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Tissues (right) have a fractal structure (p 499) as a consequence of charge non-linearity in chemical bonding: (a) molecular level (b) cellular organelles (c) organs (skin). This fractal structure is similar to that arising from the non-linear quadratic dynamics of the Mandelbrot set (left) (King, Campbell R101).
The Tree of Life: Tangled Roots and Sexy Shoots: Tracing the genetic pathway from the first eucaryotes to Homo sapiens Chris King Jan 2009
Biocosmology A complete monograph on the emergence of life from the chemical soup
Life is the ultimate cosmological consequence of the four forces of nature acting in hierarchical sequence, the colour and weak forces binding the quarks to form protons and neutrons, then atomic nuclei, then atoms, and finally the electromagnetic force becomes dominant in forming molecules. Complex molecular matter organized in the fractal form we find in tissues is the ultimate expression of the interaction of all the forces which emerged in the symmetry-breaking at the cosmic origin. As a precursor to looking at the reproductive nature of living sexuality we examine its genesis in the sexual paradox of physics.
Life’s Emergence as Symmetry-broken Interaction
It is the twisted nature of cosmic symmetry-breaking (p 310), which makes the makes the combined action of the nuclear and electromagnetic forces capable of forming around a hundred different types of stable nuclei. The fact that the stable nucleons are neutral and positively charged polarizes the entire electromagnetic make up of atoms. The positive charges of the protons clumped together in the nucleus give atoms their unique highly polarized structure of orbital negatively charged electrons. Without this uniquely polarized situation which is itself a direct consequence of cosmic symmetry-breaking complex molecular life would be impossible.
Moreover the non-linear interaction does not stop at the major bonding types, for molecules admit a whole cascade of non-linear bonding interactions from covalent and ionic through the hydrophobic and hydrogen bond interactions that shape nucleic acid and protein structure, to the long-range cooperative weak polar and van der Waal interactions that together make the global cooperativity of enzyme action and cellular organelles including the excitable membrane possible. Symmetry-breaking has thus caused molecular matter to adopt a fractal structure, which ultimately becomes tissues and organisms on the planetary surface held together by the last force, gravity energized by the negentropic surfeit of incoming stellar radiation.
We owe to the unique twisted symmetry-breaking of the forces of nature the very capacity for molecular life and with it biological complexity and the tree of evolution to ramify. In effect biological complexity and with it the conscious brain becomes the ultimate cosmological interactive result of cosmic symmetry-breaking, the S at the cosmic equator, representing the fulfillment of both a and W, (p 298).
Chemistry is often portrayed in terms of ball and stick models as if only the particle properties of atoms are of significance in chemical bonding. Indeed the atomic nature of matter is one of the principle foundations for a reductionistic explanation of all living processes in terms of the simple actions of atoms as the “building blocks of the universe” as Isaac Asimov once put it. However wave-particle complementarity is at the very core of all chemical interactions. The periodic table of the elements has periodicity only because the wave properties of the electronic orbitals give rise to a series of s, p, d, and f orbitals of increasing spins of 0, 1, 2 etc. Thus the second row of the periodic table, after H and He, as illustrated below, consists of the second layer of one 2-s and three 2-p orbitals. Because electrons are fermions, they can only enter a given wave orbital in pairs of opposite spin, these four orbitals allow eight electrons in to complete the shell, corresponding to the eight elements in the second row, running through C, N and O - carbon, nitrogen and oxygen. In fact the energies of these orbitals equilibrate to form hybrid sp orbitals by wave superposition, resulting in the planar and tetradedral arrangements we find in molecules from water to diamonds.
Bifurcation and wave nature in chemical emergence (a) Bifurcation diagram of the periodic table shows how the key bioelements arise from primal quantum interactions resulting from cosmic symmetry-breaking. (b) Atomic, hybrid and molecular orbitals are wave functions determining molecular geometry. Below energy diagram of the non-linear charge interactions causing molecular orbital formation. (c) The hierarchical interactive structure of a molecule (LiH) illustrating how the colour, weak and electromagnetic forces combine to form a complex polarized structure (King R346, R355).
From here the process becomes highly non-linear. Electrons are capable of forming molecular wave orbitals such as s and p which orbit around more than one atom, often two, but sometimes in the case of conjugated single and double bonds, a whole ring. Because of non-linear charge interactions between the electrons and with the nucleus, which like gravitation obey an inverse square law in 3-D space, the lowest energy molecular orbital is lower in energy than either atomic orbital and the electron enters it binding the atoms together into a molecule such as H2. This is the basis of the covalent bond. The ionic bond arises from a similar lowering of energy by electron transfer from one atom to another, resulting in net attraction between the resulting positively and negatively charged ions, such as Na+ and Cl-
These non-linearities of charge interaction are also manifest in the ‘periodic’ table, which is not actually periodic, because charge interactions make the properties of corresponding elements in successive rows, such as those between oxygen and sulphur or between carbon and silicon, qualitatively very different. Chemists love to describe chemical bonding as a simple ball and stick arrangement that, given appropriate energetic reagents in an artificial ‘closed’ system, can ‘stick’ almost any pair of atoms together in any arrangement we wish. This is central to the mechanistic atomic view of chemistry and biology which forms the principal alternative to the sexually paradoxical quantum view we are describing here.
This reductionist picture begins to seriously unravel, however, when we consider what happens when we ask a very different kind of question - "What will happen if we simply let the chemical elements go in the kind of situation we find in the universe at large? - What structures will emerge in the free interaction of the elements under energetic stimulation?"
We can see a first part of this answer lies in a series of quantum bifurcations that arise from cosmic symmetry-breaking (King R346, R355). The backbone of life arises from the strongest covalent bonds of all among the elements, -CN -CC- and >C=O. Given the ubiquity of H this gives the interaction of the 1s orbital of H with the 2sp3 hybrid of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen primary status. Here we are using 'bifurcation' as a qualitative change in the interactive system caused ultimately by the underlying variables of cosmic symmetry-breaking. Despite suggested alternatives such as silicon-based life there is abundant evidence for this primary interaction being the central 'royal route' to living systems. Molecules containing chains of conjugated multiple C bonds have been detected in interstellar space. Clouds of cyanide HCN and formaldhyde HCHO have been discovered in the Orion nebula where new star and solar system formation is taking place and huge galactic gas clouds containing molecules such as the two-carbon sugar glycoaldehyde and the simplest amino acid, glycine. HCN and HCHO are also key energized intermediates in primal chemical simulations.
A second key interaction arises from the increasing electronegativity, as we move from C to O. Electronegative oxygen binds its electrons very tightly because of the larger number of positive protons in its nucleus for the same electron shell. Oxygen is actually more electronegative than corrosive chlorine. The C-H bond is covalently neutral while the N-H and O-H bonds are successively more polarized. Water H2O has the highest melting point of any hydride because of its very strong polar and ionic interactions. This is why oily hydrocarbons don't dissolve in highly polar water, effectively separating the entire biological milieu into two distinct polar and non-polar domains, typified by the division between the fatty lipid membrane and aqueous cytoplasm, the 'micelle' or oil-droplet structure of globular protein enzymes and the stacking of nucleic acids such and RNA and DNA in their double helices. Water also has one of the highest specific heats of any substance because of its many internal quantum modes and effectively forms the quantum substrate of all living molecules.
Global structures of t-RNA and proteins are mediated by cooperative long-range weak bonding,
in association with water structures (R389).
From here, the 'incompleteness' of the reductionistic description really begins to bite. A simple molecule like HCN, although it contains a mammoth triple bond is unstable to self-polymerization, because the triple bond's p orbitals are at a higher energy than the s orbitals and opening them up to form only single or alternate (conjugated) double bonds as in adenine and other molecules illustrated below reduces the energy. We thus find that HCHO and its sister molecules can polymerize to form a vast array of sugars and HCN can polymerize, particularly in association with ubiquitous simple molecules like urea (NH2)2 to form the purine and pyrimidine nucleic acid bases A, G, C and U, various amino acids and polypeptides and the porphyrins we associate with chlorophyll and hemoglobin. The nucleic acid base adenine for example is simply (HCN)5 and ribose is one of the forms of (HCHO)5.
So where does 'incompleteness' come in? Some of the key products, such as adenine are energetically favoured, but we have a serious chicken-egg problem for the burgeoning complexity - how can a few simple molecules with only a few initial conditions give rise to an increasingly complex array of polymers with immensely varied structure and sequence? How are they guided towards those molecules, like ribose and RNA, which are biologically central? We can invoke both autocatalytic processes and random 'stochastic' interactions, but the informational paradox remains a quantum version of Godel incompleteness (p 491).
Pathways in HCN polymerization lead to many key biochemicals (ex. Mizutani et. al. R458).
Guiding further steps in this process are more bifurcations arising from cosmic symmetry breaking involving divisions between the key metal ions, Na+, K+, Ca++, Mg++ based partly on their ionic radii in water, as well as unique properties contributed by sulphur's relatively low energy transition between -S-H and -S-S- and the capacity of phosphorus to form dehydrated polyphosphates central to nucleic acid structure and cellular energy. Transition elements such as iron and zinc add further catalytic properties, completing a five stage quantum interactive bifurcation structure at the centre of biochemistry that has its origin right back in the force differentiation occurring in the first minuscule fractions of a second at the cosmic origin.
An indication of the recursive nature of the origin of life problem is the fact that, despite meticulous research over the last century to unearth how life began, at a time when all the details of cellular molecular interactions, from the genetic code to the ion channels of neurons, have been decoded and laid bare, the actual ‘mechanics’ of the origin of life remain almost as obscure as when the first primitive spark experiments were performed over fifty years ago. Although we have found galactic clouds of organic molecules, and suspect life began on Earth as early as the oceans condensed to liquid water some 3.8 billion years ago, the actual technicalities of this supposedly reductionistic process remain speculative and contentious.
There are some key pointers linking the prebiotic phase to the living epoch. The polymerizations of virtually all biopolymers including proteins and nucleic acids involve a step of dehydration by removal of a paired -OH H- to form a linking bond. Although several molecules can perform this task, one stands out, polyphosphate because it is intimately involved in the key energy molecule adenosine triphosphate or ATP, which is itself a monomer ribonucleotide, the backbone of nucleic acids and many energy processes such as glycolysis which splits sugars. A very realistic scenario which could have led directly to ribonucleotides or their analogues is the alternate drying and wetting of a shoreline enriched with precursors such as nucleotide bases, ribose and phosphates. The difficulty here is figuring out how these molecules could be selectively enriched in a manner which would avoid other similar molecules such as other sugars gumming up the works.
RNA has proven to be a molecule of potentially cosmological status. ATP is simply the stablest penta-cyanide (HCN)5 (adenine) and a form of penta-formaldehyde (HCHO)5 (ribose) linked together by the dehydrating power of phosphate. Syntheses have also been found, e.g. from phospho-glyceraldehyde, a 3-carbon sugar, which lead selectively to ribose. But the details of getting a viable precursor 'brew' remain muddy.
Unlike DNA which is really a genetically-engineered form of RNA designed to form only double helical data libraries, RNA can form bonds between its backbone and its bases and can thus adopt three-dimensional conformations which are able to act as active catalysts. It is thus capable in principle of both fulfilling at least some of the catalytic functions now performed by proteins and of the complementary replication characteristic of DNA.
We now meet another manifestation of ‘incompleteness’. RNA is quite difficult to polymerize because it is at a higher free energy that its dissociated monomers. It has to be in unstable thermodynamic equilibrium like this or it would all polymerize once and for all, and there would be no such thing a s life, just a dead RNA crystal. So far no fully replicating spontaneous system has been devised, although RNAs attached to clays by bonding between their acid phosphate groups and the positively charged metal atoms in clay can generate short chains of up to 15 ribonucleotides. Some brilliant experimental studies on the artificial evolution of RNAs has demonstrated that simple ‘random’ populations of short RNA can selectively evolve to act as their own polymerases and to link amino-acids in similar was to the modern ribosomal which translates triplets of nucleotide information into protein amino-acid sequences.
On the other side of the life divide, there is abundant evidence that RNA has been a precursor to both DNA and coded protein enzymes. The eucaryotes which comprise higher organisms use extensive RNA processing within the nuclear envelope. Key structures involved in protein translation such as the ribosome are based on a core of ribosomal and transfer RNA and can function with many of the proteins removed. Retroviruses such as HIV encode RNA information back into DNA and enzymes such as telomerase essential for elongating the telomeres of chromosomes to keep the life cycle viable use enzymes with evolutionary homology to retroviral reverse transcriptases. Some nuclear processes, such as messenger RNA splicing are mediated by direct RNA catalysis.
The RNA world: (a) The structure of ATP shows polyphosphate attached to adenine and ribose themselves pentamers of HCN and HCHO. (b) Trans-acting ribozyme replicates key sequence and structure of the ribosome (Zhang and Cech R753, R754). (c) The first effective ribozyme RNA polymerase - a 172 unit molecule bred by molecular selection from a ligase ribozyme through selective evolution of a pool of other intermediates. This ribo-RNA polymerase will faithfully perform complementary replication of oligo-ribonucleotides of arbitrary sequence up to 14 units long with accuracies of up to 98% per base pair (Johnston et. al .R330). (d) Origins of the genetic code in bifurcation. Centre position AU select polar (green) /non-polar (yellow) as broad groups. VLIP are Val-Leu-Ileu-Phe. First position G (cyan) determines primally abundant amino acids. Expansion: first codon C (purple) and A (blue) fix synthesis routes from Glu and Asp Subsequent bifurcations include H-bonding block and acid-base (pink). Arginine and tryptophan appear to be later additions after the evolutionary epoch has begun, possibly being only 2 billion years old as later additions to the genetic code (Cohen R118, R119).
The predominant view is that DNA-based life was thus preceded by an RNA era, but there is still a great deal of debate as to whether RNA was the first informational molecule or whether there was a more robust predecessor such as peptide nucleic acid or even replicating structured clay defects or a primitive Fe-S metabolism.
At the core of all biological function is a fundamental complementarity which is a reflection of the wave-particle complementarity at the very core of the quantum universe - the complementarity between the particulate encoded information of genetic sequences in nucleic acids and the enclosing topology of the cell membrane essential to maintain a non-equilibrium open thermodynamic system, with its wave-based excitation. All life today depends on cells, with viruses acting only as cellular parasites, although the discovery of metabloic genes in a very large mimi-virus (Peplow R545, Raoult R517) reinforces speculation that the eucaryote nucleus could have arisen from a large virus which gained processing and regulatory power over the cellular genes. Primal processes can also generate lipid molecules which have both a polar watery end and a long hydrophobic fatty tail that spontaneously stack to form the bilayer membranous films we find in the membranes of living cells.
A living cell is an open thermodynamic system able to remain far from equilibrium because the enclosure of the membrane provides a distinct internal cyto-environment aided in living cells by active transport. Various models of cooperative affinities between molecules have been advanced to explain how one might arrive at a spontaneous cellular formation. Indeed simple mixtures of cyanide and related molecules can form microcells of a similar size of eucaryote spores as shown from my own work above. Various mechanisms have been suggested for binding RNA to membranes using various intermediates to ensure cellular reproduction. Out of this membranous envelope a series of other critical wave properties emerge - chaotic electrochemical excitation and the capacity for perception and ultimately cognition.
HCN microcells (left and centre) compared with psilocybe mushroom spores [right]. (King)
The emergence of the genetic code is also a process which displays strong indications of fundamental bifurcations in its genesis. As shown in the above figure (p 321) centre position A/U show selectivity for polar and non-polar amino acids. As well the most abundant amino acid glycine and alanine have specific affinity with first base G. Further divisions specify successive polar and other specializations to a four and eight member code and finally to the code we find today. Optimality arguments also can be applied to show the existing code is now close to the best possible.
There are several other biochemical aspects of cellular metabolism which are sourced in fundamental bifurcations of the chemical milieu, including the bilayer membrane, ion and electron transport, the carboxyllic acid cycle, phosphyrlation and the use of Fe-S centres. Many of the organisms at the root of the evolutionary tree of life tolerate high temperatures, suggesting life went through a high temperature phase, associated with volcanic hot pools, or hydrothermal vents. Connected with this environment are aspects of the cellular metabolism revolving around iron-sulphur Fe-S centres and reversible sulphur reactions with hydrogen which occur in volcanic processes. The electron transport process of respiration and photosynthesis in the membrane uses FeS proteins, some of which, such as ferredoxin, are very primitive, and sulphur respiration and photosynthesis occurs in a one-electron process which is a precursor of the two-electron oxygen photosynthesis. These processes are also associated with nucleotide coenzymes such as nicotene-adenine di-nucleotide NAD and the flavin nucleotides, suggesting that these redox (oxidation-reduction) reactions may have begun in the RNA era, using these nucleotides as co-factors. The hot era could have occurred however, well into the RNA era, epochs after the hypothetical cooler, drying shoreline made the first self-replicating 'genetic' RNA based on phosphate metabolism.
Excitable Membrane: (a)Primitive nucleotides appear to have preceded protein enzymes, as evidenced by nucloetide coenzymes. NAD structure permits linkage of other energies to a redox bifurcation. (b) H+ and e- transport linked by H2 in membrane due to insolubility of e- and solubility of H+. (c) Prebiotic link between catecholamines and indole via quinone-type photoreduction. (d) Hypothetical form of primitive electron transport as a non-equilibrium limit cycle. (e) Acetyl-choline and phosphatidyl choline compared. Phosphatidyl choline lipid stacks tail to tail as shown in the clothes pegs (b) (King).
This brings us to the geological evidence which from the Isua deposits in Greenland and in a few other ancient strata suggest evidence of life at around 3.5 to 3.8 billion years ago almost as soon as the oceans cooled to liquid water. This raises further questions. Was life already extant in the solar system. Did it originate in space or on Mars which may have coalesced sooner? Certainly the Earth has ben peppered with cometary and other material which would have given the Earth a rich source of prebiotic organics but many questions remain and few conclusive answers are yet forthcoming.
Evolutionary root of the tree of life and its diversification into archaea, bacteria and eucaryotes appears to have gone through an early period of cool temperature consistent with an RNA era, followed by a hot period (Anathaswamy R12, Boussau B, Blanquart S, Necsulea A, Lartillot N, Gouy M 2008 Parallel adaptations to high temperatures in the Archaean eon Nature 456 942-6).
The Living Epoch: Bifurcation, Complexity and the Prisoners' Dilemma
We are now into the living epoch and can turn our attention to the base of the evolutionary tree of life, where we find three great groups, the eucaryotes, the bacteria and the more recently recognized archaea which comprise various thermophilic and methanogenic organisms which are as closely related to higher organisms as they are to true bacteria.
The five kingdoms of plants, animals and fungi, protista and procaryotes, along with the archaea reflect major bifurcations of the thermodynamic and metabolic environment. There is a fundamental bifurcation of energy metabolism between photosynthetic fixation of incident solar energy, the principal incident energy source at the planetary surface, and all other forms of heterotrophic energy-pillaging budget, including animals as frank predators, fungi as partially symbiotic decomposers, and the highly energetic catalytic biochemical pathways of prokaryotes. The major divisions of life are thus universal in nature. Such universality also extends to the formation of excitable cells using amine-based neurotransmitters and ion channels. Some of these changes such as development of an oxygen metabolism are consequences themselves of an oxygen atmosphere induced by the biota themselves.
However, as we have noted in ‘The Inescapable Game of Life’, the tree of living diversity and all the niches it contains are ramifications of the prisoners’ dilemma game of survival, adaption and mutation. A game in which sruvival means continuing to play and the only coulmination is defeat in death or species extinction. In effect heterotrophic animals are defectors against the autotrophic photosynthetic strategy of plants, by consuming plants and other life forms as as predators. Likewise, the carnivores are defectors against the herbivores. Thus the very diversity of the tree of life is generated by the most complex prisoners’ dilemma game we know of in the universe - the biological giame of life. Moreover the chaotic population dynamics and genetic Red Queen races in which predators and prey and parasites and host interact are also manifestations of this ever increasing game of climax diversity. Niches are not just adapted to, but actively created in this process. As we have seen in the chaos chapter, evolution is described as a primary instance of complexity at the edge of chaos (p 506), and indeed in a climax ecosystem, many or all of the species are in a prisoners dilemma game in which species, niches and populations are in unstable relationship including chaotic fluctuation. The ‘balance of nature’ is thus a misnomer - it is the imbalance of nature which sustains living diversity, albeit precariously.
Cataclysmic events have also shaped the life tree. Five great mass extinctions have irreversibly shaped the diversity of life as we know it. The most recent is the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction caused by a massive asteroid hitting the Yucatan, also causing volcanic instability, a reduction in oxygen levels and the demise of the dinosaurs. An earlier more grave extinction of a similar kind occurred in the Permian era. The capacity of multi-celled organisms to diversify may be also a consequence of a period of almost global glaciation - the ‘snowball Earth’ scenario - shortly before the Ediacaran epoch that preceded the Cambrian, causing a bottleneck in the procaryote domination of the Earth and allowing multi-celled eucaryotes to diversify. There have likewise been several great radiations of life into new diversity, including the Cambrian radiation of the metaphyta and the mammalian radiation.
Mutation, Selection and the Quantum Limit
Two aspects of evolution, adventitious mutation and cumulative selection are contrasted. Left: Cantharanthus rosea makes the indole vincristine, unusual in structure and almost unique to the biological world. While this has been preserved through natural selection, it is an unusual molecule which appears to be the result of an initial fortuitous mutation. Right: By contrast, the development of the camera eye (Dawkins R149), is virtually inevitable by natural selection, because its formation results from a simple topological bifurcation of a photoreceptive hollow and the fact that directional photon reception is a core quantum interaction as fundamental as photosynthesis itself.
Evolution is traditionally regarded as an opportunistic drunkard's walk by occasional random mutation into a variety of rare advantageous configurations, which then become fixed by selective advantage as stunningly effective incremental historical accidents. The vast majority of mutations are deleterious and only a vanishing minority advantageous.
Evolution is thus partly a stochastic opportunistic process and partly an optimizing selective response to bifurcations in the natural, sexual and ecological landscape. The balance between the adventitious and the selectively optimized is a reflection of the deeper underlying process of quantum complementarity. In an interference experiment, the trajectories of individual photons are unpredictable through quantum uncertainty of position and momentum. The pattern of wave interference only becomes established statistically through the passage of many photons, which through their statistics of particle absorption by individual atoms demonstrate the wave amplitude variation of the interference pattern. This convergence to the probability interpretation is even more marginal in the complex macroscopic biological world than it is in the quantum world of small numbers of events.
Although their effects are large in macroscopic organisms, mutations themselves are unique kinetic events in the quantum world of molecules and molecular orbitals. Such highly specific mutational transformations are vastly rarer than the photons in a conventional interference experiment and tend to the uncertainty of a single unrepeated event which by its very fixation permanently changes the context which created it. This makes it possible for adventitious aspects of evolution to become enduring historical manifestations of the underlying nature of quantum uncertainty. Effectively adventitious mutations are single quantum events which become fixed and replicated by the genetic process. They thus never converge to the classical interpretation under the correspondence principle, becoming in effect a frozen series of cat paradox experiments piled one on top of the other.
Complementing this, selective advantage can and will over time, given sufficient mutations, explore any bifurcations or optimalities in the physical environment. Thus many of the marvels of evolution, such as the camera eye, are almost inevitable because of the capacity for bifurcational change, which incrementally enhances the immense optimality in survival of accessing the fundamental quantum mode of directional photon absorption, the most selective and discriminatory sense we have.
There is even a degree of paradox in the functioning of chaperone proteins such as heat shock protein hsp90 which inhbits protein folding instabilities and thus devlopmental changes which could precipitate phenotypic malformations in development but causes diverse potentially adaptive genetically-based phenotype changes when stress reduces the organism’s capacity to repress the backlog of hidden mutations (New Scientist 28 Sep 2002, Nature, 396 336, 417 398). A similar stress-adaptive role has been attributed to prions (True et. al .R683).
Left: Sequence of homeotic genes compared between insect and vertebrate, showing their common role in segmental organization (De Robertis et. al R154, .McGinnis et. al. R440), Top right: Knotted maize mutants have a mutation in a homeobox gene regulating differentiation. Similar homeobox genes have been found in tomatoes and rice (Homeobox Harvest Sci. Am. June 91). Lower right: Mammalian regulatory gene, pax6 elicits ectopic eyes on the leg of a fruit fly, showing the genes even have comparable action. (Dawkins R149).
A major quantum-leap of universality in the evolutionary realm is the ubiquitous use of homeotic genes for morphogenic organization of the multicellular organism, particularly the segmental organization from the head to the tail, common not only to all metazoa but to plants and fungi as well. The underlying mechanism of homeotic gene morphogenesis may represent a type of universal solution to developing body plans. The development of this system seems to be the key step enabling the emergence of multicelled organisms and their divergence into plants, animals and fungi, particularly in the Cambrian radiation. Although the homeobox sequence and the key proteins are too complex to be accounted for by a cosmological argument, the principles by which they evolved and the chemical morphogens may be an evolutionary universal. This is consistent with the long time from the first emergence of eucaryotes to metaphyta in the Ediacaran and Cambrian radiations about 600 million years ago. This long delay is indicative of there being only one, or a few effective solutions to this problem, giving it potential universality beyond our own metaphyta.
A second type of universality is manifest in the mammalian evolution to form an emotionally-based brain and cerebral cortex generalizing the less structured smell-brain to form a universal perceptual and cognitive organ.
The mammalian brain is functionally different from its reptilian predecessor. The elaboration of the cerebral cortex and limbic system has made possible a generalization of function which has replaced imprinted mechanisms of instinct with more generalized and flexible emotional and cognitive processes which permit complex social and strategic behavior in mammalian societies. These have had significant effects on the whole mammalian kingdom because they make for new subtleties which modify instinctual reactions supporting strict kin altruism with complex social reciprocal altruism, changing the face of the evolutionary game of survival.
Evolution of the mammalian brain showing development of the cortex
and relative reduction of the midbrain (redrawn from Keaton R339)
The architecture of the sensory cortices appears likewise in evolutionary terms to be an elaboration of a new and more generalized embryogenic scheme which can represent the dynamics of all of the quantum sense modes within the same general scheme. The generality of these neuro-embryogenic ‘algorithms’ is also attested to by the plasticity of the cortex in terms of the evolving function of particular areas over time after injury or learning a new skill. The result is a brain converging to the quantum and cognitive limit, both sensorily sensitive in each of the principal quantum modes of interaction and possessing generalized sensory processing capabilities arising from edge of chaotic dynamics and quantum electro-physiology, thus representing a universal and in this sense cosmological solution generated by evolution to the existential dilemma.
Tree of Life (King).