Mitchell Sogin, an evolutionary biologist working at Woods Hole Biological Institute has diligently catalogued by back tracking the evolutionary taxonomy underlying all animal diversity into descending from one primal animal, the sea sponge. But if this is the Mother or Paternal lode that relates to all animal life on planet Earth, there is this lingering query: what perhaps critical biological systems, sort of like biology’s version of our Internet, would have to be running for the sea sponge to have self organized into its niche, finalized form? A strong feeling of recognizing this very pertinent question has been cogently addressed by Pietro Omodeo from the University of Sienna, Italy, while working in the Dipartmento di Scienze Ambientali. Omodeo cites the following coexisting, not necessarily complete conditions for sea sponges to develop toward being numero uno of Earths mammalian taxonomy. I have paraphrased his observations into point form:
‘The ability for DNA to wrap itself around nucleosomes would allow the increase of the genome.
The formation of a nuclear envelope may have arrived with mitotic cell division.
Sea water would need dissolved oxygen plus the need for symbiosis existing between bacteria capable of performing anerobic respiration.
There would need to be functional cell membranes.
There would be a necessary symbiosis with photosynthetic cyanobacteria.
Cytoplasmic contractility would be also required, especially with the coordinated movement of the sea sponge flagella.’
As you can see there would have to be some serious other biology already in place for the sea sponge to be considered for the primal candidacy. By the way this list is by no means totally inclusive. But a cursory examination appears to involve a lot of coordinated networking, a primal Nature Internet to be up and running too?
So for sea sponges involving toward coordinating a variety of interacting primary sensor-effector cell systems would have to be necessarily available as life started to flourish on planet Earth. But what exactly does this involve, what primal sensor-effector system net underlies the assembly, the basic architecture, the basic shape of sea sponges? Is there any compelling evidence that such a primal design creating system, that would be essential to coordinate the diversity of biological elements making up a sea sponge is still with us?Seems to be sort of like our current Wolff’s Law for bone metabolism, a whole continuous process of bone growth vs bone reduction that is dynamically remodeled all the time.
Donald Ingber who has studied the application of cells balanced, stressed under compression with tension structures at Harvard University makes a compelling case for essentially all cells using shape sensing to accomplish coordinated actions. Could this be the same ancient primal signalling system as sea sponges came into existence? Ingber calls the architectural assembly process termed as balanced tensegrity structures, balanced both architecturally, in aspects of design fit between local elements with the entire shape of the animal. Double balanced as the real bonus is the structure self senses, as if a pre-existing network harmonized everything, all cellular machinery coordinated like a functioning iPhone.
In our own Internet that we use on a daily basis it is hard to imagine not using the entire array of resources that the ‘Net’ now provides us. But way back in our evolutionary eras, the sixties, just as the first Internet, the original code of UNIX is still running certain routines that we are not even aware of today. All networks are layered in terms of a evolving hierarchy. I would say that Nature figured this out also but a bunch of billions of years ago. So when we are asked to study systems as chemical reactions or genomes or any other pertinent biological question, the very basis of all this networking meshing is that it flows. Nature flows so well we may be missing the early versions of the Nature of Things -like what does a sea sponge , REALLY need to thrive? This is a heavy duty question.
Where in our entire body do we look for a shape sensing system as evolved creatures who have the sea sponge as our primal ancestor? Ingber appears to have catalogued tensegrity toward such a heritage system with evolutionary clout. Perhaps we can start looking for evidence of shape sensing sophistication within the brain distortion effects of brain trauma, brain concussion at the heart of the matter. Within the medulla, as the concussive hit of a Max Pacioretty takes place we must become the inner observer. We must ask ourselves the question, what do I pay attention to that is the most meaningful, what will teach me the most?
Perhaps we can start looking at the brain distortions below the brain at the vagal plus glosso-pharyngeal effects on cardiac pacing, onto central autonomic brain control zones coordinating the central pacing beat to beat changes of Max Pacioretty’s heart? That is the hope that Montreal General Hospital surgeon, Dr Mulder referred to I believe, stating, ‘we need to know more about what concussions actually do.’ It is our unique Montreal entry into learning the important things to observe from a sea sponge point of view inside the brain, teaching us how to really observe some pertinent effects from a brain rotation, shape distorting brain concussion point of view. Please stay tuned.