CARTA Glossary

Displaying 601 - 650 of 650 defined words
Word Definition Related Vocabulary
T-maze Test

A parental challenge test. The apparatus is a T-shaped Plexiglas structure that is used to measure whether female rats or mice are willing to protect their infants from potential harm. The maze is novel (new) and therefore fear-inducing to neophobic rodents. Rodents that fail to group pups in the nest within 15 minutes are considered neglectful.

Temporal Lobe (Brain)

One of the four major lobes of the cerebral cortex in the brain of mammals. The temporal lobe is located beneath the lateral fissure on both cerebral hemispheres of the mammalian brain.

Terror Management Theory

A concept in social psychology that proposes the existence of a basic psychological conflict that results from having a desire to live but realizing death is inevitable.

Theory of Mind (ToM)

The ability to attribute mental beliefs, desires, intentions, and perspectives, etc., to oneself and to others, and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, intentions, and perspectives that are similar or different from one’s own. Related/Overlapping Terms: “Intentionality,” Attribution of Mental States,” “Inter-subjectivity,” “Mind- Reading,” “Perspective taking,” “Other-regarding Impulses,” etc.

Tinbergen's Four Questions

Nikolaas Tinbergen’s 1962 paper “On aims and methods of Ethology,” defined complementary categories for analyzing and explaining animal behavior as proximate (developmental: both ontogenic and mechanistic) and ultimate (evolutionary: both phylogenetic and adaptive).

  • Proximate/Ontogeny: How does the trait develop in individuals?
  • Proximate/Mechanism: How does the trait work?
  • Ultimate/Phylogeny: What is the trait’s evolutionary history?
  • Ultimate/Adaptation: Why does the trait perform better than evolvable alternatives?
Togavirus (Togaviridae)

The viral family comprising two genera, Alphavirus and Rubivirus. All togaviruses that are either animal pathogens or zoonoses belong to the Alphavirus genus. Humans can contract togaviruses via vectored transmission from domestic livestock.


The first step in gene expression during which the nucleotide sequence of DNA is transcribed into an RNA molecule that can ultimately be translated into protein.

Transcription Factor Proteins

A protein that alters gene expression by binding directly or indirectly to DNA

Transcription Factors

Proteins that bind to specific sequences of DNA called regulatory elements, or other proteins that do so, and directly or indirectly affect the initiation of transcription. The activities of transcription factors determine where and when genes are expressed.

Transcriptional Memory

The idea that following repeated stimulus-induced activation, genes become poised or primed to respond to that stimulus.


The process by which RNA sequences are translated to amino acid sequences during protein synthesis.

Transmissible (Disease)

Illnesses that are transmitted from one host to another though direct or indirect contact, via a vector or contaminated food and water. Synonymous with communicable and infectious.

Transposable elements (TE)

Sequences that replicate in a genome by inserting copies of themselves at other loci (a type of “molecular parasite”).

Turnaround Cases

Individuals who show a striking change in direction of the life course; In resilience science, a pathway indicating dramatic improvement in adjustment.

Type 2 Diabetes (Adult On-Set)

A chronic metabolic disorder that affects the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose). It is characterized by high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and relative lack of insulin and primarily occurs as a result of obesity and lack of exercise.

Typhoid fever

A bacterial infection affecting only humans caused by Salmonella typhi. Symptoms include a gradual onset of a high fever, which is commonly accompanied by weakness, abdominal pain, constipation, headaches, and mild vomiting. Typhoid is spread by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person.


Any typically herbivorous and hoofed mammal belonging to a diverse group that includes both perissodactyls (odd-toed ungulates including horses and rhinos) and artiodactyls (even-toed ungulates including cattle, pigs, giraffes, camels, deer, hippos). Recent discoveries indicate cetaceans evolved from early artiodactyls.


Species in which a single parent rears offspring. Over 95% of mammalian species are uniparental with the mother providing sole care.

Upper Paleolithic

The third subdivision of the Paleolithic, or Stone Age, and coincides with behavorial modernity and predates the advent of agriculture. Artefacts include finely crafted stone blades and bone and antler tools, such as harpoons and needles. ~50 kya - 10 kya


A biological preparation containing an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism, often a weakened or killed form of the microbe, its toxins, or one of its surface glycoproteins combined with an adjuvant (such as alum, an aluminum salt) which contributes to the immune response. Vaccines act by stimulating the body’s immune system to recognize the agent as a threat, to destroy it, and to recognize it in the future, providing an acquired immunity to that infectious disease. (Synonym: immunization).

Vaginal Microbiome

The totality of all organisms (microbes) that colonize the vagina.


DNA that differs among groups studied.

Variation (Biology)

The differences among the individual of the same species.

Vasopressin (antidiuretic hormone)

A hormone synthesized in the hypothalamus and then transported to the blood to regulate extracellular fluid volume in the blood vessels and kidneys. It also plays a role in vasoconstriction. Vasopressin and oxytocin evolved from a single primordial neurohypophyseal hormone called vasotocin, which is present in lower vertebrates. Vasopressin, oxytocin, and their receptors are involved in regulating mating systems in several mammals.


DNA molecule used to direct the replication of a cloned DNA fragment (“insert”) in a host cell.

Vector (Epidemiology)

Any agent which carries and transmits an infectious pathogen to another living organism. Most agents that act as vectors are living organisms.

Ventricular Zone A transient embryonic layer of tissue containing neural stem cells, principally radial glial cells, of the central nervous system of vertebrates.
Viral (Biology)

Of or relating to viruses. (see Virus)


The degree of damage caused by a pathogen or microbe to its host.


A submicroscopic infectious agent that relies on a living host cell for metabolic processes and replication. Like living organisms, viruses possess genes and evolve by natural selection. Unlike living organisms, viruses lack cellular structure, do not have their own metabolism, instead relying on a living host cell for production of materials, and replication through self-assembly inside a host cell.


Individual or system susceptibility or sensitivity specific to harmful consequences from threats or disturbances; moderator of adversity or risk that results in higher than typical negative effects.


People belonging to societies that are Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, Democratic, as originally proposed by CARTA member, Joseph Henrich.

West Nile Fever

An infection by the West Nile virus, which is typically spread by mosquitoes. Symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, or a rash. In rare cases, encephalitis (swelling of the brain) or meningitis occurs, with associated neck stiffness, confusion, or seizures.

West Nile Virus (WNV)

A RNA virus that causes West Nile Fever and is a from the genus Flavivirus, which also contains the Zika Virus, Dengue Virus, and Yellow Fever Virus. WNV is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes with birds as the primary hosts.

White Blood Cell (WBC)

The cells of the immune system that are involved in protecting the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders. WBCs are also called leukocytes.

White Matter (Brain)

Areas of the central nervous system that affects learning and brain functions, modulating the distribution of action potentials, and acting as a relay and coordinating communication between different brain regions. White matter development peaks in middle age in humans.

Wild Boy of Aveyron

A French feral child who was captured in 1800 at the estimated age of twelve. A young physician, Jean Marc Gaspard Itard, worked with the boy for five years and gave him his name, Victor. Itard was interested in determining what Victor could learn and devised procedures to teach words and recorded his progress. Based on his work with Victor, Itard broke new ground in the education of the developmentally delayed. Victor is estimated to have been born around 1788 and Itard reported he was a normal child at birth but later he was neglected by his alcoholic parents at an early age, and he left to the wild. Recent commentary by Uta Frith, a German developmental psychologist at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, postulates that Victor displayed signs of autism.

Williams Syndrome

A genetic condition characterized by medical problems, including cardiovascular disease, developmental delays, and learning challenges.  These often occur side by side with striking verbal abilities, highly social personalities and an affinity for music.  1 in 10,000 people worldwide are affected and occurs equally in males and females and in every culture. Children with Williams syndrome tend to be social, friendly and endearing.

Wolf-Girls of India

Amala (1918-21) and Kamala (1912-1929) were two feral girls from Bengal, India, who were alleged to have been raised by a wolf family. There is much controversy to the veracity of the girls’ wolf story.

Working Memory

The part of short-term memory that is concerned with immediate conscious perceptual and linguistic processing.  It is also important for reasoning and the guidance of decision-making and behavior.

Y-chromosome DNA

In mammals, paternally inherited DNA. The Y-chromosome is one of two sex chromosomes (allosomes), and is the sex-determining chromosome. It is one of the fastest-evolving parts of the human genome.

Yellow Fever

A viral disease caused by Yellow Fever Virus and spread by female Aedes mosquitos. Typically, short in duration, symptoms include fever, chills, loss of appetite, nausea, muscle pains particularly in the back, and headaches. In some cases, a relapse of Yellow Fever will occur, causing abdominal pain and liver damage that results in yellow skin (see Jaundice).

Yellow Fever Virus

An RNA virus of the genus Flavivirus that causes Yellow fever and is spread by the bite of an infected female mosquito, primarily by female Aedes mosquitos. Origin: Africa.

Yersinia pestis

The gram-negative bacterium that causes the plague, which takes three main forms: pneumonic, septicemic and bubonic.

Zika Fever (Zika Virus Disease; Zika)

An infectious disease caused by the Zika virus. Symptoms resemble Dengue Fever and may include fever, red eyes, joint pain, headache, and a maculopapular rash but are typically mild. While Zika Fever is mainly spread via mosquitos, it can also be sexually transmitted and potentially spread by blood transfusions. Infections in pregnant women can spread to the baby which may cause microcephaly and other brain malformations. Infections in adults have been linked to Guillain–Barré Syndrome (GBS).

Zika Virus

An RNA virus of the genus Flavivirus that causes Zika Fever and is spread by Aedes mosquitos. It was first identified in 1947 in the Zika Forest of Uganda, from which it was named. Zika virus is related to the Dengue, Yellow Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, and West Nile Viruses. Traditionally, Zika virus occurred within a narrow equatorial belt from Africa to Asia but spread to the Americas causing the 2015–2016 Zika virus epidemic. Origin: Africa.


A species-spanning approach to medicine that recognizes that animals and humans get many of the same diseases, yet physicians and veterinarians rarely consult one another.


A disease which can be transmitted to humans from animals.

“Non-typhoidal” Salmonella

A serovar of Salmonella and the causative pathogen of salmonellosis. “Non-typhoidal” Salmonella can be transferred from animals to humans and humans to humans.

“Typhoidal” Salmonella

A serovar of Salmonella and the causative pathogen of Typhoid Fever.