Archive for the ‘evolution’ category: Page 11

Jan 10, 2021

Vocal convergence in a multi-level primate society: insights into the evolution of vocal learning

Posted by in categories: evolution, genetics, neuroscience

The extent to which nonhuman primate vocalizations are amenable to modification through experience is relevant for understanding the substrate from which human speech evolved. We examined the vocal behaviour of Guinea baboons, Papio papio, ranging in the Niokolo Koba National Park in Senegal. Guinea baboons live in a multi-level society, with units nested within parties nested within gangs. We investigated whether the acoustic structure of grunts of 27 male baboons of two gangs varied with party/gang membership and genetic relatedness. Males in this species are philopatric, resulting in increased male relatedness within gangs and parties. Grunts of males that were members of the same social levels were more similar than those of males in different social levels (N = 351 dyads for comparison within and between gangs, and N = 169 dyads within and between parties), but the effect sizes were small. Yet, acoustic similarity did not correlate with genetic relatedness, suggesting that higher amounts of social interactions rather than genetic relatedness promote the observed vocal convergence. We consider this convergence a result of sensory–motor integration and suggest this to be an implicit form of vocal learning shared with humans, in contrast to the goal-directed and intentional explicit form of vocal learning unique to human speech acquisition.

One of the key preconditions for the development of speech is the ability to adjust vocal output in response to auditory input. Humans are exceptionally proficient at vocal learning. Although effortless speech learning is confined to the early years [1], humans still possess the ability to imitate sounds voluntarily and acquire further languages throughout their lives. Numerous comparative studies have aimed at elucidating the evolutionary origins of vocal learning within the primate lineage, to uncover the extent to which nonhuman primates reveal evidence for vocal plasticity, and whether such plasticity may be conceived as a pre-adaptation for the evolution of speech [2, 3].

Despite considerable research effort, it appears that the ability to learn sounds from auditory experience in most nonhuman primate species is limited. Unlike humans or some songbird species, nonhuman primates are not obligatory vocal learners that require species-specific auditory input to develop their normal vocal repertoires [4, 5]. Early attempts to train a young chimpanzee to produce speech sounds yielded disappointing results and prompted most of the ‘ape language’ projects to turn to another modality, using either symbol systems or sign languages [6]. Studies of the neural basis of vocal production in different monkey species found that the animals lack the neural connections necessary for the volitional control over the fine structure of vocalizations, although they exert greater control over the usage of calls (reviewed in [2]).

Jan 8, 2021

Scientists Have Created Synthetic DNA with 4 Extra Letters

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution

Circa 2019 o.o

Will scientists ever be able to create ‘better’ DNA in the lab than evolution did in nature?

Jan 7, 2021

When Galaxies Collide: Hubble Showcases 6 Magnificent Galaxy Mergers

Posted by in categories: evolution, space

To celebrate a new year, the NASA /ESA Hubble Space Telescope has published a montage of six beautiful galaxy mergers. Each of these merging systems was studied as part of the recent HiPEEC survey to investigate the rate of new star formation within such systems. These interactions are a key aspect of galaxy evolution and are among the most spectacular events in the lifetime of a galaxy.

It is during rare merging events that galaxies undergo dramatic changes in their appearance and in their stellar content. These systems are excellent laboratories to trace the formation of star clusters under extreme physical conditions.

The Milky Way typically forms star clusters with masses that are 10 thousand times the mass of our Sun. This doesn’t compare to the masses of the star clusters forming in colliding galaxies, which can reach millions of times the mass of our Sun.

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Jan 5, 2021

NASA’s first mission to the Trojan asteroids integrates its second scientific instrument

Posted by in categories: evolution, space

NASA’s Lucy mission is one step closer to launch as L’TES, the Lucy Thermal Emission Spectrometer, has been successfully integrated on to the spacecraft.

“Having two of the three instruments integrated onto the is an exciting milestone,” said Donya Douglas-Bradshaw, Lucy project manager from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The L’TES team is to be commended for their true dedication and determination.”

Lucy will be the first space mission to study the Trojan asteroids, leftover building blocks of the Solar System’s outer planets orbiting the Sun at the distance of Jupiter. The mission takes its name from the fossilized human ancestor (called “Lucy” by her discoverers) whose skeleton provided unique insight into humanity’s evolution. Likewise, the Lucy mission will revolutionize our knowledge of planetary origins and the birth of our solar system more than 4 billion years ago.

Jan 2, 2021

Sleep Deprivation Worse Than Being Drunk

Posted by in category: evolution

Here it is, part one of my new trilogy…Sleep Deprivation…it’s a killer. Personally, I used to miss whole nights clubbing and gigging, and even after that, I used to cut back the hours of sleep thinking I was getting the most from my life and being really clever. Then I heard of Matthew Walker, and read his book. I changed immediately and wow, I have never felt such a difference, it is like light and day. Every aspect of my life improved, from mental health, to physical wellbeing, to immune function (I never seem to be ill any more and never get cold sores!!! anecdotal but the truth). The most telling fact. If I tried to drive more than a couple of hours down the motorway I would be fighting to keep my eyes open by the end…now, that is never a problem (although I still want a Tesla). Sleep is now what I consider a non-negotiable. It comes first. It is the foundation on which everything else stands.

I will just break down exactly why depriving yourself of sleep is a fools errand. You may gain a hour or two here and there, but it does not compare to the years it wipes off your lifespan, and even worse the decrepit, run down years of pain and inactivity that blight the end decades.

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Dec 30, 2020

Octopus And Squid Evolution Is Officially Stranger Than We Could Have Ever Imagined

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, genetics

I have to admit, they really sound “alien-like” if you ask me. 😃

Just when we thought octopuses couldn’t be any weirder, it turns out that they and their cephalopod brethren evolve differently from nearly every other organism on the planet.

In a surprising twist, in April 2017 scientists discovered that octopuses, along with some squid and cuttlefish species, routinely edit their RNA (ribonucleic acid) sequences to adapt to their environment.

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Dec 29, 2020

Dr. Vera Gorbunova — Working At The Intersection Of Aging, DNA Repair, And Cancer

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, life extension

University of rochester — working at the intersection of aging, DNA repair, and cancer.

Dr. Vera Gorbunova is the Doris Johns Cherry Professor, in the Department of Biology, and Co-director, Rochester Aging Research Center, at University of Rochester.

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Dec 28, 2020

Evolution Hasn’t Stopped: This is what the Human Face Could Look Like in the Future

Posted by in categories: evolution, futurism

Is it just me or do the future humans look somewhat like anime? 😃


Dec 24, 2020

The Case for Teleological Evolution

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution, mathematics, neuroscience, quantum physics, singularity

The Big Bang might never have existed as many cosmologists start to question the origin of the Universe. The Big Bang is a point in time defined by a mathematical extrapolation. The Big Bang theory tells us that something has to have changed around 13.7 billion years ago. So, there is no “point” where the Big Bang was, it was always an extended volume of space, according to the Eternal Inflation model. In light of Digital Physics, as an alternative view, it must have been the Digital Big Bang with the lowest possible entropy in the Universe — 1 bit of information — a coordinate in the vast information matrix. If you were to ask what happened before the first observer and the first moments after the Big Bang, the answer might surprise you with its straightforwardness: We extrapolate backwards in time and that virtual model becomes “real” in our minds as if we were witnessing the birth of the Universe.

In his theoretical work, Andrew Strominger of Harvard University speculates that the Alpha Point (the Big Bang) and the Omega Point form the so-called ‘Causal Diamond’ of the conscious observer where the Alpha Point has only 1 bit of entropy as opposed to the maximal entropy of some incredibly gigantic amount of bits at the Omega Point. While suggesting that we are part of the conscious Universe and time is holographic in nature, Strominger places the origin of the Universe in the infinite ultra-intelligent future, the Omega Singularity, rather than the Big Bang.

The Universe is not what textbook physics tells us except that we perceive it in this way — our instruments and measurement devices are simply extensions of our senses, after all. Reality is not what it seems. Deep down it’s pure information — waves of potentiality — and consciousness orchestrating it all. The Big Bang theory, drawing a lot of criticism as of late, uses a starting assumption of the “Universe from nothing,” (a proverbial miracle, a ‘quantum fluctuation’ christened by scientists), or the initial Cosmological Singularity. But aside from this highly improbable happenstance, we can just as well operate from a different set of assumptions and place the initial Cosmological Singularity at the Omega Point — the transcendental attractor, the Source, or the omniversal holographic projector of all possible timelines.

Dec 20, 2020

C-sections could be altering human evolution, according to a recent study

Posted by in category: evolution

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