our behavior to a greater extent, and maybe not need our brains as much," he added.

Human salivary amylase multiple of chimp, especially starch-eaters? Digestion begins as soon as you shovel a forkful of those mashed potatoes into your mouth and masticate (or chew) the food. Your mouth secretes saliva (up to 1.5 quarts a day) that moistens your food and also contains enzymes (special kinds of proteins) that help break down the food before it reaches your stomach.

One of these enzymes, called salivary amylase, breaks down starches, and a new study finds that humans carry extra copies of the gene that encodes the enzyme, which may have helped spur human evolution. The study, published in the Sept. 9 issue of the journal Nature Genetics, found that humans have more copies of the gene than their ape relatives. The humans sampled carried as many as 15 copies each, while chimpanzees had only two.

The study also found a correspondence between the number of copies of the gene and the amount of starch in a population's diet. Members of the Tanzanian Hadza tribe, which ate more tubers and roots, had more copies of the gene than their neighbors (the Datog) who mostly raised livestock. The finding supports theories that some change in the diet of early humans fueled the simultaneous increases in the size of human brains and bodies, as well as the expansion of our ancestors' geographic range.

Trade distinguished Hs from others (neandertal, baboon, bonobo)
group inter-trade

Evolving group gene
dance, trance & chance

Slight chin in early Hs man 110ka in China & S Africa?

Toba supervolcano dried and cooled south Asia 73ka
Toba effects

Face & limb traits identify various congenital disorders:

Herbivorous hadrosaur dinosaur: biped, quadruped, hopper or walker?