Cannibalism and cooperation are not mutation-driven (videos)

By: James V. Kohl | Published on: February 23, 2014

Exchanges at the Frontier with Iain Couzin

Excerpt: Iain Couzin specialises in collective animal behaviour, a phenomenon that encompasses flocking birds, shoaling fish and swarming locusts.

My comment: This series of videos is an excellent representation of biologically based cause and effect. See, for example, the second short video representation by Iain Couzin on cannibalism and cooperation in locusts.

Cannibalism, not cooperation is the basis of nutrient-dependent behavior of locusts before swarming occurs. Apparently, there is a transition to cooperative swarming behavior when nutrient-dependent reproduction and development of morphological and behavioral phenotypes leads to pheromone-controlled insect behavior in locusts with wings. The developmental transition can be compared to developmental transitions in eusocial behavior in honeybees via conserved molecular mechanisms. These conserved molecular mechanisms are exemplified in species from microbes to man and microbes are discussed in the series of videos by Bonnie Bassler.

Exchanges at the Frontier with Bonnie Bassler

“Bonnie Bassler is a molecular biologist who has made a stunning discovery: bacteria ‘talk’ to each other using chemical signals that enable them to act as a unit, mount attacks and coordinate defence.”

If you watch these two short videos and still think that mutation-driven evolution is responsible for nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological adaptations in species from microbes to man, please tell your friends. Ask them if they consider themselves to be more like cannibalistic locusts, or more like bacteria and honeybees. The biological basis of these behaviors is the same, but your beliefs and the beliefs of your friends will probably determine whether or not you eat each other if you become extremely hungry. Any friend who you think might eat you is probably a co-worker or a manager — not a friend.
See also: Nutrient-dependent cooperation vs cannibalism (video)

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