Evolved development of olfactory systems

Mutual influences between the main olfactory and vomeronasal systems in development and evolution Rodrigo Suárez, Diego García-González, and Fernando de Castro Published on 24 December 2012 Frontiers in Neuroanatomy

excerpt 1) “…the MOS and VNS play synergistic roles in the regulation of a range of olfactory-guided behaviors, from foraging and defensive contexts to reproductive and social interactions, and show overlap in some of their central projections.”

excerpt 2) “… the structure and function of these systems, as we observe today in extant mammals, are the result of mutual interactions under changing ecological scenarios, which can be traced back to their origins in the evolution of vertebrates.”

excerpt 3) “…olfaction in birds participates in recognition of gender (Balthazart and Taziaux, 2009) and individual identity of conspecifics (Coffin et al., 2011), as well as in foraging (Mardon et al., 2010) and navigation behavior (Gagliardo et al., 2011).”

My comment: The idea that we are more like birds than mammals continues to represent the most inaccurate approach to the study of adaptively evolved human behavior that I can imagine. It is, however, the view largely promoted — especially among participants in the human ethology yahoo group.  The ISHE group’s moderator, Jay R. Feierman likes to divorce structure and function, which obscures or obfuscates what has become neuroscientifically established in the decades after early ethologists first began to ignore the role of olfaction in birds. Feierman continue to ignore my posts to the ISHE group.

For example of  content being ignored, see below:
“Shepherd (2006) has summarized recent olfactory/pheromonal research findings and clarified concerns with regards to an ongoing debate about the presence or absence of a functional human vomeronasal organ (VNO).  Both the main olfactory pathway and VNO-enabled accessory olfactory pathway process pheromones, so there is no need for a human VNO.  Further, he stated that “We have much more to learn about how intimately neuroendocrine functions, controlled by pheromones, acting through our noses, interact with other operations within the brain to control human behaviour and cognition (p. 151).”  Terms like “odor cues governing behaviour” (Choosing the perfect mate, 1993) or neuroendocrine functions “controlled by pheromones” that may “control human behaviour and cognition” (Shepherd, 2006), when referring to the role of olfactory/pheromonal sensory input in human behavior and cognition, represent a paradigm shift with regard to the likely influence of human chemical communication on sexual preferences and sexual behavior.  Clearly, olfactory/pheromonal input is intimately involved in human behavior.” — This is an excerpt from an open access article published 6 years ago:  Kohl (2006).

As other have begun to recognize the role of olfactory/pheromonal input in foraging and defensive contexts and in reproductive and social interactions, I can only wonder how much longer it will be until the “bird watchers” realize that the molecular mechanisms of how olfactory/pheromonal input epigenetically effects adaptively evolved behaviors are the same in species from microbes to man, and species of birds are included.


About James V. Kohl 1307 Articles
James Vaughn Kohl was the first to accurately conceptualize human pheromones, and began presenting his findings to the scientific community in 1992. He continues to present to, and publish for, diverse scientific and lay audiences, while constantly monitoring the scientific presses for new information that is relevant to the development of his initial and ongoing conceptualization of human pheromones. Recently, Kohl integrated scientific evidence that pinpoints the evolved neurophysiological mechanism that links olfactory/pheromonal input to genes in hormone-secreting cells of tissue in a specific area of the brain that is primarily involved in the sensory integration of olfactory and visual input, and in the development of human sexual preferences. His award-winning 2007 article/book chapter on multisensory integration: The Mind’s Eyes: Human pheromones, neuroscience, and male sexual preferences followed an award winning 2001 publication: Human pheromones: integrating neuroendocrinology and ethology, which was coauthored by disinguished researchers from Vienna. Rarely do researchers win awards in multiple disciplines, but Kohl’s 2001 award was for neuroscience, and his 2007 “Reiss Theory” award was for social science. Kohl has worked as a medical laboratory scientist since 1974, and he has devoted more than twenty-five years to researching the relationship between the sense of smell and the development of human sexual preferences. Unlike many researchers who work with non-human subjects, medical laboratory scientists use the latest technology from many scientific disciplines to perform a variety of specialized diagnostic medical testing on people. James V. Kohl is certified with: * American Society for Clinical Pathology * American Medical Technologists James V. Kohl is a member of: * Society for Neuroscience * Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology * Association for Chemoreception Sciences * Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality * International Society for Human Ethology * American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science * Mensa, the international high IQ society