Q & A: Evolution Makes Do By Chris Palmer Evolutionary biologist Andreas Wagner argues that many evolutionary innovations may have non-adaptive origins. Excerpt: “If exaptations are pervasive, then natural selection—which few doubt is critical for the preservation and spreading of traits—may not be that important for the origin of innovations in life’s history.” See also: Rapid detection of positive selection in genes and genomes through variation clusters Excerpt: “They occur in well-defined domains of a protein’s tertiary structure and show…
control of homeostasis by the epigenetic effects of proper nutrition and social stress inhibition might prevent our diet-driven and social stress-driven extinction.
What I don’t see is anyone who is integrating the ecological, social, and neurogenic niches and considering the epigenetic effects of nutrient chemicals and pheromones in the context of endocrine disruption and transgenerational epigenetic inheritance.
I may be confused about proximate and ultimate cause, especially if the role of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance is not central to the extended evolutionary synthesis. Isn’t transgenerational epigenetic inheritance the problem that led Dickins and Rahman to suggest a thought experiment; one where epigenetic mechanisms introduce shifts in learning bias for certain associations as would endocrine functioning? If so, my model (Kohl, 2012), which combines the epigenetic effects of nutrient chemicals and pheromones with biased endocrine functioning and adaptive evolution,…
This fact can be explained to a general audience by saying that food odors cause us to eat what causes us to produce pheromones that cause us to associate, or not associate, with other people. In this context, pheromones are social odors.
Pheromones are like food odors. Not every food is equally appealing. But we can enhance individual appeal with pheromones just like we can spice up the appeal of food.
This effect helps to explain why the odor preferences of mammals, including humans, appear to develop before birth, but it probably has nothing to do with visual input except via its association with olfactory/pheromonal input, neurogenesis, learning and memory.