In part one of this series, we explore how created kinds are classified and depicted in the Creation Orchard and as individual trees with an emphasis on the known hybridization that occurs within the duck kind.
Charts of Orchards and Trees
The Creation Orchard is a depiction of the separate created kinds of plants and animals made during Creation Week and the species that have developed within each kind through time. Within the Orchard, each tree trunk represents a separate created kind while the branches and twigs represent the breeds and species that have developed within the kind. This depiction shows the expected limits of variation within a kind and that kinds cannot transition from one kind into another kind. The Orchard stands in stark contrast to the evolutionary claims of universal common descent as shown in the single evolutionary Tree of Life.
In recent decades, some creationists have made generic diagrams of individual trees showing general branching before and after the flood; however, I am not aware of any produced using actual data from created kinds research, which can include a detailed taxonomy and diagram of that kind. Such a diagram would be quite helpful in describing the Model of Created Kinds and comparing or contrasting it with the Model of Evolution.
The sample image of the Creation Orchard shown above shows where current research in Baraminology (the study of created kinds) stands. In a fully detailed map, each kind would be represented by a single tree. In this map, to save space, each tree can symbolically represent up to 10 kinds of plants or animals. For example, in the reptile section there are an estimated 43 kinds of lizards represented by 4 trees.
The number of kinds will likely decrease in the future as research continues. For example, statistical studies suggest there may be as few as 5 kinds of turtles, but current hybridization records (which this Orchard map is based on) make limited connections which amount to 11 kinds. For those familiar with scientific classification, the level of kind typically falls near the family level of classification while occasionally going as high as the Order level and lower to the Genus or (rarely) Species levels.
The detailed diagrams that are used in this type of study are typically called phylograms or cladograms depending on what information is included. These are the typical branching tree diagram that connect one species or type of organism with another. However, these diagrams come with the built-in assumptions of evolutionary ancestry and connections based on shared characteristics. For a creation based study, I am using a yaladagram.
In evolutionary biology, scientists will attempt to build what is termed a cladogram to establish presumed ancestral relationships. While they assume this study could eventually tie together every form of life into one group, creationists recognize many creatures beyond the species level are, indeed, related.
For our purposes, I have called these more limited trees yaladagrams, from the Hebrew word for “child” with the standard Greek “gram” ending.
The yaladagram is a tree-shaped diagram, but it is limited to the development of the breeds and species within a kind. Rather than the evolutionary assumptions of long-term mutation and natural selection, the branching that occurs in this tree represents the short-term heritage events and environmental acclimation which cause speciation.
Here we have a sample yaladagram without any plant or animal classification. At the base would be the original kind made during creation week. Then, the lower branch of the tree would represent the breeds that appeared before the flood. The wavy blue line represents the flood. The upper branch of the tree represents the breeds that appeared after the flood. If the leaves were added to the branches, the very tips would represent the types alive today.
The Duck Kind
The duck kind includes ducks, geese, and swans and are recognized as types of waterfowl with webbed feet. There are approximately 170 living species in 45 Genera as well as many extinct and fossilized species. As a somewhat avid bird-watcher, I enjoyed watching the birds rest on the southern shore of Lake Erie before migrating North across the lake. What did I see? Well, like most kinds, there is a surprisingly wide variety of colors and size.
Within the duck kind this includes swans and geese (Anserot), whistling ducks (Dendrocygnot), freckled duck (Stictonettot – not in the U.S.), shelducks and shelgeese (Tadornot), diving ducks (Aythynot), dabbling ducks (Anatot: including the mallard), stiff-tailed ducks (Oxyurot), and sea ducks (Mergot). Although they tend to use mostly earth tones of browns, greens, and blues some species include very bright and warm colors.
Interestingly, the order of Anseriformes (including screamers and other related waterfowl as well as ducks) is well represented in the fossil record. A few specimens like the Vegavot (a goose-like animal) are dated to approximately 100 million years old which places them in the late Mesozoic Age (think dinosaurs like the Stegosaurus and the Velociraptor here).
Please note that the existence of fossil birds and dinosaurs in the same layer should raise questions to the typical story of dinosaurs evolving into birds at a later time.
There are many fossils from the duck kind, but the oldest have only been dated to the Cenozoic period (up to 66 million years ago). They can be rather large specimens and an interesting mix of swan, goose, and duck characteristics as would be expected from the general range of characteristics known today.
Examples include the fossilized Mionettot (from the Late Oligocene), Cygnopterot (Middle Oligocene), Megalodytot (Middle Miocene), Australotadornot (Late Oligocene), Sinanot (Middle Miocene), and the more recently extinct Ptaiochot (large goose-sized ducks from Hawaii). Because we are unable to examine hybridization of fossilized and extinct groups, I will simply leave these as a sampling of the pre-flood duck kind.
Although there are several methods available to determine the limits of a kind, the highest standard has always been that of hybridization. If different species are able to hybridize, then they are of the same kind.
If two species are suspected of being of the same kind but have not been found to hybridize, then searching for secondary hybridization is acceptable: meaning that if species A can hybridize with species B, and species B can hybridize with species C, then species A, B, and C are all the same kind.
There are numerous known barriers to reproduction and hybridization that can prevent species A and C from hybridizing, including such simple things as never encountering each other by belonging to different continents or size differences such as the oft-used dog example of a Great Dane and a Chihuahua.
It should be noted here that evolutionary models expect reproductive isolation of species—meaning that a species can mate with others of the species, but hybridization with other species should be rare, and hybridization with other genera or higher taxa almost unknown. Instead, The Model of Created Kinds expects broad hybridization to take place within a kind: typically within the family level but sometimes as high as within an order level.
This is in stark contrast with the evolutionary ideas of reproductive isolation of species.
When we look at the actual data, which model fits better?
Because ducks and geese have been used for food and are often kept as farm animals, we have many records of breeding and hybridization for them … and the records show the broad levels of hybridization expected within a kind. Showing this information may be the most useful and impressive feature of a yaladagram as it is evidence for the model of created kinds.
Recorded Hybridization in the Duck Kind
One example is the the Canada Goose (Brantot canadensim). It is recorded as hybridizing with Cygnot, Anserot, Brantot, Alopochot, Tadoranot, Cairinot, and Anasot. This includes 7 genera and a possible 4 subfamilies depending on the classification system used.
Perhaps the best example of this comes from the common mallard duck (Anasot platyrhyncim). This happens to be the representative type species for the kind. There are records of it hybridizing with species in the Anserot, Brantot, Alophochot, Tadoranot, Amazonettot, Cairinot, Aixot, Anasot, Nettot, Aythyot, Melanittot, Bucephalot, and Clangulot.
This involves not only 12 genera, but a possible 6 Subfamilies.
These two examples show that while species may prefer to mate within the species, they are by no means limited to that selection. It also shows that the reproductive isolation of species is much more an effect of a deliberate choice such as heritage mating. This choice is quite strong when out in the wild.
The story changes dramatically within captivity like animal shelters, zoos, and farms where many species are mixed together and most of the hybridization records come from.
For decades, baraminologists have been researching created kinds and forming lists with hundreds of kinds (with an emphasis on the Ark kinds of birds, mammals, and reptiles). It is time to take that data and produce the Creation Orchard so that the world can see the research, better understand the difference between it and the evolutionary tree of life, and learn the data better supports the Creation Model.
1) A more technical and detailed version of this article is found at: Duck Kind Yaladagram