David Schneider Interview

Just dropped!

This is a long one, but interesting!


Songbirds !

He taught me a term: clades.

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It’s alright Matt, I laughed at your ‘motor projection’ joke. It was a good one.

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leaving a trail of broken jokes behind me…

I expect to see that motor projection drawing framed somewhere in his office.

Great interview! I’m inspired to build a pair of shoes that emit a random footstep sound sample from a bank of thousands whenever you put a foot down. I wonder how long it would take the brain to tune that out?


As long as there is a strong sense of self your brain will us it. In this case a consistent time delay should be enough. Might sound weird tho …

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13 posts were split to a new topic: Learning how birds teach themselves to sing Dad’s song

This is a nice relevant video I found while looking up more info on this.


This was enjoyable to watch. It made me smile a lot, nice synergy.


It might be useful to contact Dave Schneider and ask if they have an idea on how the song is learned by the bird to see if it is better to learn snippets first - or something else.

Asking for a friend.


:slight_smile: I bet you were already familiar with the notion. Modern ‘cladistic’ approach to taxonomy simply takes the view that it is almost meaningless to speak of “All mammals but Matt Taylor”.

Well… meaningless is maybe a strong term, but, say… it opens for more insights in the end, to rigorously constrain ourselves to the view that all allowed names should be clades.

Whenever it is still somewhat significant to speak of “All mammals but Matt Taylor”, or to refer to historic classifications, we’d speak specifically of “stem groups”, or sometimes “evolutionary grades” for, eg, all which did not evolve your haircut yet.
Those are simply ways to refer to a non-phylogenetic name, that is, a name which is not a clade.

Remaining allowed cladistic names can still be divided in two categories… crown groups (the most often implicit meaning… such as when speaking colloquially of “mammals”), and total groups. Sometimes same name can be given that terminology explicitly.


Okay maybe the above example could not apply since “Amniota” definition seems to benefit from an embedded “crown group” status. But you get the idea.
Somewhere along the line linking the total group to the crown group for Amniota, you’ll be lucky to find the real first “amniote” in the biological sense, of an animal not requiring water to lay his eggs… that got the clade its name in the first place. And that can be a third understanding of a colloquial “amniote” term. Tricky, huh ?

When branching into total groups, an acceptable cladistic tree always has to be ‘binary’. A split group always ought to split into exactly two branches : one group and its so called “sister”-group. Although gaps in our knowledge, and debates over where to branch what, often lead to many remaining shady areas where we still refer to stem groups globally, or allow one branch to have further splits, until those concerns are settled. Also, since modern classification is based on computer-aided statistical studies across many many species, and given that the prevailing hypothesis get rearranged quite often… it is quite common nowadays to find branches without a name.

Also, I guess modern views on the evolution of genus Homo itself casts some doubts as to whether that classification really ought to be a binary tree (and for that matter, an acyclic graph at all). But if you dezoom somewhat, I think the cladistic view makes sense, still.

Anyway… shall we delve into some more details about your ancestry ? :slight_smile:

I think paleontology and comparative studies across species have much to tell about brains too :slight_smile:


A nice talk about bird’s brain, its relation to ours, auditory pathways and all that

I had not taken the time to actually watch it. Now I have and it was well worth it :slight_smile: I’ve just learned a lot from such “comparative studies” about our differences but more importantly similarities… and it echoes nicely with David Schneider’s interests.
Some of the functionality of our “layers” is finally very similar in birds, and without the laminated structure !

I found that video on same source that the brains schematics I used above : Go have a look yourselves :slight_smile:

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