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Your Questions About How To Discover New Species

Daniel asks…

If you were hired by Time Magazine to produce a drawing of what a newly discovered species might have looked?

like would u beconfident in reproducing and what features would be speculation? Does our inability to know everything from the fossil record limit our ability to understand previous species? Does it limit our understanding of evolution?

New Niche Finder answers:

Here would be my approach to the project. I have done similar jobs.

In the first place, I have studied anatomy and many other sciences for decades. Not only have I produced hundreds of sketches of humans, but I have spent countless hours drawing dogs, cats, horses and many other animals. Whether at some local ranch or farm, a friend’s back yard or the zoo, my practice has taught me how various parts attatch to each other and how they move in relation to each other. I KNOW why a lemur’s eyes are so big and why a mole’s eyes are so small. I know how to depict the difference from a leopard cub’s face from an adult cat’s. I KNOW why a kangaroo’s rear leg musculature is so different from a horse’s. I know, from practice, the subtle differences between a Clydesdaly, Percheron, Cow Pony and an Arabian. I can show you, (in most cases) how to tell the difference between a moth and a butterfly.

I am an illustrator and I get paid to know these things, or, be able to find references to find these things out. In otherwords, I not only have the skills, I have the background to be able to take on an assignment much as you describe.

Next step would be to interview, or look up the research of those that made the discovery. What does that species skeleton or remains look like? Certain features of the hips tell us if it hopped or walked one foot in front of the other. What else is known about that species? Was in nocturnal or diurnal? What did it eat? How did it move? Etc. The more that I know about the critter, the more likely accurate my illustration might be.

The evolution leading up to, and following that creature might play a part. The animal’s place in the local ecosystem would be critical. Was it predator or prey? How did it live? Did it walk on all fours, upright, swim, fly? And so on.

Then I could work up a series of sketches, showing many of the possible physical charataristics. Then, in further discussions with the clients, we could hone in on those features that best depict what that creature might likely look at.

So, it’s not just a guess, but an educated guess bases on all the facts that CAN be known. Even today, for example, with all the various species of dinosaurs that have been drawn, painted and shown in motion pictures, no one yet knows what color skin dinosaurs may have had. Every dinosaur you have ever seen is only a best guess of it’s actual appearence.

Nancy asks…

Am I crazy to spend almost $25 for a field guide to plant galls of California?

I needed some facts for a page or two on a PowerPoint presentation and the facts in most books and on the web are few and repetitious. It’s not exactly a page turner but it is fascinating that this man has devoted his career to discovering new species and then sharing that information with others.

The format is great, it’s part of an ongoing natural history series, but $25? Good information doesn’t come cheap, I guess.

I didn’t check to see if the library had a copy, as when I do research I like to have as many resources on hand as possible.

New Niche Finder answers:

Once I Borrowed a Theses from some university somewhere through the library on (Typhlichthys subterraneus) I forget the details. The copying cost was $30. 00 . I still have the theses. Was it worth it YES. $25.00 for you would be worth it. Its a book RIGHT.
Happy Caving Carroll
Remember Grotto nearest you. Tell them I sent you

Donna asks…

What is the name of the newly discovered island with newly discovered animals?

Wasn’t there an island (or more) that was recently discovered about a year or so ago, and biologists also discovered many new species of animals? Can you give me any info about this? Where was this located?

New Niche Finder answers:

The island of Borneo is probably what you are thinking of, like the poster above suggested.

“Scientists have discovered at least 52 new species of animals and plants on the southeast Asian island of Borneo since 2005…”

Mark asks…

How do we know when a species of animal first appeared?

Since humans have not discovered all the species of animals this planet has to offer. I don’t understand how new these “newspecies actually are.

How do we know if they just popped up over night or if they’ve been on earth longer than humans?

New Niche Finder answers:

Someone would have to be a full time biologist to know that. It would be just like saying if a buck hare mated with a doe rabbit would it’s babies have long ears or short ones and would they just hop along or run like mad.

Paul asks…

What jobs involve traveling and the environment?

What job would involve traveling and exploring? I would love to pursue a career that involves the outdoors and discovering new species. What type of education would I need for this?

New Niche Finder answers:

Leisure studies, Geography, geology, biology, etc. Are what is at CSUN where I went. Not sure what other courses you can take. Environmental studies might be something they offer nowadays also.
If you stayed within your State you can go for Park Ranger, Tour Guide, Camp Counselor, Professor, etc.
Maybe the environmental protection agency and park rangers on the federal or state level…go on their government sites and see what you need to study to get those jobs or ask them by email…different individuals. That’s my opinion and what I know. As for going and working in different countries…i’m not really sure. National Geographic and those nature shows on tv need people in the background and on camera to talk about things…..well i hope this helped a little…not really an expert on this…just felt like talking. :)

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