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Your Questions About How To Discover New Species

Charles asks…

What if humans didn’t evolve from other species of Homo?

I mean there is no missing link. We don’t know if humans have evolved from other species. What if we came from another planet? What if aliens genetically engineered other species of Homo genus and made us? What if we are half alien half homo genus?

New Niche Finder answers:

Not sure why you say “there is no missing link”. This sounds like a reference to a creationist myth which refuses to die. In fact there are many fossils in the human record which are intermediate between major evolutionary milestones – between ancient apes and humans, and between archaic humans and modern humans.

Besides the fossil evidence, a very clear evolutionary history is also contained in the human genome. By comparing the genomes of modern humans to chimpanzees, Neanderthals, and other humans, we get a very clear picture of how modern humans have gradually emerged over the last 500,000 years.

There are simply no structures or patterns in human genes which can’t be explained by normal, natural processes over a long period of time. It’s not as though we see something so strange and weird in our genes that it could have only occurred through genetic engineering.

In fact the more we discover about the human genome, the more if becomes clear that we are entirely a normal and natural part of Earth’s biota, not special in any way at all.

See links below for some relevant recent research.

What *is* interesting is to speculate why the idea aliens from space may have intervened in human evolution has become such a popular mythology in the last 40 or so years. I suspect it has something to do with the decline of formal religion, combined with our innate urge to feel some kind of cosmic connection; plus popular entertainment like movies and TV shows has put space travel and alien creatures in our attention. It culminated last year in the movie ‘Prometheus’ – a huge disappointment, a tragic combination of scientific and philosophical pretension with woeful ignorance and clumsy thinking.

Hope it helps.

Mark asks…

What is the name of those goldfish-looking fish that have big, bulging eyes?

I want to buy a certain species of fish, but I don’t know what it is called. It resembles a goldfish, but its eyes are huge and kinda bulging out of its head. Does anyone know what i thinking of?

New Niche Finder answers:

They probably are goldfish. There are three types of goldfish that i belive u could be talking about. Pics included.

Black moore
http://www.centralpets.com/critter_images/fish/freshwater_fish/FWF_0004548_20030815021651.jpg

celestial
http://petcaretips.net/celestial_goldfish.jpg

bubble eye
http://www.dkimages.com/discover/previews/744/55010184.JPG

these goldfish are very delicate and can only be kept with the same variety or else the other fish in the tank will steal their food. They are poor swimmers and seeing impaired. But they are really cool! Give a goldfish at least 15 gallons!

Good luck!

Lizzie asks…

How has technology advanced so rapidly in the past 200 years with only human intelligence?

We go from being a species of fairly primitive beings in the 1800s to a species that has extremely advanced technology in such a short amount of time. How did we do this without any outside help?

New Niche Finder answers:

Well, not every society developed equally, for more on this read ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ by Jared Diamond.

The basic formula has to do with food, population, specialization and innovation made possible through recreation.

A population of people need to be fixed in one spot, with plenty of food provided by the food-specialists so some people in the village can do something other than hunting/gathering/planting. This frees up others to do art or medicine and others have time to invent. In this society, everyone knows they won’t starve, and specialization breeds experts in their given fields. A well-fed society will have more and healtheir babies, and the cycle continues.

Domesticated animals help provide labor, transportation and food. Well-fed people are going to be more energy-efficient and think more clearly than those societies who are starving or barely getting by on a poor diet.

With this cycle, there is lots of free time (or as much as possible) and those who are good at inventing are free to do it, well fed and with a fully-working brain. The innovations get learned by everyone and put in use, and more innovation and invention builds off this. The wheel precedes the cart, the cart precedes the powered coach/car.

Of course, the societies have to avoid killing themselves, and the technology they develop helps them win wars, dominate other cultures when there’s a clash, and big societies armed with technology as we’ve seen on Earth had conquered/explored much of the world early on.

Societies which develop crushingly oppressive religions tend to do badly too. The Dark Ages stifled progress for most of the world for a long time and stood directly in the path of intellectual and technological progress. Other religions get mired in pointless holy wars fighting over a tiny scrap of land, even today. Some religions disallow the eating of certain valuable proteins, and this means people go hungry more often, which means less brainpower contributing to that society.

Overcoming the cancer of religion has been key to our progress thus far, now that scientists aren’t being put under house-arrest or killed merely for discovering a fact of the Universe that theists in power don’t like.

Religion continues to stand in the way of stem-cell and genetic research as well as the teaching of evolution, in addition to trying to limit choice and birth-control options for women. Unwanted babies tend to be more neglected and can become a burden to society if they turn criminal. Some populations are overrun with people simply because most of them embrace the notion of ‘no birth control’ as handed down by the Catholic church. Furthermore, people who genuinely believe in religious ideas often directly attack those they feel are doing ‘Satan’s’ work. Look at the abortion doctor who was recently killed by a fundie. Dr. George Tiller was providing a service to women who were not ready to have a baby, but he was killed. Some women simply know they are ill-equipped to bring another child in the world, but ‘good’ Christians took it upon themselves to kill an abortion doctor, and he’s just one of many victims.

The missionary vultures who are trying to Christianize Africa are commiting a form of genocide if they tell people not to use condoms or go abstinent. Africa is a starving, AIDS-plagued population which collectively doesn’t understand birth-control well in the first place. They need technology and education, not more Jesus. This directly contributes to the sad-state of Africa today. Africa needs secularism, technology, and a stable government.

The best way to progress in a society is to not only have specialization, recreation and population, but also a secular government which keeps religion well out of the field of social and technological progress.

George asks…

Why didnt someone discovered how to understand animal’s language?

I mean we as a society became extremists in Technology but why didnt we discovered how to understand the language of poor and the cutest thing on Earth – the animals .

New Niche Finder answers:

Animal trainers do learn to read a lot of signs but there are some serious difficulties to overcome in understanding an animal language as we do a human language. One is that the human ear isn’t made to hear all the frequencies that other species use and our vocal chords aren’t able to reproduce them. This can be gotten around with technology if scientists and animal researchers with similar goals pair up. Another problem is that some animals’ communication systems aren’t purely auditory. A lot of dog language is gestural, for example. With dogs, ears are very important in gestural language and human ears can’t create the same gestures so we can’t be understood in the same ways. Scientists also aren’t sure/are skeptical of how complex animal thought processes are. I recently attended a seminar from a panel of animal cognition researchers at the university I attend who began the lecture by ruling out the possibility that animals besides bees had language (bee language was further explained away as being essentially involuntary, rhythmic spasms resulting from subconscious “muscle memory” of the flight from food back to the hive). That’s not the sort of attitude that animal trainers with more complete knowledge of their animals’ language and would be invaluable in any project for creating a lexicon can find common ground for research with.

Paul asks…

Whar are some jobs that involve discovery?

I really want a job where you discover things. Like discover new species of fish. I really love space, what jobs do they have discovering black holes. ect. I thought about a marine biologist, but when I was searching people say marine biologist’s barely find jobs. If they do find jobs they have little to no pay. It could involve anything space, ocean, earth. Anything that involves discovery.

New Niche Finder answers:

That would be a research scientist. You’ll need a PhD in whichever field you choose. It’s certainly true there aren’t a ton of jobs for marine biologists and astronomers, so you need to be not only good at what you do but also willing to move pretty much anywhere to do it. Science doesn’t make many people rich.

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