Biology: Brain Physiology (Essay Sample)
describe and justify one adaptation to the nervous system that
an organism would require to inhabit Proxima c. This analysis should include the following:
• Description of the physiology of the human nervous system (using your textbook as a
primary information source).
• An explanation of how the environment of Proxima c may affect the functioning of the
human nervous system.
• Propose an adaptation to the human nervous system the Proxima c humanoid would
have to compensate for the environment.
Evolution of the Nervous System: Brain Physiology
Evolution of the Nervous System: Brain Physiology
The architecture of the human body physiology, in my opinion, is the most spectacular display of ingenuity. In a nutshell, the nervous system’s functionality controls the ability to receive sensory input based on ever-changing external and internal stimuli. Afterward, the nervous system integrates the information to facilitate immediate response. The response could be controlling glands and muscles as the nervous system enables all movement by seizing skeletal muscles. All things considered, the nervous system maintains homeostasis since it instills cohesiveness of the trillions of cells that cannot function independently. Also, the nervous system establishes and maintains mental activity (VanPutte et al., 2019).
Basics of the Nervous System
The nervous system strictly comprises the central nervous system; the spinal cord, and the brain. Secondly, the peripheral nervous system comprises nerves extending from the spinal cord into all body parts. Signals are transmitted from the brain through this intricate structure (Shriver, 2018). The primary nervous system unit is the nerve cell, or rather, neuron. The neurons have extensions called axons and dendrites. A group of axons is called nerves located within the entire body. Consequently, dendrites and axons facilitate neuron communication regardless of proximity. Interestingly, different neurons perform varying functions (VanPutte et al., 2019). Some neurons control involuntary activities in response to stimuli so that the body can achieve “comfort.” Within this seamless communication, electrical signals are converted to chemical signals and vice versa (Shriver, 2018).
Implications of Proxima C’s Environment to the Nervous System
As resilient as the human body may be, courtesy of the nervous system, it is a pretty sensitive structure and therefore susceptible to adverse stimuli change. On that antagonistic stimulus note, Proxima Centauri offers an environment that would yield catastrophic effects on the normal human functioning at physical, mental, and biological levels. Due to the exoplanet's incredibly high solar winds and 400 times more radiation, the only way for the human body to survive would be underground. However, underground conditions are not any rosier as temperatures are well below forty degrees Celsius (Lang, 2011).
Obviously, the most arduous physiological task would be maintaining body temperature. Concerning the nervous system, Proxima C would prompt individual change by long-term changes in synaptic modification and rewiring the neural circuits. The brain, in particular, would play a crucial role in humanoid survival on Proxima C, so its evolution is a necessity. Since "individualization" ultimately leads to genetic evolution, the brain is propounded as the pivotal point for humanoid genetic evolution. Afterward, the evolved genetics transiently allow extreme variations to take place. Indeed, the neuronal shape and physiology prompt changes in the dynamic genome and chromosomal zones vulnerable to encoding especially human traits like physical endurance and cognition. Hypothetically, these neural stem cell-induced abnormalities (evolution) have been linked to human brain enlargement (Pochiantz, 2022).
Nervous System Adaptation to Proxima C’s Environment
As aforementioned, the brain plays a critical part in the nervous system's evolution to an adverse milieu. Therefore, the physiology of the brain should adapt to the harsh Proxima C environment. Indeed, maintaining underground life at severe temperatures of -40 degrees Celsius would require the brain first off to evolve its thermo-regulator role.
Cold-induced thermogenesis prioritizes retaining heat within the internal core. Unlike external stimuli, the core temperature affects feedback responses; hence, it is the only regulated variable in thermoregulation. Therefore maintaining the core temperature is the brain's priority, as any slight deviation therein prompts immediate feedback. Nevertheless, the external stimuli hold sway due to the thermo-receptors throughout the body skin. Proxima C would require the brain to constantly trigger feed-forward mechanisms that instill pre-emptive responses to expected thermal changes significantly with the 22 days duration between sunrises. Perceptively, the skin's thermoreceptors for Proxima C residents must trigger quicker than within normal humans for a faster and more efficient thermoregulatory response. Coincidentally, feed-forward and feedback signals all “converge on a common set of neural substrates in the preoptic area (POA) of the hypothalamus” (Tan & Knight, 2018).
The brain-driven physiologic effectors are involuntary to generate heat. Further, the brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis, constriction of blood vessels, and skeletal muscle shivering all lie within the brain’s physiology in the nervous system. Studies propound that peripheral temperature sensing is steered by the neurons, which have cell bodies throughout the trigeminal ganglion and dorsal root ganglia. Apparently, most heat data sourced externally report to the brainstem’s spinal trigeminal nucleus (Tan & Knight, 2018).
Since thermoregulatory behaviors are "motivated," they lie within the brain's physiology. Indeed, scholars (2019) assert that thermoregulatory behaviors are goal-oriented actions striving for reward. In this case, Proxima C's natives would be motivated by heat and light. Consequently, such humanoids would adapt thermoregulatory habits such as burrow-making (living underground) to create their thermal micro-environment. Interestingly, some of the brain's physiology directly entwines behavioral implications such as fever triggered by bacterial lipids and pyrogens. Sleep or hibernation also pivots on brain physiology to retain energy (Tan & Knight, 2018).
Proxima C Humanoid Features
The Proxima C resident would undoubtedly require more than
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