Survival of the Fittest: Do Farmers Have What It Takes to Defend Against Nematodes?
Adu-Oppong, Boahemaa | Washington University
Organisms have evolved to survive, but many don’t do this on their own. Many organisms create a carefully controlled pact with members of different species for their mutual benefit i.e. a traded resource. The trade can be for a service such as protection or dispersal or for a different good. We investigated a novel mutualistic interaction between bacteria and Dictyostelium discoideum known as farming. Farmers carry several different food bacteria, including the one we feed them, Klebsiella aerogenes. They also carry some bacteria that are not used as food. We investigated whether these non-food bacteria provide protection against predatory nematodes.
From Blood Feuds to Civility: Romeo and Juliet and the Changing Evolutionary Role of Cultural Traditions
Begley, Ryan O. | University of Missouri
Evolutionary explanations of blood feuds have seen them primarily as examples of kinship solidarity explainable by kin selection. However, ethnographic and historical records also show aspects of blood feuds that do not appear directly explainable by kin selection, particularly, the tendency of blood feuds to decrease in frequency in state societies, where some form of overarching organization encompasses multiple kin-based categories of people. The transition from kinship-based to state social organizations required a fundamental shift in cultural traditions, particularly traditions concerning blood feuds, and the events in Romeo and Juliet unfold within this context.
Experienced Chimpanzees Behave More Game-Theoretically Than Humans in Simple Competitive Interactions
Bhui, Rahul | Caltech
Comparing the actions of humans and evolutionary relatives in game theoretic settings suggests what cognitive abilities underlie strategic behaviour. We use a touch-screen interface for experimental economics to directly compare the choices of chimpanzees and humans in a game, Asymmetric Matching Pennies, designed to elicit features of strategic capability. We find that chimpanzees play closer to the Nash Equilibrium than humans (but humans get higher payoffs). However, humans exhibit strategically important statistical choice independence, which chimps also learn over many sessions. Both species have a role-based reaction time differential.
Farming Amoebas, Like Human Farmers, Protect Their Crops from Competitors
Brock, Debbie | Washington University
Agricultural crops raised and tended by humans, ants, termites, beetles, and now the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, are public goods that must be defended if the system is to be evolutionarily stable. D. discoideum farmers carry both food and non-food bacteria and here we test the hypothesis that non-food bacteria are used to attack non-farming competitors. We found non-food bacteria have both a beneficial effect on Dictyostelium farmers while simultaneously harming non-farming competitors offering support for our hypothesis. Investments in crops are vulnerable to exploitation by non-investors, but farming amoebas solve this problem by carrying bacteria that harm non-farming competitors.
Media, Image and Government
Buescher, Gregory | UMSL Alumni Association
Any understanding of social and cultural change is impossible without a knowledge of the way media work as environments. Identifying effects of communication technology often requires analyzing their environments, including interactions with other media. This poster would apply the methodology of several scholars in the discipline of Communication to analyze the effects as they contribute to social science, humanities and increasingly biology.
Structured Growth and Genetic Drift Raise Relatedness in the Social Amoeba Dictyostelium Discoideum
Buttery, Neil | Washington University
For altruism to evolve there must be genetic relatedness between altruist and beneficiary, often through kin recognition. We investigate a passive process of genetic drift in the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum. We put labelled and unlabelled cells of the same clone in the centre of a plate. After proliferation, sectors formed by genetic drift caused by the few actively growing cells at the colony’s edge, and could form from a single cell. Relatedness increased at a higher rate when there was less food. This study shows that small founding population sizes or recognition mechanisms are not required to increase relatedness.
What's Sex Got to Do, Have to Do with It? Sexual Size Dimorphism and Antipredator Behavior of Aedes Mosquitoes
Chamberlain, Jillian D. | Illinois State University
Organisms modify behavior in the presence of predator cues, reducing frequency of high-predation-risk activities. Costs of this behavioral change depend on fitness effects of lost feeding opportunities and, because of sexual size dimorphism, these costs are expected to differ between the sexes. Larval Aedes triseriatus and Aedes albopictus were used to test the hypothesis that behavioral responses of the sexes have been selected differently due to different energy demands. Females generally spent more effort on higher-risk, higher-reward foraging, consistent with their greater adult size and energy demand. The change in response to predation cues did not differ between the sexes.
Evolution and Reindeer-Herding Culture in Siberia
Chudnovsky, Rita | UC Berkeley
This poster is based on the evolution of art among reindeer herding people in Siberia, who have been domesticating and breeding reindeer for centuries. Arguably, these reindeer-herders developed a set of myths and folklore to legitimize their domestication of the animals, as well as to narrativize their role in the broader ecosystem. With the Soviet revolution came a transformation of reindeer-herder societal and economic structure, organization into massive communal farms, and a separation of people from their reindeer and their ancestors' land. This poster looks at the transformation of Siberian folklore the important function t served in hunter-gatherer reindeer societies, and how it evolved to cope with Soviet-imposed socio-economic changes. The focus is given to the integration of Soviet discourse into traditional folklore.
From Neurons to Night of the Living Dead: Toward a Consilient Theory of Horror Fiction
Clasen, Mathias | Aarhus University
Life in prehistoric times was dangerous. Our evolutionary ancestors faced a range of potentially threatening organisms: carnivorous predators, venomous animals, invisible pathogens, and hostile conspecifics. Thus, natural selection has produced a species-typical cognitive architecture for danger-management, and this architecture fundamentally constrains our horror stories and the monsters that engage our attention and make us keep the bedside lamp burning. I argue that an evolutionary perspective can greatly enhance our understanding of horror fiction. Horror scholars are mired in mono-causal, obsolete, and reductionist explanatory paradigms such as psychoanalysis and social constructivism. The time is right for a consilient theory of horror.
Conspicuous Consumption and Female Choice: How Sexual Selection Shaped Economic Growth
Collins, Jason | University of Western Australia
In this poster, it is proposed that the evolution by sexual selection of the human propensity to engage in conspicuous consumption contributed to the emergence of modern levels of economic growth. Males who engaged in conspicuous consumption had higher reproductive success than those who did not, as females responded to the costly and honest signal of quality. Accordingly, the prevalence of males in the population who engaged in conspicuous consumption increased, along with the level of economic activities conducted to fund conspicuous consumption. The increased economic activity provided a basis for modern levels of economic growth.
Selection Versus Instruction: The Conditions for Natural Selection to Be the Main Force Driving Adaptive Evolution
De Tiège, Alexis | Ghent University (Belgium)
Research in epigenetics and evo-devo reveals the cellular organism’s potential to respond adaptively to environmental conditions during ontogeny. Such adaptively ‘acquired’ variation may be epigenetically inherited, hereby reintroducing an element of ‘Lamarckian instruction’ into adaptive evolution. I investigate the theoretical conditions for selection to be the main (i.e. for more than 50%) adaptive evolutionary force, concluding that the sources of heritable variation must be systematically (i.e. for more than 50%) protected against fitness biased (‘Lamarckian’) structural input from direct environmental-developmental constraints. I also point at implications for the ‘gene selectionism’ versus ‘multilevel selectionism’ and the ‘gene-centrism’ versus ‘developmental systems’ debates.
Psychometric Diametricity of Autism and Positive Schizotypy in a Non-Clinical Population
Dinsdale, Natalie L. | Simon Fraser University
The nature of the causal relationship between autism spectrum conditions (ASCs) and psychotic-affective spectrum conditions (PACs) is unknown, though both spectra involve alterations and impairments to uniquely human-evolved social brain adaptations. We outline three alternative models for the possible relationship between ASCs and PACs, and compare predictions for the expected relationships between autistic and schizotypal phenotypes using questionnaire data from a large undergraduate sample. Analyses revealed an autism-schizotypy phenotypic axis, where positive aspects of schizotypy oppose core autistic features, but only after the effects of general social functioning have been removed. These results provide an explicit evolutionary dimension to social brain adaptations and related maladaptations.
Differential Macrocyst Formation Reveals a Complex Mating Hierarchy in a Social Amoeba
Douglas, Tracy | Washington University in St. Louis
Abstract: During the sexual stage, the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum forms a hardy dormant structure, potentially as a response to environmental stress cues. During this process, two cells of differing genotypes fuse to form a diploid zygote that cannibalizes hundreds of surrounding amoeba cells. Because the formation of these structures involves the sacrifice of many potentially related individuals for the survival of, at most, two genotypes, cheaters could emerge that contribute disproportionately more to the reproductive zygote than the cannibalized peripheral cells. Here we describe the complex mating hierarchy that potentially maintains this system as well as possible mechanisms for cheating.
The Cinema of Girlfighting: An Evolutionary Review of Relational Aggression in Teenage-Clique Films
Fonte, Michael | State University of New York at Binghamton
Relational aggression, or covert bullying, amongst female teenagers has been a topic of interest in many venues—TV news, daytime talk shows, and self-help books for parents. In cinema, the phenomenon has even garnered its own genre. Only a fraction of existing criticism has begun to apply an evolutionary approach. This review attempts to go further by translating character behavior into an evolutionary vocabulary and placing it within models of social behavior, including multilevel selection theory.
Bio-Philia, Nature-Phobia: The Disparity Between Loving Nature and Living in Nature
Frater, Paul, and Lauren Sullivan | Iowa State University
Abstract: The idea that people have an innate fondness for nature was presented almost 30 years ago (i.e. biophilia); however, there seems to be a disconnect between this hypothesis and how people actually interact with nature. Here we present the idea that a disparity between people and the natural world actually exists. We aim to quantify this gap by surveying people in a variety of locations about where they believe nature to exist and how much time they spend in nature. Results would be beneficial to environmental education and conservation as well as researchers for educating or justifying research.
If You Don’t Want It Neither Do I: Social Influences on Children’s Choices
Hennefield, Laura | Washington University in St Louis
Infants’ sensitivity to social information is pervasive in development. Does this latent attention to conspecifics influence children’s developing preferences? We asked whether observing another person’s choices influence children’s own choices. Four-year-old children watched an experimenter look inside two boxes and then chose one box. Children then selected between the box the experimenter did not choose and a different box. Children selected the alternative box significantly more than chance. However, if the experimenter chose a box without first looking inside – thus ignorant of the contents – children chose randomly. These findings suggest that children are influenced by their observation of others’ choices – including what is not chosen – providing insight into children’s developing preferences.
Literary Drosophila: a Fiction Science Project
Hernandez, Michael | DePaul University
It is a truth universally acknowledged…” that undergraduate interest is necessary to advance evolutionary approaches to literature. We offer a digital beginner’s guide to these approaches. We propose an online literature review called “Literary Drosophila,” for Pride and Prejudice’s reputation as the “fruit fly of literary Darwinism.”
“Echoing Footsteps”: Parental Care in the Novels of Pat Barker
Hopmoen, Isabel | Gothenburg University
In the course of human evolutionary history, parental protection has been essential to successfully raising offspring. Humans are dependent on secure parental attachment not only to survive but to achieve successful emotional development. The novels of modern British author Pat Barker characteristically depict absent, unstable and emotionally detached parents, who produce emotionally damaged children. Because of their disturbed childhoods, these children, even when grown, experience difficulties in forming healthy bonds. An evolutionary understanding of parent-offspring attachment can provide a larger explanatory context for this pervasive theme in Barker’s work. Barker’s characters are situated in culturally and historically specific environments, but their central concerns are universal. In this poster, I shall explain how the culturally and individually specific situations of Barker’s characters intersect with universal characteristics of human development.
Literary Dystopias and the Danger of Conformity Versus the Utility of Social Learning
Jonsson, Emelie | Gothenburg University
Conformity is a basic theme in most of the great literary dystopias. This poster will use E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops” as a case study to argue that many literary dystopias are horror stories imagining social learning as the only form of learning. The cost of social learning is low, but its utility for humans—through cultural niche construction—depends on constantly adapting our cultural practices to a changing world. Many dystopian writers imagine horror scenarios in which we have adapted to our cultural practices faster than we can adapt our cultural practices to the wider environment—thus losing the advantage of flexibility that seems largely responsible for our success as a species. Though using the horror effect for individual, culturally specific purposes, such stories play on an intuitive fear of becoming disconnected from environmental input through a rigid system of social learning.
Testing the Sensitivity of the Trivers-Willard Effect Using Different Status Measures
Kolk, Martin, & Sebastian Schnettler | Stockholm University
Abstract: Based on evolutionary theory, Trivers and Willard (TW) predicted that high-status parents display male-biased and low-status parents female-biased parental investment and sex ratios. Here we look at how sensitive the TW-effect is to different status indicators and what role female employment status, measured as income, wealth, occupational class and educational level, has in mediating the TW-effect. We use logistic regression on micro level data to examine sex ratio at birth. We use individual data on births from Swedish administrative register data (N ≈ 2 000 000). Early analysis reveals an ambiguous pattern contrary to the TW-effect.
Homo Tragicus: Evolution's Legacy in Literature
Lempert, Manya | UC Berkeley
What is the ethical task of literature after Darwin? By reading Thomas Hardy, Virginia Woolf, and Samuel Beckett as participants in the shift E.O. Wilson calls “the secularization of the human epic,” I find these novelists recognize that transcendental ethics hold no monopoly upon value; mortal minds do. Without religious redemption, life is not meaningless, but more fragile. What emerges is an outlook tragic and hopeful, committed to human well-being in a perilous world. Science causes the genre of tragedy to evolve, and leads literature to investigate new ways of affirming life.
Host-Parasite Interactions in Galapagos Seabirds
Levin, Iris | University of Missouri - St. Louis
Parasites exhibit a wide range of life history strategies that contribute to different dispersal abilities, host specialization, and population structure. Understanding host-parasite dispersal is instrumental in defining the scale at which coevolution may be occurring. In order to understand how and when parasites move between different hosts, I studied a seabird – Hippoboscid fly – Haemosporidian parasite system in the Galapagos Islands. Using a comparative population genetic approach of two seabird species and their respective fly parasites, we found high levels of gene flow in both fly species, despite differences in the degree of population genetic structure of their bird hosts.
Art as a Bodily Destabilizer: Psychophysical and Evolutionary Approaches
Lipede, Gabi | École Des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris; Institute Jean Nicod
We demonstrate that static art objects (broadly construed) can destabilize the postural control of spectators during the course of an aesthetic experience. Evolutionary hypotheses for antipredator adaptations are adduced to underline psychophysical processes thought to play a causal role in this phenomenon. Particular attention will be paid to (1) assigning functional values—in terms of both present and past adaptedness—to stereotyped motor responses triggered by the perceiving subject’s visual encounter with the pictorial representation of depth in the visual field; and (2) the integration of our findings within the broader theoretical program of evolutionary landscape aesthetics.
Where Personality Meets the Page: Evolution and Adaptive Self-Expression in Alice Andrews’s Trine Erotic
Michelson, David | Binghamton University
Contrary to critics of literary Darwinism, who aver that human universals cannot account for singular aspects of authors and stories, my poster presents an evolutionary personality psychological case study in which I show how Alice Andrews’s personality (understood as a narrative identity compounded of heritable traits, characteristic adaptations and cultural values) influences the content, form and style of her novel, Trine Erotic. My methods include personality tests, interviews and analyzing her readers’ responses. I also discuss the novel’s adaptive function; reader responses suggest that sexual selection can amplify the variation of artistic creativity in the population today.
Chaucer's Transhistorical Book: A Memetics-based Life History of a Medieval Textual Fragment
Miller, Timothy S. | University of Notre Dame
This project adapts the concept of the meme to reexamine the spread of Chaucer's famous "Go, little book" sending throughout later English literature as illustrative of universal Darwinism in action. Methodologically based on a study of the meme's cooperation with changing patterns of co-memes in over 300 distinct literary texts from the past six centuries, the project tracks the evolution of this textual fragment across diverse historical and cultural environments. Its findings suggest that we begin to rethink familiar terms from the literary-critical vocabulary -- quotation, allusion, convention, trope, etc. -- in light of the Darwinian algorithm of selection.
The Ontogeny of Altruism: Infant Social Learning Influences Early Displays of Prosocial Behavior
Newton, Emily | University of California, Davis
Eighteen-month-olds participated in prosocial sharing and repairing tasks with an unfamiliar adult (UA). Mothers also “read” wordless picture books to their children, and the transcripts were coded for the use of mental state language. Children of mothers who discussed their own desires more often were more likely to repair UA’s broken toys, and children of mothers who discussed their children’s emotions more often were more likely to share food or toys with UA. These results are discussed in terms of cultural evolution, and suggest that social learning contributes to the ontogeny of altruistic behavior quite early in human development.
Thomas Pynchon & Ecology
Palmer, Ryan | Uppsala University
Ecological literary criticism has often posed apparently incompatible ways of regarding the environment: from either an anthropocentric or non-anthropocentric perspective. The concept of gene-culture co evolution offers an alternative way of envisioning the environment. Thomas Pynchon’s fiction presents environments ranging from archaic mythical geographies to contemporary media ecologies. The ecosystems in Pynchon’s works are transformed and degraded by human agency. By describing how Pynchon’s work engages with the evolutionary drives that lead to ecological alterations, such as the sexual matrix for war, this poster rethinks how environment functions in his work.
Factors Affecting Sex Ratio at Birth in Croatia 1998-2008
Pavic, Dario | University of Zagreb, Center for Croatian Studies, Zagreb, Croatia
It has been shown that evolution favors the bias in sex ratio at birth (SRB) based on condition of the organisms. This study analyzed which socio-economic and demographic factors affect SRB in Croatia 1998-2008. The logistic regression on more than 400 000 births showed that increased parents age jointly lowers the SRB. Also, there is a regional difference in SRB. The changes in reproductive physiology with age explain the decrease in SRB, while the regional differences in SRB reflect the different patterns of nutrition, obesity and physical activity in those regions.
Comparison of Haemosporidian Parasites from the Galapagos fFycatcher (Myiarchus magnirostris - GAFL) and from Its Continental Sister Species (Myiarchus tyrannulus - BCFL)
Sari, Eloisa | University of Missouri - St. Louis
Bird parasites in Galapagos can have three origins: those arriving with host endemic species; those acquired after arrival from other Galapagos species; and those introduced by humans. To find the origin of GAFL Haemosporidian parasites, we screened 249 GAFL and 74 BCFL, its sister species, in Costa Rica. 54% of BCFL had a Plasmodium haplotype found in many other passerines elsewhere. 1.6% of GAFL had Haemoproteus multipigmentatus, which has only been recorded in doves from Galapagos and the New World, indicating that Haemosporidia from GAFL did not arrive with its ancestors, but were acquired from the endemic doves after arrival.
Do Religious Descriptions Increase the Art Status of Objects? Indications for an Evolutionary Link Between Art and Religion
Seghers, Eveline | Ghent University
Several evolutionary accounts of the emergence of art attempt to explain its origin by referring to religious behavior or phenomena (e.g. Coe 2003, Dissanayake 1995, Mithen 1999). To test this link between art and religion, an empirical study was performed to investigate whether religious explanations contribute to (1) favorable aesthetic judgment, and (2) positive assessment of the art status of objects. Two groups were provided with either a religious or a non-religious explanation for the same 20 objects. Experimental material was drawn from the Ethnographic Collections of Ghent University, and a total of 273 students participated. Statistical analysis shows that a religious context does not significantly alter aesthetic judgment of objects, but it does increase participants’ tendency to consider a previously unknown object as a work of art, suggesting that an intuitive, evolutionary connection between art and religion may be at work.
Increased Costs of Cooperation Help Cooperators in the Long Run
Smaldino, Paul E. | Johns Hopkins University
We consider a scenario where being the beneficiary of altruistic acts is necessary to survive and reproduce, using a spatial agent-based model. Births and deaths were decoupled, allowing population size to vary. The presence of an environmental "cost of living" leads to an early reduction in cooperator numbers followed by a dramatic recovery as selfish competitors perish with no one left to exploit. These effects are more pronounced when the costs of unreciprocated cooperation are greater. Our analysis illuminates the evolution of reciprocal altruism via interdependence, and illustrates how selfish groups can incur short-term benefits while ensuring their eventual demise.
Biological Determinants of Social Structure Among Cooperative Dictyostelium Amoebae
Smith, Jeff | Washington University in St Louis
Social evolution depends critically on the genetic structure of social interactions. Interactions between genetically similar individuals are conducive to the evolution of cooperation, while interactions between dissimilar individuals are more conducive to conflict. Here we investigate biological and ecological determinants of social structure in cooperative Dictyostelium amoebae. When colonizing a patch of bacterial prey, passive spatial structure plays a crucial role in creating relatedness within fruiting bodies. Response to spatial structure was polymorphic in natural populations, in part due to variation in grazing behavior. These results show how microbial traits not directly involved in cooperation can still influence social evolution.
The Boundaries of Libertinage: Disgust and the Marquis de Sade
Stekelenburg, Naomi | University of the Sunshine Coast
Writers of obscene fiction manipulate the emotion of disgust to co-opt reader attention. That which is taboo or illicit can conjure fascination. However, it can also instigate avoidance. Therefore, disgust influences literary output by necessitating strategies that encourage the balance between attention and isolation. The libertine fiction of the Marquis de Sade explicitly seeks to ‘tell all’ through its representation of corporeal excess. However, even in his celebration of the body at its most transgressive, Sade is bound by the constraints disgust imposes on human nature. Consequently, he employs textual strategies such as self-censorship and images of sanitation that quell anxiety evoked by the disgust aesthetic of his work.
An Ecologist and a Writer Walked into a Bar: Using Consilience to Create More Complex Awareness of Landscape Diversity in Iowa
Sullivan, Lauren, Brent Mortensen, Fred McVaugh, & Elizabeth Bach | Iowa State University
The natural world is experienced and interpreted in countless ways. Some sketch and paint animals and plants; others quantify these organisms’ behavioral changes; still others write poetry or make documentary films. Scientists and artists each in their own ways explore, observe, and interpret the world. However, these interpretations are often compartmentalized by discipline, thus decreasing the diversity with which people experience a landscape. Because past experiences, accumulated knowledge and personal interests shape our impressions of the land, we strive to combine the arts and sciences in ways that increase the complexity with which people understand landscape diversity and its conservation. We hypothesize that awareness of landscape diversity and its conservation can be achieved through consilience, or the combining of disciplinary knowledge. To test this hypothesis the Iowa State Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology Department and the English Department are working together to create a tallgrass prairie restoration that asks relevant ecological questions while serving as an inspiration for artistic expression. This project is located in the heart of Ames, IA, thus creating an important juxtaposition of agricultural, urban and native landscapes. We will use survey techniques to evaluate how combining the arts and sciences at this restoration site increases understanding of the importance of landscape diversity and conservation in undergraduate students at Iowa State University. We will compare groups of students that have both ecological and creative requirements to those that have either ecological or creative requirements. We predict students who are exposed to tall grass prairie restoration from an ecological perspective that also are asked to creatively and/or critically express their thoughts on this restoration and its location will have higher appreciation and understanding of landscape diversity than those who only experience one form of learning.
Comparative Genomics and Transcriptomics of Dictyostelium Helper and Reproductive Castes
Tian, Xiangju | Washington University in St. Louis
Single-celled eukaryote Dictyostelium changes from vegetative growth to multicellular development on starvation, with cell differentiation and highly social interaction. About 20% cells sacrifice themselves to form sterile stalk to support the dispersal of remaining 80% cells in spore, which resemble somatic cells and germ line cells of animals and workers and queen of social insects in caste division of helper and reproduction. We compared protein sequences and gene expressions of orthologous genes from two Dictyostelium species, and found that stalk genes is more conserved that spore genes, resembling evolutionary patterns of worker and queen and soma and germ line cells.
A Comparative Study of Oxidative Damage in Avian Embryos
Tsunekage, Toshi | University of Missouri-St. Louis:
The length of avian embryonic development varies greatly among species, and there is evidence that the rate of embryonic development may be linked to the rate of aging and longevity. Understanding potential trade-offs underlying this relationship will allow us to understand potential constraints on the evolution of avian life histories. Embryonic samples were collected from five different species with incubation periods ranging from 14 to 42 days. We found differences in embryonic oxidative damage to DNA and lipids, but no differences in the repair of DNA during embryonic development.
How Can Mitigation and Adaptive Capacities to Climate Change Be Best Enhanced? A Human Values Evolutionary Approach
Vila-Brunet, Neus | University of Missouri
There is the need to identify efficient climate change (CC) mitigation and adaptation strategies for the short and long run that consider the relationships between economic, natural and informational systems. The model structure is based on the Spanish AgroSAM (social accounting matrix), extended with natural resource, human values and information satellite accounts, and converted into a general disequilibrium model. Research indicates that there is a need to understand the origin of human values from the consciousness level point of view if we are to develop adaptive capacities for the long run. Results indicate how different levels of human consciousness affect the behavior of the economy.
Sky Serpents: A Cognitive and Evolutionary Perspective
Whittaker, Catherine | University of Oxford (UK)
If we presume that religious taxonomies are modeled in analogy to folk biological taxonomies, then we should expect hybrid creatures to be classified in similar ways cross-culturally. A taxonomic analysis of the 16th-century Aztec manuscript, the Florentine Codex, compared with zoological data on Mexican rattlesnakes sheds light on the evolutionary origins of a Mesoamerican deity, the Plumed Serpent (Quetzalcoatl). In a second step, the Plumed Serpent is compared to the Ancient Egyptian goddess Uto to reveal structural parallels between these deities and, in extension, other world “dragons”.