Cerebral Asymmetry / Asperger Brain Differences

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society / Biological sciences

The evolution and genetics of cerebral asymmetry

http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/364/1519/867/

Michael C Corballis

The Lunch Theory of Human Social Cognition

You are a “student” of human evolutionary development; you are curious about how “humans” came to be Who we are today – Masters of the Universe. You come to this quest with certain assumptions in mind, which you probably are not “consciously” using, but which form a “filter system” that will not only prejudice the “evidence” you “discover” but which pre-classifies what “evidence” is. This is the way it is, for Homo sapiens.

It is obvious to you that “you” (your thoughts, habit, lifestyle, beliefs) are the culmination of “human” excellence; “you” are where evolution was headed all along. “You” includes all the wonders of Western Civilization, which “you” take to be evidence of “your” intelligence, inventiveness, superior intellect, diligence, eagle-eyed observation and analysis, literacy, artist accomplishment, etc. because “you” studied these things in school and look a lot like all the “big-brained males” (this includes female students today) who have “built” Western Civilization (U.S. version) and proven that, well frankly, It’s the best damn civilization EVER!

1. Homo sapiens (males) have big-brains; size is everything. Therefore, any and all evidence” for “evolutionary progress” depends on signs and omens of “cognitive abilities” in those “fossil species” that LED to US. “Dumb” species, de facto, cannot be our ancestors.

fig. 1 The Supreme Species. If wealthy, individuals from subspecies of various skin color may be included.

Fig. 1 The “supreme” species and attendant females and offspring. The prime evolutionary question is, “How did this glorious species come to be?” It used to be simple enough: A Supreme Male created everything in the universe, including Man, to whom he handed over all of Creation, with “Man” as the master of all Nature. But the invention of Science threw a monkey-wrench into the plot: it seems “man” was not really the center of the Universe, after all… unless… of course, all 3.5 billion years of life on earth could be directed into producing “The Last Ape Standing” What a coup – even better than “special creation” by a supreme male God! We’ll prove that all the forces and processes at work in the universe were necessary to produce “US”.

2. Let’s get to work establishing our superiority to all other species. We can automatically dismiss any life form previous to “humanoids” as unimportant, and fossil humanoids “that count” as ancestors can be identified by “signs”  which point in our direction. We can easily define “humanoid” by the categorizing “things we eat”. (Cannibalism is a no-no. You can’t eat the Supreme Species, like it was just another food source)

Fig 2. Lunch. This organized, processed and prepared “nutrition” demonstrates “cognitive abilities” found in no other life form. The sheer amount of brain-power needed to exploit natural resources (fossil fuels) to design, manufacture and transport “plastic” containers, with uniform subdivisions, that create the illusion that $1.50 worth of “food items” is worth $39.95″ is genius! And what about decorating two sacrificial crab claws elevated on a slice of bread with wildflowers sourced from a meadow in Mongolia? Just $49.95. Brilliant.

Let’s see what “the rest of” American humanoids are having for lunch.

Another sign of superior intelligence: The American food industry is paid billions $$ to transform “surplus storage” food into meals for children; and it’s free. How much more compassionate can a supreme species become? Why waste “good brain food” (and good education) on “lesser beings” who will never be intelligent anyway? In fact, we can guarantee impaired cognitive function and stunted development using this brilliant strategy. Note the wonderful array of fossil fuel containers provided, which can be used once and disposed of immediately into landfills. More profit! More socially savvy behavior that creates environmental destruction and millions of defective, low status humanoids. No Neanderthal could accomplish that. Thank God and evolution that we exterminated them just in time!

3. Evidence that Neanderthal didn’t stand a chance of being intelligent enough to compete with us. When the supreme species “goes wild” they do it with superior social cognition. Who needs survival skills when amazing fossil fuel-based non-recyclable immortal plastic products can be purchased at a “wilderness” adventure store? Stupid Neanderthals!

fig. 3a AMH “outsmarting” Neanderthals using superior social skills: “You bring the hot dogs and Gatorade, we’ll bring the tent” social strategy.

Fig. 3a, 3b Lunch ca. 40,000 y.a. Anatomically Modern Humans (just like Modern Social Humans in every way) take over Eurasia from the Neanderthals with superior social networking.

fig 4b No evidence has been found for AMH having developed smart phones, but the “conceptual” ability to communicate effectively was just like that of modern humans.

Neanderthals: too dumb to make Margaritas for brunch guests. Lack of social cognition led to extinction. (BTW – Thanks for the casual sex!)

4. Social behavior explains why AMC became Masters of the Universe: Neanderthals had open “caves” while highly social AMH had open “concept” floor plans with kitchen islands and granite counter tops that facilitated the acquisition of social status. How could Neanderthals have competed with such advanced innovation, which clearly depends on social networking, direct eye contact, empathy, “mind-reading” and high-end finishes?

fig. 4a Neanderthal “open” cave. Primitive housing = primitive brain.

fig. 4b “Primitive” Neanderthal cave under renovation with advanced AMH upgrades: Open concept floor plain for “flow” when entertaining, and high-end finishes; granite countertops and slate flooring.

WOW! “Scientific” proof that not even GOD could create a species that’s as intelligent as modern social humans.

File this video under, “What Asperger’s mean when we say that neurotypicals are stooopid.”

 

Brow Ridge unrelated to cognitive development

Comparing Frontal Cranial Profiles in Archaic and Modern Homo by Morphometric Analysis

FRED BOOKSTEIN et al

There is an 8-page pdf for this paper, but once again I can’t get the URL to connect.

Brain_directions__planes_-_smallINTRO: Archaic and modern human frontal bones are known to be quite distinct externally, by both conventional visual and metric evaluation. Internally this area of the skull has been considerably less well-studied. Here we present results from a comparison of interior, as well as exterior, frontal bone profiles from CT scans of five mid-Pleistocene and Neanderthal crania and 16 modern humans. Analysis was by a new morphometric method, Procrustes analysis of semi-landmarks, that permits the statistical comparison of curves between landmarks. As expected, we found substantial external differences between archaic and modern samples, differences that are mainly confined to the region around the brow ridge. However, in the inner median-sagittal profile, the shape remained remarkably stable over all 21 specimens. This implies that no significant alteration in this region has taken place over a period of a half-million years or more of evolution, even as considerable external change occurred within the hominid clade spanning several species. This confirms that the forms of the inner and outer aspects of the human frontal bone are determined by entirely independent factors, and further indicates unexpected stability in anterior brain morphology over the period during which modern human cognitive capacities emerged.

(New Anat): 257:217–224, 1999. 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

External changes (such as the brow ridge) ARE NOT LINKED morphologically to the frontal brain, which has been stable for 500,000 years of  cognitive development.

Basic CMYK

 

Neurotypical Perception Defects / Inferred Images, Social Filters

Humans rely more on ‘inferred’ visual objects than ‘real’ ones

May 16, 2017
Summary:
Humans treat ‘inferred’ visual objects generated by the brain as more reliable than external images from the real world, according to new research.
“In such situations with the blind spot, the brain ‘fills in’ the missing information from its surroundings, resulting in no apparent difference in what we see,” says senior author Professor Peter König, from the University of Osnabrück’s Institute of Cognitive Science. “While this fill-in is normally accurate enough, it is mostly unreliable because no actual information from the real world ever reaches the brain. We wanted to find out if we typically handle this filled-in information differently to real, direct sensory information, or whether we treat it as equal.”

Visual thinkers are all too aware of this reality deficit in the “typical” perception of reality; I can’t say that the mechanism described here is the “cause” of discrepancies between “typical” perception and the greatly enhanced perception of visually-oriented brains, but it does point out that the typical human brain has evolved “short cuts” that result in varying accuracy in the  perception of the environment. This deficit, combined with de facto “magical-social” thinking has dire consequences for survival.

Links:

Article in Science Daily: https://sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170516080752.htm

Original Paper with figures, charts: 10.7554/eLife.21761

Posts on inattentional blindness: https://aspergerhuman.wordpress.com/2015/12/04/visual-thinking-inattentional-blindness/

https://aspergerhuman.wordpress.com/2015/12/04/inattentional-blindness-why-the-u-s-gets-sucker-punched-by-terrorists/

Immune System Introgressions / Neandertal, Denisovan HLA alleles


Neanderthal, State Museum, Halle, Germany

Denisovan admix today: Low – Black / High – Red

 

The Shaping of Modern Human Immune Systems by Multiregional Admixture with Archaic Humans

Laurent Abi-Rached,1 (see original paper for list of authors)

Abstract

Whole genome comparisons identified introgression from archaic to modern humans. Our analysis of highly polymorphic HLA class I, vital immune system components subject to strong balancing selection, shows how modern humans acquired the HLA-B*73 allele in west Asia through admixture with archaic humans called Denisovans, a likely sister group to the Neandertals. Virtual genotyping of Denisovan and Neandertal genomes identified archaic HLA haplotypes carrying functionally distinctive alleles that have introgressed into modern Eurasian and Oceanian populations. These alleles, of which several encode unique or strong ligands for natural killer cell receptors, now represent more than half the HLA alleles of modern Eurasians and also appear to have been later introduced into Africans. Thus, adaptive introgression of archaic alleles has significantly shaped modern human immune systems.

Example: Includes similar graphics for Neanderthal and Denisovan HLA alleles

Fig. 3 Effect of adaptive introgression of Neandertal HLA class I alleles on modern human populations. (A) All six Neandertal HLA-A, -B and -C alleles are identical to modern HLA class I alleles…

 

Inflammatory Diseases, Deadly Modern Environments / ASD, Depression

quick summation from Torrey Institute for Molecular Studies: 

Inflammatory Disorders (click here for website)

Inflammation is the body’s protective response to injury and infection; it is a complex process involving many cell types, as well as different components of blood.

The inflammatory process works quickly to destroy and eliminate foreign and damaged cells, and to isolate the infected or injured tissues from the rest of the body. Inflammatory disorders arise when inflammation becomes uncontrolled, and causes destruction of healthy tissue. There are dozens of inflammatory disorders. Many occur when the immune system mistakenly triggers inflammation in the absence of infection, such as inflammation of the joints in rheumatoid arthritis. Others result from a response to tissue injury or trauma but affect the entire body.

There are many ways by which normal cells and tissues can be damaged during inflammation. One important mechanism is by assembly of a complex of proteins that forms holes on the surface of a cell, where it causes damage and can potentially kill the cell. This complex is called a Membrane Attack Complex or MAC. Torrey Pines Institute researchers are working to understand how MAC contributes to a number of inflammation-associated disorders, including the complications of diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Understanding how MAC assembles will provide insights into the design of drugs to prevent inflammatory damage to cells.

Inflammation is also an important secondary component of many diseases. An example of this is atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, where inflammation can cause more damage to arteries in a failed attempt to heal the artery wall. There is also an important link between obesity and inflammation, because substances that promote inflammation are released from fat cells, as well as from other cells embedded in fat tissue. The Institute’s scientists are leading the way in understanding these new and exciting areas of inflammation research.

The first article below presents the hypothesis that psychological stress and depression may be associated with “inflammatory” diseases.

The second presents the evolutionary “Inflammatory Bias” that has lead to rampant inflammatory disease in modern humans.

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Article 1: Brain Behav Immun. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2014 Jul 1.

 Published in final edited form as: Brain Behav Immun. 2013 Jul; 31: 1–8. Published online 2013 Apr 30. doi:  10.1016/j.bbi.2013.04.009

Malaise, Melancholia and Madness: The Evolutionary Legacy of an Inflammatory Bias

Technical paper, so I’m looking for a credible translation into common language!

Excerpt that may possibly be significant to ASD, Asperger’s and other “social” disorders.  

 5a. Immune Pathways and the Inflammasome

In a paper in this issue, Iwata et al. propose the provocative hypothesis that the recently characterized inflammasome may serve as a critical link between psychological stress and depression, as well as other illnesses related to inflammation (Iwata et al. 2012).

The inflammasome is a protein complex that can detect diverse danger signals including not only pathogen-associated molecules but also molecules associated with cellular damage such as adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Upon activation, the inflammasome can generate an inflammatory response notably through the production of IL-1-beta by activation of a caspase that cleaves the precursor peptide pro-IL-1-beta. Given the capacity of the inflammasome to react to danger signals generated by stimuli other than pathogens, the authors suggest that the inflammasome may be uniquely poised to serve as the molecular mechanism that transduces psychological responses to stress into an inflammatory response in the absence of pathogen challenge.

Thus, the inflammasome may represent an evolutionary adaptation that extends the immune and behavioral response to pathogens and the microbial world to include challenges emanating from predators, people and the social world. Although of significant value in detecting and responding to tissue damage and destruction, by virtue of the inflammasome,

the inflammatory bias may have been given an entrée into the modern world where people, not pathogens or predators represent the primary challenges.

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Article 2:

The role of inflammation in depression: from evolutionary imperative to modern treatment target

Andrew G. Miller and Charles L. Raison

Nature Reviews Immunology Volume:16,Pages:22–34Year published:(2016)DOI:doi:10.1038/nri.2015.5 (click to access article)

Fig. 1 Evolutionary legacy of an inflammatory bias. Early evolutionary pressures derived from human interactions with pathogens, predators and human conspecifics (such as rivals) resulted in an inflammatory bias that included an integrated suite of immunological and behavioural responses that conserved energy for fighting infection and healing wounds, while maintaining vigilance against attack.This inflammatory bias is believed to have been held in check during much of human evolution by exposure to minimally pathogenic, tolerogenic organisms in traditional (that is, rural) environments that engendered immunological responses characterized by the induction of regulatory T (TReg) cells, regulatory B (BReg) cells and immunoregulatory M2 macrophages as well as the production of the anti-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-10 (IL-10) and transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ). In modern times, sanitized urban environments of more developed societies are rife with psychological challenges but generally lacking in the types of infectious challenges that were primary sources of morbidity and mortality across most of human evolution. In the absence of traditional immunological checks and balances, the psychological challenges of the modern world instigate ancestral immunological and behavioural repertoires that represent a decided liability, such as high rates of various inflammation-related disorders including depression.

In proper perspective, modern social environments ARE DEADLY to life; not only to ASD Asperger people, but to ALL HUMANS and to every species that we are driving to extinction – Mass extinction is the likely outcome.

 

Neanderthal- H. Sapiens Ancestral Gene EXCHANGE

Neanderthal inheritance helped humans adapt to life outside of Africa

Phys.org / November 10, 2016

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2016-11-neanderthal-inheritance-humans-life-africa.html#jCp

Excerpt: All told, the new study identifies 126 different places in the genome where genes inherited from those archaic humans remain at unusually high frequency in the genomes of modern humans around the world. We owe our long-lost hominid relatives for various traits, and especially those related to our immune systems and skin, the evidence shows.

“Our work shows that hybridization was not just some curious side note to human history, but had important consequences and contributed to our ancestors’ ability to adapt to different environments as they dispersed throughout the world,” says Joshua Akey of University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.

While the vast majority of surviving Neanderthal and Denisovan sequences are found at relatively low frequencies (typically less than 5%), the new analyses turned up 126 places in our genomes where these archaic sequences exist at much higher frequencies, reaching up to about 65%. Seven of those regions were found in parts of the genome known to play a role in characteristics of our skin. Another 31 are involved in immunity.

“The ability to increase to such high population frequencies was most likely facilitated because these sequences were advantageous,” Akey explains. “In addition, many of the high-frequency sequences span genes involved in the immune system, which is a frequent target of adaptive evolution.”

Generally speaking, the genes humans got from Neanderthals or Denisovans are important for our interactions with the environment. The evidence suggests that hybridization with archaic humans as our ancient ancestors made their way out of Africa “was an efficient way for modern humans to quickly adapt to the new environments they were encountering.”

Reconstruction by Fabrio Fogliazza /

Neanderthals mated with modern humans much earlier than previously thought

February 17, 2016 https://phys.org/news/2016-02-neanderthals-modern-humans-earlier-previously.html#jCp

Wolf vs. Dog / Wild vs. Domestic Intelligence

Wolf uses “digging” instinct to “dig” – (displace) water. What’s notable is it’s persistence – dogs “give up” and manipulate a human to do things for them. (As do human children LOL) Which animal is more intelligent? The important observation is that each uses its intelligence in accord with “what works” in its particular environment. This applies also to humans.

Wolves are the wolf’s environment; humans are the domestic dog’s environment.

Fixation and persistence in the wild animal; fascinating contrast with domesticated (tame) behavior in dogs and humans. In humans, there is a range of behavior from wild predator to tame prey, also due to degree of domestication.

Neandertal Stone Circles – Bruniquel Cave / John Hawks Weblog

Full post discusses the treatment of Neandertal culture in archaeology: http://johnhawks.net/weblog/reviews/neandertals/culture/jaubert-bruniquel-stone-circles-2016.html

 

Across the entire timespan of existence of Neandertals and the branch that gave rise to them, probably fewer than 50,000 of them existed at any time. I would not be much surprised if the true number was much smaller. If the average lifespan of a Neandertal was 20 years, maintaining a population of 50,000 individuals would require around 7 births per day. For the more than half million years this population and its ancestors existed, back past Sima de los Huesos to their common ancestors with Denisovans and African peoples, we can say there were as many as 1.3 billion Neandertals.

Weigh that against how little we know of them, how few pieces of their cultures they left for us. We do not know what the cultural production of an average Neandertal could have been, this is why the denominator is unknown. But it is evident that the fraction represented by the archaeological record is tiny.

The accompanying opinion essay by Marie Soressi is well worth reading, in it she reminds archaeologists of the limits of preservation:

These structures are among the best-preserved constructions known for the whole of the Pleistocene epoch, probably because they were sealed by calcite very soon after they were erected. When the best evidence is found in the best-preserved context, it serves as a reminder for archaeologists of how much we depend on preservation. The fact that some of the art of the period is also often found deep inside caves has been alternatively interpreted as a testimony of the preservation provided by the cave environment3 or as a result of spiritual preoccupations — the underground being a special place4. Perhaps we need to further consider the idea that the fuzziness of the Neanderthal record is due to a lack of preservation.

One might argue that the fact that we only find a tiny number of uniquely informative Neandertal-associated artifact is itself information. Surely, if the Neandertals had been more culturally productive, more modern, they would have left more of a record? Soressi’s essay addresses that argument to some extent, but I want to examine a slightly different point of view. The fact is, it’s hardly just Neandertals. We know very little about the ancient cultures of modern humans.

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Which doesn’t prevent archaeologists from indulging in rampant “novel-writing” activities, based on zero evidence!