See for comparison this treatise on climate change packaged as information on the evolution of a flying snake.
Fossil ‘winged serpent’ is a new species of ancient snake
At the time that Zilantophis dwelled there, the site was a sinkhole surrounded by forest, attracting a variety of animals. The local fauna included ancient representatives of familiar North American creatures such as bears, beavers and salamanders. Others were more exotic, including unique species of rhinoceros, alligator and the site’s famous red panda.
“This is a time when the world was moving in the direction of a modern climate and modern fauna,” Jasinski said.
For information on the evolution of the flying snake’s behavior see Robert Sapolsky: The biology of our best and worst selves
How can humans be so compassionate and altruistic — and also so brutal and violent? To understand why we do what we do, neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky looks at extreme context, examining actions on timescales from seconds to millions of years before they occurred. In this fascinating talk, he shares his cutting edge research into the biology that drives our worst and best behaviors.
I did not learn anything about cutting edge research from this TED talk. I learned that Robert Sapolsky believes in the evolution of human behavior. That surprised me because Robert Sapolsky is one of the most famous students of Bruce McEwen, who linked a single amino acid substitution (BDNF Val66Met) from nutrient energy-dependent biophysically constrained biologically-based top-down causation to behavior in the dramatically different pheromone-controlled ecosystems of mice and humans.
See: Stress dynamically regulates behavior and glutamatergic gene expression in hippocampus by opening a window of epigenetic plasticity
in unstressed mice with a BDNF loss-of-function allele (BDNF Val66Met), we show that the epigenetic activator of histone acetylation, P300, plays a pivotal role in the dynamic up- and down-regulation of mGlu2 in hippocampus via histone-3-lysine-27-acetylation (H3K27Ac) when acute stressors are applied. These hippocampal responses reveal a window of epigenetic plasticity that may be useful for treatment of disorders in which glutamatergic transmission is dysregulated.
The authors note that on page 17184, right column, first paragraph, line 4, “effect” should instead appear as “affect.”
Until Robert Sapolsky helps others to make sense of how the energy-dependent pheromone-controlled de novo creation of olfactory receptor genes is linked to differences in epigenetic effects that link sensory stimuli from hormones to the affects of hormones on animal behavior, his lectures will be of little use to those who study the biology of behavior.
In all vertebrates, the study of behavior begins with the epigenetic effects of food odors and pheromones on gene activation that link changes in microRNAs from gonadotropin releasing hormone to the physiology of reproduction. In the early 90’s, Bruce McEwen told me that my model of biologically-based cause and effect could not be validated unless I found experimental evidence that could be linked to gene activation in gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) neurosecretory neurons.
The late Robert L. Moss provided preprints from his group that now link everything known about energy-dependent RNA-mediated cell type differentiation in all vertebrates to the pheromone-controlled physiology of reproduction in mice and in humans via amino acid substitutions.
The early gene expression of cFos has since linked the Fos protein to proof of the concept that links food odors and pheromones to all receptor-mediated behavior in all living genera via what is known about vertebrate GnRH.
See: Induction of FOS immunoreactivity in central accessory olfactory structures of the female rat following exposure to conspecific males
See: A hypothalamic circuit that controls body temperature
…we used cFos staining to identify neurons that are activated by a thermal challenge and found induced expression in subsets of neurons…
The research group used optogenetics, a technique that turns genetically tagged cells on and off with light.
See also: Hypothalamic microRNAs flip the switch for fertility
See also our section on molecular epigenetics in: From Fertilization to Adult Sexual Behavior
More than 60,000 published works on microRNAs link cutting edge research to energy-dependent healthy longevity or from virus-driven energy theft and the degradation of messenger RNA to all pathology. Who is discussing that fact?
See for comparison: Behave: Why do we do the things we do?
Over a decade in the making, this game-changing book is Robert Sapolsky’s genre-shattering attempt to answer that question as fully as perhaps only he could, looking at it from every angle. Sapolsky’s storytelling concept is delightful but it also has a powerful intrinsic logic: he starts by looking at the factors that bear on a person’s reaction in the precise moment a behavior occurs, and then hops back in time from there, in stages, ultimately ending up at the deep history of our species and its genetic inheritance.
And so the first category of explanation is the neurobiological one. What goes on in a person’s brain a second before the behavior happens? Then he pulls out to a slightly larger field of vision, a little earlier in time: What sight, sound, or smell triggers the nervous system to produce that behavior? And then, what hormones act hours to days earlier to change how responsive that individual is to the stimuli which trigger the nervous system? By now, he has increased our field of vision so that we are thinking about neurobiology and the sensory world of our environment and endocrinology in trying to explain what happened.
Sapolsky keeps going–next to what features of the environment affected that person’s brain, and then back to the childhood of the individual, and then to their genetic makeup. Finally, he expands the view to encompass factors larger than that one individual. How culture has shaped that individual’s group, what ecological factors helped shape that culture, and on and on, back to evolutionary factors thousands and even millions of years old.
The result is one of the most dazzling tours de horizon of the science of human behavior ever attempted, a majestic synthesis that harvests cutting-edge research across a range of disciplines to provide a subtle and nuanced perspective on why we ultimately do the things we do…for good and for ill. Sapolsky builds on this understanding to wrestle with some of our deepest and thorniest questions relating to tribalism and xenophobia, hierarchy and competition, morality and free will, and war and peace. Wise, humane, often very funny, Behave is a towering achievement, powerfully humanizing, and downright heroic in its own right.
Researchers paired proteins with a process that amplifies RNA which could be used to detect cancer cells
One of the most fascinating things that I have repeatedly encountered is the failure to link CRISPR from the nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled physiology of reproduction to the biophysically constrained viral latency that links ecological variation to ecological adaptation via natural selection for energy-dependent codon optimality in all living genera.
It’s as if the gene-editing technology could not be understood in the context of femtosecond blasts of virucidal UV light and RNA-mediated DNA repair, which has been linked to the prevention of all pathology until stress overwhelms the immune system.