CARTA Glossary

Displaying 301 - 400 of 577 defined words
Word Definition Related Vocabulary
Lactobacillus iners

A common genus of beneficial Lactobacillus bacteria that normally inhabits the lower reproductive system and vagina of healthy women.

Language (Human)

A structured system of communication that is generative (combine words/symbols to convey an infinite number of ideas), recursive (builds upon itself without limit), and has displaced reference (describe things not present).

Late Bloomers

Individuals from high-risk backgrounds who begin to manifest resilience later in adolescence or adulthood following a period of maladjustment or problems.

Levallois Technique (prepared core)

A method of creating stone tools by first striking flakes off the stone, or core, along the edges to create the prepared core and then striking the prepared core in such a way that the intended tool is flaked off with all of its edges pre-sharpened.

Life History

The schedule of life, including birth to sexual maturity, duration of the reproductive period, duration of the post-reproductive period (if there is one), and mortality rate at each stage.

Limbic System (Brain)

Structures of the brain that deal with emotions and memory.

Limited Bedding and Nesting

A paradigm used in the laboratory to model scarcity of resources. Mothers (rats/mice) are not given enough nesting materials to build a nest for their infants and neglect/maltreatment occurs as a result.

Linkage Disequilibrium

Non-random inheritance of alleles at different loci (due to low recombination).

Lipid

One of the four classes of major biomolecules. A fatty or waxy organic compound involved in important cellular activities like storing energy, as a component of the cell membrane, and signaling within and between other cells.

Locus (pl. Loci)

A unique physical position on a chromosome.

Lomekwian Technology

The oldest known stone tools consisting of 150 artifacts found in Lomekwi, Kenya, close to Lake Turkana. ~3.3 mya.

Longevity

Typical length of life.

Lower Paleolithic

The first subdivision of the Paleolithic, or Stone Age. ~3.4 mya- 300 ky.

Macronutrient

A substance required in relatively large amounts by living organisms: Fats, proteins, carbohydrates in an animal diet or chemical elements such as potassium, magnesium, calcium as required by plants.

Maintenance and Defense

An organism’s way of maintaining its body and physiological homeostasis while also defending against parasites, pathogens, and internal crises (e.g. cancer).

Maladaptation

A genotypic or phenotypic trait that is (or has become) more harmful than helpful in determining survival and reproductive success (in contrast to an adaptation, which is more helpful than harmful).

Malaria

An infectious disease that affects humans and other animals and caused by single-celled organisms belonging to genus Plasmodium and transmitted by mosquitos (commonly female Anopheles mosquitos). Initial symptoms are flu-
like and may include headache, fever, shivering, joint pain, vomiting, anemia, jaundice, hemoglobin in the urine, retinal damage, and convulsions. The classic symptom of malaria is a cyclical occurrence of sudden coldness and shivering and then fever and sweating. The disease is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions of the equator. In 2018, there were 228 million cases of malaria worldwide resulting in an estimated 405,000 deaths. The high levels of mortality caused by malaria has repeatedly placed selective pressure on the human genome, resulting in several genetic factors (including Sickle Cell Trait) that mediate its effect to some degree.

Marrow

The soft fatty substance in the cavities of bones that produces red and white blood cells and platelets.

Maternal Separation

An experimental paradigm in which the experimenter separates a mother rat or mouse from her offspring for some period of time (minutes to hours) to study the effects of maternal deprivation on offspring development.

Mating Effort

The sex with the higher potential rate of reproduction invests more in mating effort than in parental effort. Greater mating effort is associated with faster life history strategy.

Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin (mTOR)

A protein kinase, which in humans is encoded by the MTOR gene.

Medial Preoptic Area (MPOA)

A region of the brain located in the anterior part of the hypothalamus that critically regulates care giving behavior.

Medium Spiny Neurons

A special type of GABAergic inhibitory cell representing 95% of neurons within the human striatum, a basal ganglia structure.

Melanin

For most organisms, it is the pigment in skin and hair, but is also found in the iris of the eye, the inner ear, and some parts of the brain. Melanin is produced as three basic types: eumelanin, pheomelanin, and neuromelanin. The melanin in the skin is produced by melanocytes, which exist across human populations in similar concentration in their skin. However, the melanocytes in some populations produce variable amounts of melanin. This variation is likely due to the melanin’s property to absorb and dissipate UV radiation, protecting skin from harmful damage. UV exposure is associated with increased risk of malignant melanoma, a cancer of melanocytes.

Memory

The faculty by which the mind stores and remembers information.

Meningococcus (Neisseria meningitidis)

A bacterium that can cause meningitis and meningococcemia, a life-threatening infection in the bloodstream (sepsis).

Microbiome

The totality of all organisms (microbes) that live on and in the body.

Microlithic (Mode 5)

A stone tool type consisting of small blades or points, called microliths, that were typically used in composite tools, such as an arrow point fastened to a haft. ~35 - 3 kya.

Micronutrients

A chemical element or substance required in trace amounts for the normal growth and development of living organisms that the organism cannot synthesize itself. 

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS

A contagious and sometimes fatal viral respiratory sickness that can produce severe symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath and in some cases death. The MERS virus originated in bats and was first reported affecting other species, camels and humans, in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Since then, it has been identified in many other countries, including the United States.
 

Middle Paleolithic

The second subdivision of the Paleolithic, or Stone Age and consist of use of prepared cores (Levallois Technique) and hafted tools and weapons. ~300 kya -30 kya.

Middle Pleistocene

A period of geological time (781-126,000 years ago). An important time for the diversification of hominins, including the emergence of Neanderthals and Homo sapiens.

Mind

The element of an individual that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought. 

Mind Over Reality Transition (MORT)

A proposed singular phase in hominid evolution in which maladaptive mortality salience and death anxiety were triggered by acquiring the capacity for Extended Theory of Mind, but were (in this one instance) tolerated by the simultaneous acquisition of Reality Denial in the same minds - allowing gene culture-evolution to fix both capacities in the resulting hominin lineage, at the neurobiological and genetic level.

Mircofossils

Fossils or fossil fragments of bacteria, protists, fungi, animals, and plants (e.g.: starch granules) that can only be seen with a microscope.

miRNA

Short non-coding regulatory microRNA

Mitochondrial DNA

Maternally inherited DNA found only in the mitochondria, the energy producing organelles of eukaryotic cells. Mitochondria are thought to descend from symbiotic bacteria that have become part of eukaryotic cells.

Molecular Mimicry

The phenomenon whereby one organism produces molecules that are identical or very similar to those of another organism (such as its host). Parasites and pathogens repeatedly evolve molecular mimicry for host manipulation and immune evasion.

Morbidity

The rate of disease in a population (as opposed to mortality, which is death rate).

Morphology (Biology)

Shape or form (outward appearance) of an organism. The branch of biology interested in the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features.

Morphology (Linguistics)

The sub-discipline of linguistics concerned with the structure and parts of words (stems, root words, prefixes, and suffixes), how words are formed, and their relationship to other words in the same language. Parts of speech, intonation and stress, and contextual pronunciation and meaning are aspects of Morphology.

Mortality Salience

Conscious understanding and realization of personal mortality.

Motor Cortex

The part of the cerebral cortex in the brain where the nerve impulses originate that initiate voluntary muscular activity.

Mousterian (Mode 3)

A stone tool type characterized by hand- axes, scrapers, triangle points, and denticulates (a stone tool with edges of multiple notched shapes, or teeth) produced using a prepared core (i.e. Levallois Technique) and is most associated with Neanderthals. ~315 - 30 kya.

Mucus

A slimy or gooey substance (hydrated bio-gel) produced by mucous membranes and glands for to lubricate or protect the body. The substance we refer to as “snot” or “boogers” are the mucus inside your nose that traps dirt and germs before they can enter further into your body and do you harm. Sneezing expels these invaders from your body but also propels them out towards other unsuspecting victims.

Muscular Dystrophy

A group of genetic diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass.

Music

An auditory form of art composed of pitch (melody and harmony), rhythm (tempo, meter, articulation), dynamics (loudness/softness), timbre and texture.

Musicality (in humans)

A natural, spontaneously developing sensitivity to, knowledge of, or talent for music based on and constrained by our biological and cognitive system, which is then culturally informed and reinforced.

Mutation

Change in a DNA or RNA sequence.

MYA

Million years ago.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis

The pathogenic bacteria that causes tuberculosis.

Myelin Sheaths

Sleeves of fatty tissue (wrapped cell membrane) that protect nerve cells.

Neanderthals

An extinct Eurasian hominin species that existed from 500-30 kya and interbred with ancient humans and Denisovans.

Neglect

The failure to provide for the development of the child in all spheres: health, education, emotional development, nutrition, shelter, and safe living conditions (including protecting the child from harm). It is the most common form of child maltreatment. In rodents, neglect it is similarly defined as inconsistent care, failure to group displaced infants in the nest, infant avoidance and failure to protect infants from harm or potential harm.

Neocortex

A part of the cerebral cortex concerned with sight, hearing, and touch in mammals, regarded as the most recently evolved part of the cortex.

Nerve A bundle of fibers that transmits impulses of sensation to the brain or spinal cord, and impulses from these to the muscles and organs.
Nervous System

The network of nerve cells and fibers that transmits nerve impulses between parts of the body.

Neural circuit

A neural circuit is a functional entity of interconnected neurons that is able to regulate its own activity using a feedback loop.

Neural Progenitor Cell

Cells that are capable of dividing a limited number of times and have the capacity to differentiate into a restricted repertoire of neuronal and glial cell types.

Neural Stem Cell A self-renewing, multipotent cell that generates the neurons and glia of the nervous system of all animals during embryonic development. Some persist in the adult vertebrate brain and continue to produce neurons throughout life.
Neurobiology

The study of the morphology, behavior, and other qualities of the nervous system.

Neurogenetics

The study of the role of genetics in the development and function of the nervous system.

Neurological

Relating to the anatomy, functions, and organic disorders of nerves and the nervous system.

Neuromodulators

A subset of neurotransmitters that regulate diverse populations of other neurons.

Neuron

A specialized cell that transmits nerve impulses.

Neuropsychology

The study of the relationship between behavior, emotion, and cognition and brain function.

Neurostransmitter

A type of chemical messenger that transmits signals across a chemical synapse, such as a neuromuscular junction, from one neuron (nerve cell) to another “target” neuron, muscle cell, or gland cell.

Neurotypical

Not displaying or characterized by autistic or other neurologically atypical patterns of thought or behavior.

Never

A bundle of fibers that transmits impulses of sensation to the brain or spinal cord, and impulses from these to the muscles and organs.

Non-Hormonal Basis of Maternal Care

The finding that care giving behavior can occur in female rats and mice that have not reproduced themselves through repeated exposure to infants.

Non-Invasive Neuroimaging

The use of various techniques, such as Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, to image the structure, function, or pharmacology of the nervous system.

Novel (Disease)

A new strain of a disease that has not been previously identified in a species. (See de Novo)

Nuclear Pore Complex Protein and ribonucleoprotein transport channels in the nuclear envelop of eukaryotic cells. Evolved ~ 1.5 billion years ago. While the primary role of NPCs is to regulate nucleo–cytoplasmic transport, recent research suggests that certain NPC proteins have additionally acquired the role of affecting gene expression at the nuclear periphery and in the nucleoplasm in metazoans.
Nucleic Acids

One of the four classes of major biomolecules. The overall name for DNA and RNA, which are composed of nucleotides.

Nucleoporin 98 (Nup98) A protein coding gene that plays a role in the nuclear pore complex assembly and/or maintenance. Associated diseases range from Myelodysplastic Syndrome and Acute Monocytic Leukemia.
Nucleotides

Molecular building blocks for DNA and RNA Specifically, they consist of three components: a 5-carbon sugar, a phosphate group, and a nitrogenous base. The type of sugar, either deoxyribose or ribose, determines if the resulting nucleic acid is DNA or RNA.

Obesity

Excessive body fat that increases the risk of health problems. Defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher.

Obligate Tool User

Tool use is a necessity for survival. Tool use is an essential part of being human and we are the only known obligate tool users.

Obstetric Dilema

A biological constraint of bipedalism and large fetal brains imposed on the human female pelvis.

Odds Ratio (in GWAS)

The ratio between the odds of individuals having a phenotype associated with a specific allele and the odds of the same phenotype for individuals who do not have that same allele. 

Oldowan (Mode 1)

A stone tool type characterized by simple “choppers” for pounding, breaking, and bashing. ~2.6 - 1.7 mya.

Olfactory Bulb (Brain)

A neural structure of the vertebrate forebrain involved in sense of smell.

Oligodendrocytes (Brain)

A type of neuroglia that supports and insulates axons in the central nervous system of some vertebrates.

Omnivore

An organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet of plant, animal, and fungal origin.

Ontogeny

The origin and development of an organism (from fertilization of the egg to the organism’s mature form). Can also refer to the study of an organism’s lifespan.

Optimism Bias

An almost universally human cognitive bias that seems to cause individuals to believe that they are at less risk of experiencing a negative event and more likely to experience a positive outcome compared to other people.

Optogenetic

A biological technique that involves the use of light to control gene expression and cellular function in living tissue, typically neurons, that have been genetically modified to express light-sensitive ion channels.

Organoid Cell/tissue culture in vitro that aims to mimic organ structure and function.
Out of Africa

A hypothesis proposing the geographic origins of the genus Homo in Africa and migration of anatomically modern humans. These anatomically modern humans would have completely replaced the archaic human populations (Neanderthals, Denisovans, etc.) that had previously left Africa. This hypothesis emphasizes the African origin of our species but allows for the possibility of minor local contributions from archaic populations.

Outer Radial Glia Found in the outer subventricular zone of the neocortex, outer radial glia preferentially express genes related to extracellular matrix formation, migration, and stemness.
Outer Subventricular Zone A uniquely structured germinal zone that generates the expanded primate supragranular layers.
Pair bonding

Forming a close relationship with another individual through courtship and sexual activity.

Paleolithic

A broad prehistoric period during which stone was used to make tools and weapons and is synonymous with Stone Age. Subdivisions:

  • Lower Paleolithic: ~3.4 mya - 300 kya.
  • Middle Paleolithic: Consists of use of prepared cores (i.e. Levallois Technique) and hafted tools and weapons. ~300 - 30 kya.
  • Upper Paleolithic: Coincides with behavioral modernity and predates the advent of agriculture. Artifacts include finely crafted stone blades and bone and antler tools, such as harpoons and needles. ~50 - 10 kya.
Pandemic

An epidemic that has spread across regions, including multiple continents or worldwide.

Paranthropus

A genus of extinct bipedal hominins dating to ~ 2.6 mya to 1.1 mya that lived throughout eastern and south Africa. Their robust cranialdental anatomy suggests an adaptation to a diet of tough vegetation. Possible tool use is indicated by hands adapted for precision grasping. They probably descended from the gracile australopithecine hominids (Australopithecus) ~2.7 million years ago, hence their alternative name, robust australopithecine, and ongoing debate on genus.

Parasite

An organism that lives on or in a host organism at the expense of the host.

Parasitism (Biology)

A close relationship between two organisms where one benefits at the expense of the other.

Parental Behavior

Any behavior of a member of a species toward an immature conspecific that increases the likelihood that the immature organism will survive to maturity.

Parental Effort

The sex with the lower rate of reproduction invests more in parental effort than in mating effort.

Parental Investment

The investment of resources (time, energy, provisions) into offspring.

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