“I should think we might fairly gauge the future of biological science, centuries ahead by estimating the time it will take to reach a complete comprehensive understanding of odor. It may not seem a profound enough problem to dominate all the life sciences, but it contains, piece by piece, all the mysteries” (p. 732). — Lewis Thomas (1980)
Excerpt: “Olfaction and odor receptors provide a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans (Keller et al., 2007; Kohl, 2007; Villarreal, 2009; Vosshall, Wong, & Axel, 2000).”
Jon Lieff incorporates what is known about that evolutionary trail in his brief review of how ecological variation is linked to intelligence in the context of ecological adaptations.
“The act of smelling is remarkably like the act of thinking itself” (p. 732). — Lewis Thomas (1980)
Excerpt 1): “Included on the list are bees, which Lieff said use symbolism and abstract concepts to solve problems in their daily lives.”
Excerpt 2): “Octopuses are extremely intelligent, according to Lieff, who explained that they spread cultural information, mimic others and communicate using colors, patterns and flashing.”
Excerpt: “…olfactory organ could exert regulatory action on the OL via epigenetic effects of nutrients and pheromones on gene expression (Kohl, 2013; Elekonich and Robinson, 2000).
Kohl (2013) is: “Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model.”
Elekonich and Robinson (2000) is: “Organizational and activational effects of hormones on insect behavior.”
Excerpt: “The development of species-typical and sex-specific adult behaviors in vertebrate animals is influenced by gonadal steroid hormones, non-gonadal hormones, and non-hormonal factors working on the underlying neural circuitry (reviewed in Diamond et al., 1996; Kawata,1995; Schlinger, 1998).”
Diamond et al. (1996) is: “From Fertilization to Adult Sexual Behavior”
Excerpt: “Small intranuclear proteins also participate in generating alternative splicing techniques of pre-mRNA and, by this mechanism…”
Alternative RNA Splicing in Evolution — Jon Lieff
Excerpt: “Alternative RNA splicing in evolution is one of the critical factors in the development of the complexity of human beings”
Also see other blog posts from Dr. Lieff that link the balance of viral microRNAs and nutrient-dependent microRNAs to cellular intelligence and cell type differentiation via the pheromone-controlled fixation of RNA-mediated amino acid substitutions in insects and mammals.
Across species links from the nutrient-dependent microRNA / viral microRNA balance to RNA-mediated cell type differences in species from microbes to man support the concept of Honey bees as a model for understanding mechanisms of life history transitions and that viruses may be the link from the epigenetic landscape to the physical landscape of DNA in the organized genomes of all genera. See: Force for ancient and recent life: viral and stem-loop RNA consortia promote life
From Kohl (2013) “The honeybee already serves as a model organism for studying human immunity, disease resistance, allergic reaction, circadian rhythms, antibiotic resistance, the development of the brain and behavior, mental health, longevity, diseases of the X chromosome, learning and memory, as well as conditioned responses to sensory stimuli (Kohl, 2012).”
See also: Olfaction, ecology, and intelligence