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Your Questions About How To Discover New Species

Ken asks…

Can you tell me what my trees are?

We just moved to our Indiana property that’s approximately 24 miles West of Louisville, KY. It’s a loosely wooded with several species of trees and I’m trying to discover what one species is. They’re about 20 to thirty feet tall with a trunk circumference of approx. 6 to 8 inches. The bark has small scales on it. They’ve been boasting beautiful, 4 petal white blossoms that remind me of magnolia blossoms. The blossoms are about 2-3 inches across with many little green “stems” poking up from the center about a half inch. We were told they were walnuts, and our land is littered with empty hulls and shells, but they seem to resemble miniature walnuts. The nut meat itself is no larger than a nickel. Can anyone tell me if these are buternuts, English walnuts are black walnuts?

New Niche Finder answers:

From the description you give it sounds like the tree(s) in question are Dogwood; not a nut tree at all. Walnuts have catkins (long, thin stems of blossoms) rather than individual, showy blossoms. By the way, the area you live in also has Hickory trees, which sounds like the nuts you are describing by their shells and hulls. They could be butternuts, too. Perhaps you can post some pictures of the blooms, leaves, nut shells, etc. To give us some visual aid in answering your question accurately.

Good luck and enjoy!

Paul asks…

What has not yet been discovered about amphibians or reptiles?

Need an idea to write a proposal on for my herpetology class. I need to create a proposal that will attract donors to fund my research.

I’m thinking the best way to attract donors is by researching something that has not yet been discovered but what hasn’t been discovered yet?

It can be about anything related to reptiles or amphibians or both.

New Niche Finder answers:

If I could answer the question, it wouldn’t be undiscovered.

Read the primary literature, especially the discussion section of papers. There you will get ideas.

If the subject has something to do with biodiversity, or pest species (some introduced amphibians have become pests), or some disease related subject involving humans, you might attract a better chance of funding.

Susan asks…

What would be the cultural impact of discovering evidence of intelligent life elsewhere?

No big deal, or would society go into a total tailspin?

What would the political and religious implications be?

Do you think there is intelligent life elsewhere, or is it the case that our wanting it to exist is clouding our objectivity?

Perhaps we are the only sentient species (or the first to evolve to this level) in our galaxy. Sounds arrogant?

New Niche Finder answers:

There will be chaos to begin with as all the world religions try to explain this to their faithful, all the nutters like Erich von Daniken will cry “I was right” but eventually the sensible people will help everyone calm down and life will continue. And all the cool stuff that the Aliens will bring will help improve our science and medicine a great deal.

But then I’d be more worried about the Aliens. We all assume they will come in peace but what if they don’t? What if, just like will all major empires on Earth who have sought to expand their empire, the Aliens come to enslave us and bleed Earth dry of our resources?
I’m being serious. When you consider how big the Universe is there is as much chance of the film “Independence Day” happening for real as the film “Batteries Not Included”.

John asks…

Why is it that the human race is more evolved then other species?

Why is it that we have become more evolved and able to talk and build stuff like cars, plains, Electronic Devices, buildings and discover cures and be able to take care of someone if there injured?There is other types of animals that are allot more Intelligent then us but you don’t see them doing stuff out of the ordinary, is it because we got the head start in the learning and changing process?

New Niche Finder answers:

Your question goes dangerously close to suggesting that evolution has a purpose. It does not have a purpose, it simply happens and the world that we inhabit, is the result. Evolution is partly the result of mutation and some mutations are caused by cosmic and terrestrial radiation. Some of the outcomes are seen as being “good” and some as “bad” but either way, we owe our “species being” to this mutation driven process of evolution.

Helen asks…

Have you ever wondered how cow milk was discovered to be nourishing to people?

It’s a strange thing when you think about it. Milk that comes from a cow is processed and distributed widely, and used for many things. I love the taste of milk and I love it with my cereal.

I’m curious how hungry or lonely someone must have been to drink a cow’s milk and discover it’s nourishing.

New Niche Finder answers:

Perhaps from necessity.

But dont forget that humans are an ingenuitive and logical species… Who emerged out of the bush as mammals and we are still mammals.

We already instinctively know about milk… From our mothers… Programmed into our genes.

If we are willing to eat the meat of an animal, and the organs of an animal… And even some other unusual parts of animals… Certainly the milk is no less appealing. And why kill the animal for its milk when you can harvest it alive?

Our mothers stop lactating. To say nothing of it being weird as adults. But animals give us that yumminess we crave.

Im taking a world history class at college this quarter. In the ancient Roman empire… In fact way back in the day of the empire… There was a myth even then… Of the founding bothers of Rome. Romulus and Remus. They were raised and nurtured by a wolf in the wild… Roman statues portrayed these two infants nursing from a wolf. And that was ancient myth even in ancient times. The point here is simply that milking animals is far older than human record.

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