160 reputation
8
bio website nathanielvirgo.com
location
age
visits member for 1 year, 10 months
seen Jan 21 at 10:15

I'm a post-doctoral researcher with a wide range of interests. My career is in complex systems science (or maybe cybernetics) and the origins of life, but I also have research interests in

  • the foundations of statistical mechanics and its relationship to information theory
  • Earth systems science
  • non-equilibrium thermodynamics in general

I'm also generally interested in the foundations of quantum mechanics and in black holes, though I wouldn't say I'm an expert on those things.

It's probably worth noting that despite the fact that my research is in physics-related areas, all my degrees are in other subjects. If I occasionally seem to start talking in an alien language, this is probably why.


Jan
5
comment Are there known examples where an evolved mechanism “echoes” one originally provided by the environment?
Great, thanks, I will certainly look into this in detail. (I might accept this answer but let's see if anything else comes up first.)
Jan
5
comment General time reversible model of evolution and Felsenstein model
You can find some information, with references to the original papers, on this Wikpedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/… (I won't try to offer a summary, because it's not by field.)
Jan
5
revised Are there known examples where an evolved mechanism “echoes” one originally provided by the environment?
added 34 characters in body
Jan
5
comment Are there known examples where an evolved mechanism “echoes” one originally provided by the environment?
I've re-written the question, and I hope it's clearer now.
Jan
5
revised Are there known examples where an evolved mechanism “echoes” one originally provided by the environment?
added 2452 characters in body; edited title
Jan
5
comment Are there known examples where an evolved mechanism “echoes” one originally provided by the environment?
(Though I guess your examples are somewhat lacking in the "echoing the environment" property, because the 'complicated anatomical mechanisms' they use don't resemble the original environmental mechanism. I do need to clarify what I mean by that, and I hope to find the time today or this week.)
Jan
5
comment Are there known examples where an evolved mechanism “echoes” one originally provided by the environment?
Thank you for the answer. The examples are indeed relevant. I do intend to make the requested improvements to the question, including references, its just a little hard to find the time and enthusiasm at the moment. I also don't understand why evolved solutions should echo those provided by the environment, yet hypotheses of this form are common in the origins of life, hence the question. (I hope my future edits will make it clearer what I mean by that.)
Jan
4
awarded  Quorum
Jan
2
suggested rejected edit on What do we know about the cellular structure, processes, environment, and immediate ancestors of the last universal common ancestor (LUCA)?
Dec
31
comment Are there known examples where an evolved mechanism “echoes” one originally provided by the environment?
@user137 yes, if there's a known example of that it would make a very good example. (Of course I know that there are many known examples where a species has lost the ability to make an amino acid, but this is the point I eventually want to make - if the environment provides a species with something, there's no pressure for the species to evolve that thing for itself, and so it doesn't tend to happen.)
Dec
30
comment Are there known examples where an evolved mechanism “echoes” one originally provided by the environment?
You're answering a different question from the one I'm asking. As I said, this is my fault for not being clear enough, and I will have to think more about how to improve the question.
Dec
30
comment Are there known examples where an evolved mechanism “echoes” one originally provided by the environment?
I'm very sorry that I wasn't able to make my question clear. I'm not just asking for examples of the evolution of metabolic pathways. I'm asking for examples (if they exist, which they may well not) of metabolic functions which at one time were provided by the environment but which are now performed by the organism using a similar molecular mechanism. Examples would likely come from phylogenetics, rather than direct experimental observation.
Dec
30
comment Are there known examples where an evolved mechanism “echoes” one originally provided by the environment?
I'm very sorry for not making my question clear enough. I'm not just asking for examples of the evolution of metabolic pathways. I'm asking for examples (if they exist, which they may well not) of metabolic functions which at one time were provided by the environment but which are now performed by the organism using a similar molecular mechanism. It's not a particularly easy thing to make clear, but I will have a think about how to do it better.
Dec
30
comment Are there known examples where an evolved mechanism “echoes” one originally provided by the environment?
@WYSIWYG endothermic is standard terminology. Endo means 'within', so I guess in biology it means something that makes heat within itself, whereas in chemistry it means something that needs heat within itself in order to happen. I agree it's annoying that it means the opposite thing in the two fields.
Dec
30
comment Are there known examples where an evolved mechanism “echoes” one originally provided by the environment?
@WYSIWYG I've done my best to narrow it down to something much more specific. (Re-reading it, it indeed seemed to be asking for something much more general that what I'd intended.) I've also made the edits referred to in my comments above.
Dec
30
revised Are there known examples where an evolved mechanism “echoes” one originally provided by the environment?
added 1250 characters in body
Dec
30
comment Are there known examples where an evolved mechanism “echoes” one originally provided by the environment?
@user137 your example is useful and appreciated. See my comment to Remi.b above.
Dec
30
comment Are there known examples where an evolved mechanism “echoes” one originally provided by the environment?
@Remi.b genetic assimilation can't be used to draw a good analogy with the origins of life, because there was nowhere to assimilate genetic material from, so I'm telly looking for examples where the feature was evolved independently. (I'll also edit that in.)
Dec
30
comment Are there known examples where an evolved mechanism “echoes” one originally provided by the environment?
@Remi.b I can't deny that endothermic animals are an example. However, they are a poor example for my purpose, because generating heat is quite an easy thing to do chemically, whereas the hypotheses for the origins of life require things as complicated as the TCA cycle to evolve this way. When I'm at a non mobile device I'll edit the question to put an emphasis on that.
Dec
30
comment Are there known examples where an evolved mechanism “echoes” one originally provided by the environment?
@WYSIWYG I can only imagine I've phrased the question poorly, as in asking for example of something very specific. If you can point me to particular parts of the text that can be interpreted as asking for something broad, I'll do my best to fix them.