Re: [evol-psych] News: The Making of a Bully
A recent report of diet-driven changes in the genome of dogs compared to wolves and a recent report of behavioral differences driven only by chemosensory input during exploration in 3-4 week-old wolves, but by multisensory input in 4 week-old dogs, attest to the importance of the epigenetic effects of nutrient stressors combined with social stressors on the development of the brain and behavior. It is also becoming clearer how nutrient-dependent stress and social stress epigenetically contribute to the microRNA / messenger RNA balance, intracellular signaling, and stochastic gene expression in the amygdala, which apparently is how learning and memory is epigenetically effected by food odors and pheromones in mammals.
As the molecular mechanisms of cause and effect become clear, is there any reason to suspect that adaptive evolution of the brain and behavior in mammals (e.g., dogs and wolves) is any less dependent on nutrients and pheromones than is the hormone-organized and hormone-activated brain development and behavior of invertebrates? If not, then "Olfaction and odor receptors provide a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans." If so, social programs might at least begin to consider the role of human pheromones (or their absence) as social stressors that alter adolescent and adult behavior in precisely the same way they alter the behavioral differences of all species (as exemplified in subspecies like in the wolves and dogs). If the epigenetic effects are on the molecular mechanisms of adaptively evolved brain development in other species, how can we eliminate human pheromones from consideration in social programs designed to help our stressed-out conspecifics?
added here for the benefit of evolutionary theorists: We can eliminate human pheromones from consideration if random mutations continue to be offered as an acceptable explanation for adaptive evolution of our species instead of the more obvious nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled cause of adaptive evolution in every other species on the planet. We need only ignore the evolutionary continuum to continue to ignore the most obvious cause for the making of a wolf from a dog (i.e., nutrient-dependent, pheromone-controlled speciation) and the making of a bully from an infant human.
Medical laboratory scientist (ASCP)
Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338.