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Developmental ethology

Thomas Wynn, Frederick L Coolidge
How did the human mind evolve? How and when did we come to think in the ways we do? The last thirty years have seen an explosion in research related to the brain and cognition. This research has encompassed a range of biological and social sciences, from epigenetics and cognitive neuroscience to social and developmental psychology. Following naturally on this efflorescence has been a heightened interest in the evolution of the brain and cognition. Evolutionary scholars, including paleoanthropologists, have deployed the standard array of evolutionary methods...
July 2016: Evolutionary Anthropology
E Zaccarella, A D Friederici
The review focuses on the neurobiological literature concerning the specific human ability to process linguistic hierarchies. First, we will discuss current ethological studies dedicated to the comparison between human and non-human animals for the processing of different grammar types. We will inspect the functional neuroanatomical structures of human and non-human primates more closely, including human developmental data, thereby suggesting interesting phylogenetic and ontogenetic differences. We then examine the neural reality of the Merge computation, being the most fundamental mechanism regulating natural language syntax, and offer new evidence for a possible localization of Merge in the most ventral anterior portion of BA 44...
July 29, 2016: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Sébastien Derégnaucourt, Dalila Bovet
The perception of self is an important topic in several disciplines such as ethology, behavioral ecology, psychology, developmental and cognitive neuroscience. Self-perception is investigated by experimentally exposing different species of animals to self-stimuli such as their own image, smell or vocalizations. Here we review more than one hundred studies using these methods in birds, a taxonomic group that exhibits a rich diversity regarding ecology and behavior. Exposure to self-image is the main method for studying self-recognition, while exposing birds to their own smell is generally used for the investigation of homing or odor-based kin discrimination...
October 2016: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Ch Supriya, B Akhila, K Pratap Reddy, B P Girish, P Sreenivasula Reddy
A suboptimal in utero environment can have detrimental effects on the pregnancy and long-term adverse "programing" effects on the offspring. Aflatoxin B1 is one of the potent reproductive toxicants and currently detected in both milk and tissues. This article focuses on the effects of prenatal exposure to graded doses of aflatoxin B1 on the pregnancy outcomes of dams and postnatal developments of the female offspring, since these issues have ethological relevance in both animals and humans. Pregnant Wistar rats were injected intramuscularly with vehicle or aflatoxin B1 (10, 20, 50 or 100 μg/kg body weight/day) on days 12-19 of gestation...
2016: Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods
A Suske, A Pöschke, P Müller, S Wöber, C Staszyk
Incomplete cemental filling of the infundibula of equine maxillary cheek teeth (CT) is a common feature. Depending on the extent of the defect, three stages of infundibular decay have been suggested. However, histomorphological criteria to identify non-pathological abnormalities and destructive changes have not been defined. Six hundred and eighty eight CT with no evidence of dental diseases and 55 diseased permanent, fully erupted maxillary CT were evaluated on a macroscopic level by assessing the occlusal surface and horizontal sections, including porphyrin assays to detect residual blood within the infundibular cementum...
March 2016: Veterinary Journal
Brandon L Pearson, Erwin B Defensor, D Caroline Blanchard, Robert J Blanchard
Rett syndrome is a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) associated with de novo mutations of the methyl CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2) gene. Mecp2 functions as a transcription factor that regulates the expression of hundreds of genes. Identification of the role of Mecp2 in specific neurodevelopmental symptoms remains an important research aim. We previously demonstrated that male mice possessing a truncation mutation in Mecp2 are hyper-social. We predicted that reduced fear or anxiety might underlie this enhanced affiliation...
July 1, 2015: Physiology & Behavior
A L Garcia-Garcia, Q Meng, J Richardson-Jones, A Dranovsky, E D Leonardo
Current evidence suggests that anxiety disorders have developmental origins. Early insults to the circuits that sub-serve emotional regulation are thought to cause disease later in life. Evidence from studies in mice demonstrate that the serotonergic system in general, and serotonin 1A (5-HT1A) receptors in particular, are critical during the early postnatal period for the normal development of circuits that subserve anxious behavior. However, little is known about the role of serotonin signaling through 5-HT1A receptors between the emergence of normal anxiety behavior after weaning, and the mature adult phenotype...
May 3, 2016: Neuroscience
Simon F Giszter
Motor primitives allow integration across scales in the motor system and may link movement construction and circuit organization. This review examines support for primitives, and new data relating primitives to concrete circuit elements across species. Both kinematic motor primitives and muscle synergy/kinetic motor primitives are reviewed. Motor primitives allow a modular hierarchy that may be re-used by volitional systems in novel ways. They can provide a developmental bootstrap for ethologically important actions...
August 2015: Current Opinion in Neurobiology
Shaowen Bao
A hallmark of the developing auditory cortex is the heightened plasticity in the critical period, during which acoustic inputs can indelibly alter cortical function. However, not all sounds in the natural acoustic environment are ethologically relevant. How does the auditory system resolve relevant sounds from the acoustic environment in such an early developmental stage when most associative learning mechanisms are not yet fully functional? What can the auditory system learn from one of the most important classes of sounds, animal vocalizations? How does naturalistic acoustic experience shape cortical sound representation and perception? To answer these questions, we need to consider an unusual strategy, statistical learning, where what the system needs to learn is embedded in the sensory input...
March 2015: European Journal of Neuroscience
Guido Caniglia
Leo Pardi (1915-1990) was the initiator of ethological research in Italy. During more than 50 years of active scientific career, he gave groundbreaking contributions to the understanding of social life in insects, especially in Polistes wasps, an important model organism in sociobiology. In the 1940s, Pardi showed that Polistes societies are organized in a linear social hierarchy that relies on reproductive dominance and on the physiological and developmental mechanisms that regulate it, i.e. on the status of ovarian development of single wasps...
August 2015: Journal of the History of Biology
(no author information available yet)
High variability of cells size is used selectively for reproduction of working bees and drones. A decrease in both distance between cells and cells size themselves causes similar effects to body mass and morphometric traits of developing individuals. Adaptation of honey bees to living in shelters has led to their becoming tolerant to hypoxia. Improvement of ethological and physiological mechanisms of thermal regulation is associated with limitation of ecological valence and acquiring of stenothermic features by breed...
March 2014: Zhurnal Obshcheĭ Biologii
E K Es'kov, M D Es'kova
High variability of cells size is used selectively for reproduction of working bees and drones. A decrease in both distance between cells and cells size themselves causes similar effects to body mass and morphometric traits of developing individuals. Adaptation of honey bees to living in shelters has led to their becoming tolerant to hypoxia. Improvement of ethological and physiological mechanisms of thermal regulation is associated with limitation of ecological valence and acquiring of stenothermic features by breed...
March 2014: Zhurnal Obshcheĭ Biologii
Meredith J Martin, Patrick T Davies, Leigha A MacNeill
Navigating the ubiquitous conflict, competition, and complex group dynamics of the peer group is a pivotal developmental task of childhood. Difficulty negotiating these challenges represents a substantial source of risk for psychopathology. Evolutionary developmental psychology offers a unique perspective with the potential to reorganize the way we think about the role of peer relationships in shaping how children cope with the everyday challenges of establishing a social niche. To address this gap, we utilize the ethological reformulation of the emotional security theory as a guide to developing an evolutionary framework for advancing an understanding of the defense strategies children use to manage antagonistic peer relationships and protect themselves from interpersonal threat (Davies and Sturge-Apple, 2007)...
2014: Evolutionary Psychology: An International Journal of Evolutionary Approaches to Psychology and Behavior
Luiz F L Pegoraro, Eleonore Z F Setz, Paulo Dalgalarrondo
The purpose of the study was to develop a new ethogram for the assessment of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and intellectual developmental disorder (IDD) and to test whether this instrument accurately distinguishes ASD participants (n = 61) from IDD participants (n = 61). An ethogram with 88 behavior elements was generated, including body postures, verbalizations, facial expressions, motor stereotypies, head postures, gaze behavior, gestures, and interpersonal distance. Significant differences were detected between both groups in classic ASD behaviors; in behaviors that are deficient in ASD according to established theoretical models, such as symbolic play, gaze direction, gaze following, and use of mental state language; in atypical behaviors that have also been described previously in ethological studies with ASD; and in the nonspecific behaviors of ASD, such as walk, look own body, explore, and cry...
2014: Evolutionary Psychology: An International Journal of Evolutionary Approaches to Psychology and Behavior
Alessia De Felice, Aldina Venerosi, Laura Ricceri, Mara Sabbioni, Maria Luisa Scattoni, Flavia Chiarotti, Gemma Calamandrei
Several pieces of evidence from animal and human studies indicate that the organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos (CPF) acts as a developmental neurotoxicant at environmentally relevant doses, and it is possibly endowed with endocrine-disrupting activity. Data collected in rodent models show that developmental exposure to CPF at sub-toxic doses induces long-lasting and sex-dimorphic changes in social and investigative responses in exposed offspring. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of gestational CPF treatment on social and olfactory discrimination in adult mice of both sexes...
November 2014: Neurotoxicology and Teratology
Leonardo Christov-Moore, Elizabeth A Simpson, Gino Coudé, Kristina Grigaityte, Marco Iacoboni, Pier Francesco Ferrari
Evidence suggests that there are differences in the capacity for empathy between males and females. However, how deep do these differences go? Stereotypically, females are portrayed as more nurturing and empathetic, while males are portrayed as less emotional and more cognitive. Some authors suggest that observed gender differences might be largely due to cultural expectations about gender roles. However, empathy has both evolutionary and developmental precursors, and can be studied using implicit measures, aspects that can help elucidate the respective roles of culture and biology...
October 2014: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Giulia Pecora, Elsa Addessi, Gabriele Schino, Francesca Bellagamba
Displacement activities are commonly recognized as behavioral patterns, mostly including self-directed actions (e.g., scratching, self-touching), that often occur in situations involving conflicting motivational tendencies. In ethology, several researchers have suggested that displacement activities could facilitate individuals in dealing with the stress experienced in a frustrating context. In child developmental research, some authors have assessed whether distraction strategies could help children to inhibit a dominant response during delay of gratification tasks...
October 2014: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
Camilla N Clark, Laura E Downey, Jason D Warren
Despite its evident universality and high social value, the ultimate biological role of music and its connection to brain disorders remain poorly understood. Recent findings from basic neuroscience have shed fresh light on these old problems. New insights provided by clinical neuroscience concerning the effects of brain disorders promise to be particularly valuable in uncovering the underlying cognitive and neural architecture of music and for assessing candidate accounts of the biological role of music. Here we advance a new model of the biological role of music in human evolution and the link to brain disorders, drawing on diverse lines of evidence derived from comparative ethology, cognitive neuropsychology and neuroimaging studies in the normal and the disordered brain...
March 2015: Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Eva Díaz-Freije, Camino Gestal, Sheila Castellanos-Martínez, Paloma Morán
DNA methylation is a common regulator of gene expression and development in mammalian and other vertebrate genomes. DNA methylation has been studied so far in a few bivalve mollusk species, finding a wide spectrum of levels. We focused our study in the common octopus, Octopus vulgaris, an important organism for neuroscience, physiology and ethology research as well as for human consumption. We aim to confirm the existence of DNA methylation in O. vulgaris and ultimately, if methylation plays a role in gene regulation during octopus development...
2014: Frontiers in Physiology
Zoltán Molnár, Alex Pollen
The human cerebral cortex is generally considered the most complex organ, and is the structure that we hold responsible for the repertoire of behavior that distinguishes us from our closest living and extinct relatives. At a recent Company of Biologists Workshop, 'Evolution of the Human Neocortex: How Unique Are We?' held in September 2013, researchers considered new information from the fields of developmental biology, genetics, genomics, molecular biology and ethology to understand unique features of the human cerebral cortex and their developmental and evolutionary origin...
January 2014: Development
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