Questions From Readers (Part 11)

Questions From Readers (Part 11)
Questions From Readers (Part 11)

What happens if a person removes one of the cerebral hemispheres, from which chewing gum is made, is it true that genetically a person is closest to a pig and other questions in our next issue of questions and answers.

Rick and Morty

What happens if a person removes one of the cerebral hemispheres?

Maxim P., Stavropol

Children have diseases in which an autoimmune reaction occurs in the brain, leading to frequent epileptic seizures, and if left untreated, death. The only known way to combat this pathology is to remove one of the cerebral hemispheres. It will take more than a year for a child's brain to compensate for the loss of an entire hemisphere. But after this period, all the abilities of the organ will be restored, and no one will even suspect that such a person does not have half of the brain.

What is chewing gum made of?

Ivan A., Novosibirsk

In 1928, American inventor Walter Deamer came up with the perfect chewing gum formula, which, in fact, is respected to this day: 20% rubber, 60% sugar (or its substitutes), 19% corn syrup and 1% flavorings. It is this formula that gives the chewing gum its elasticity. Therefore, apparently, Deamer named his gum Dubble Bubble, because it was easy to blow bubbles out of it. And Deamer also changed the color of the gum - it turned pink, which especially attracted the children.

Is it true that radioactive substances glow?

Pavel Yelesin, Krasnodar

This is only partly true. The glow that is associated with radioactivity is called "radioluminescence" and this phenomenon is not very common. In addition, it is caused, as a rule, not by the glow of the radioactive material itself, but by its interaction with the environment. The idea that radiation should "glow" appeared in the 1920s-1930s at the peak of interest in radioactive materials in various household appliances, medicines, etc. In the dark. But the green glow itself has nothing to do with radiation.

Is it possible to decipher and compare the genomes of the parents and the child, having determined exactly which traits and from whom he got it (eye color, shape of the nose, ears, features of the figure, etc.)?

Anna L., Rostov-on-Don

A complete DNA sequencing of one person costs approximately $ 10,000. With the help of this method, it is possible to quite accurately determine which piece of DNA from which parent the child got. At the same time, scientists are not yet able to give an answer which genes determine the shape of the nose or legs, and the origin of eye color is not very precisely determined. Therefore, some of the signs can be determined, but how most of the signs are encoded in DNA is still a mystery. However, science is not standing still: experts predict that in the next 10 years, much of this will become possible. Many animals are considered representatives of the same species - for example, the tundra wolf and the Mexican, but belong to different subspecies.

Why, in this case, the races of people do not belong to different subspecies?

Mikhail T., Minsk

The difference is that there are still more differences between the tundra and the Mexican wolf than between the representatives of, say, the Negroid and Caucasian races. The loss of fitness from crossing these two subspecies of wolves will be quite noticeable, and their distribution areas are too different. People do not have these clear differences, and their dispersal around the planet is so mixed that it is impossible to draw a dividing line between large races.The mixing of races occurs not only today, it has always been, therefore, there have never been "pure races" in the world, no matter how much the supporters of Nazism would like.

What we call "great races", many anthropologists generally tend to regard only as extreme variants of continuous variability. For the same reason, races are usually not called subspecies, although from the point of view of classical taxonomy, they are exactly subspecies. However, as mentioned above, due to the fact that it is not possible to draw the line and classify not only individuals, but often also populations, no one divides race into subspecies.

Is it true that a pig is genetically closest to a person?

Maria N., Moscow

No, this is absolutely not the case. The closest animal in relation to humans from the point of view of phylogenetics is the chimpanzee, a little further is the gorilla and other primates, then the rodents. There are no pigs in this row. The closest relatives of pigs in genetic terms are hippos and whales (the ancestors of whales, as you know, were not at all like their modern descendants - they lived on land, had limbs and remotely resembled something between a dog and a pig).

Perhaps the reason for the common misconception that pigs are genetically similar to humans is the fact that these animals lack some of the proteins that make pigs' tissues recognizable by the human immune system. Therefore, porcine organs remain the best (among mammals, except humans and chimpanzees) "candidates" for transplantation to humans. Chimpanzee organs are more suitable for humans, but due to the small number of individuals of this species, its intellectual potential and the incredible high cost of chimpanzee organs from the point of view of transplanting them to humans are not considered.

How can you explain the narrow section of the eyes in Mongoloids?

Azamat K., Almaty

The reasons for the origin of the narrow section of the eyes are unknown to science. It is very difficult to establish the shape of the eyes from the skulls of the ancestors of the Mongoloids, and even more so to answer the question of where they came from. It is widely believed that narrow eyes with epicanthus (a special fold at the inner corner of the eye, to a greater or lesser extent covering the lacrimal tubercle, which "makes" the eye "narrow"; a characteristic feature of Mongoloids, but it is also found in representatives of other races - Bushmen, Hottentots, etc.; among Caucasians - rare) protect the eyes from the "dust of Central Asia."

However, according to anthropologists, this hypothesis is hardly close to reality, because, firstly, the Mongoloids arose not in Central Asia, but in China, and secondly, in the Sahara or Arabia it is no less dusty than in Asia. At the same time, in Yakutia, where the Mongoloids also live, it is not "dusty" at all. Most likely, this shape of the eyes is the result of sexual selection. Apparently, narrow eyes were liked by the ancient ancestors of the Mongoloids, both men and women.

Can IQ tests really measure a person's intelligence?

Irina G., Nizhny Novgorod

In the ordinary sense, a person's mind is identical to his intellect. In fact, intelligence is the ability to solve problems that are associated with the construction of models of external objects. In order, for example, to solve the problem: “Two birds were sitting on a tree, three more came. How much has it become? " - we need to construct in our head some kind of mental model of this situation and within this model come to some conclusion. In addition, there are many types of tests depending on the type of intelligence.

After all, if a person is absolutely incapable of mathematics, but an excellent writer, this does not mean that he is stupid and unintelligent (the same is true for the opposite situation, when mathematical abilities clearly dominate humanitarian ones). As for the IQ tests directly, in a professional environment such a concept does not exist in principle.IQ is a method of quantifying intelligence, which is associated with the fact that the mean is taken as 100 and the standard deviation is 15. It cannot be said that there is a certain most common test for intelligence. The most optimal for assessing intelligence can be considered integral tests, which include different types of tasks, although it is more difficult to conduct such tests.

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