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The science of antediluvian plushies

One creationist claim that’s commonly laughed at is this idea that 8 people could build a great big boat, big enough to hold all the ‘kinds’ of animals, and that those same 8 people were an adequate work force to maintain all those beasts for a year in a confined space on a storm-tossed ark. So the creationists have created a whole pseudoscientific field called baraminology which tries to survey all of taxonomy and throw 99% of it out, so they can reduce the necessary number of animals packed into the boat. Literally, that’s all it’s really about: inventing new taxonomies with the specific goal of lumping as many as possible, in order to minimize the load on their fantasy boat.

In the past, I’ve seen them argue that a biblical ‘kind’ is equivalent to a genus; others have claimed it’s the Linnaean family. Now, Dr Jean K. Lightner, Independent Scholar (i.e. retired veterinarian), has taken the next step: a kind is equivalent to an order, roughly. Well, she does kind of chicken out at the Rodentia, the largest and most diverse group of mammals, and decides that those ought to be sorted into families, because otherwise she’s reducing the number of animals on the ark too much.

Given the characteristics that unite this order and the controversy in suborder classification, one could argue that the obvious cognitum is at the level of the order. Given my personal observations of squirrels and rats, which usually are placed in different suborders (except on the dual suborder scheme where they are both in Sciurognathi), I find this suggestion appealing. However, for the purposes of this project the order is too high for such a diverse group without considerably more evidence. For this reason the level of the kind will be considered to be at the level of the family.

She needs “more evidence” to be able to squish all of the rodents down to one common ancestor 4,000 years ago! You know, there’s no evidence given anywhere in the paper: it’s just a series of abbreviated descriptions of each order (or, for the rodents, family). She made this determination by looking at photos on the web. That’s it. She comes to the conclusion that only 137 kinds of mammals had to be on Noah’s Ark (350, if you count extinct species, which of course she should — Ken Ham is adamant that all kinds were on the ark).

In this paper 137 kinds have been tentatively identified. If the fossil record is taken into consideration, this number could easily double. Beech (2012) listed terrestrial vertebrate families represented in the fossil record. In the list of mammals 210 to 218 families are not recognized here. This suggests that closer to 350 mammal kinds were on the Ark. The large number of extinct families may be partially from a tendency for paleontologists to be splitters. However, much of it reflects the fact that a large amount of the diversity previously found in mammals has been lost.

In this serious attempt to quantify the kinds represented on the Ark, the numbers which resulted are lower than many had anticipated. Previous work had estimated the genus as the level of the kind, knowing this would significantly overestimate the number, in order to emphasize that the Ark had sufficient room for its intended purpose (Woodmorappe 1996). In discussing the results of this study with other creationists, many are surprised at how incredibly spacious the accommodations on the Ark would have been. In any case, this work is a reminder we have a Creator who cares for His creation and, even in judgment, He provides a way of salvation to those who will trust in Him.

Ah, that spacious ark. “Only” 350 mammals had to be cared for by those 8 custodians, and she hasn’t considered the birds and reptiles and amphibians yet. Of course, that’s still a lot of poop to shovel…except she seems to have solved that problem, too.

Here’s the quality of her scholarship: this is one of her kinds, the greater gliding posum. Look carefully at that photo. Notice anything odd about it?

Maybe you’d like a closer look to be really sure. RationalWiki noticed this peculiarity.

Hmmm. It reminds me of the time we found that Harun Yahya was using photos of fishing lures to illustrate modern insects. What great science!

But it does solve a lot of problems if the ark were stuffed full of plushies! It’s also a phenomenal marketing opportunity — the museum will be the gift shop!

Comments

  1. Ogvorbis: ջարդված says

    Um.

    Er.

    Wow?

    Yes. Wow. That’s the word I’m looking for. This is a truly epic level of ‘what-the-fuckitude’.

  2. says

    Dr Lightner has since changed the original paper to show a picture of an actual animal, not a children’s toy. RationalWiki still has the screenshot.

  3. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Never mind the animals, I want to know how those eight people managed to produce the amazing variety of humans we see today in just 4000 years.

  4. nomennescio says

    The large number of extinct families may be partially from a tendency for paleontologists to be splitters.

    Like the People’s Front of Judea?

  5. Rodney Nelson says

    Stuffed plushies have the same relationship to real animals as baraminology has to taxonomy.

  6. says

    Even more incredible than the Noah’s Ark story are the rationalisations people come up with in order to justify their belief in that fairy tale. It baffels me. I am not able to emphatise with those people. I mean, math and basic biology needed to disprove the possibility of the ark are learned in the school at ten-twelve years age! Yet there are still people around, who do not get that if an animal eats one kilogram of food per day, it eats ten kilograms in ten days or that ten such animals eat ten kilograms per day and one hundred kilograms per ten days. Not to mention resulting excrements.

    Even if they managed to get their “kinds” down to fifty, it would still not be enough, because not only Noah would have to store the food for those animals during the flood, but also food for considerable amount of time AFTER the flood, what with barren earth and all that.

    One is at a loss of words in face of such inanity. How can they not see the stupidity of their own rationalisations? I know they exist, I have seen them, I met them, yet one part of them still hopes in vain that people with this level of stupidity do not exist.

  7. Pteryxx says

    If they just permitted the reading of science fiction instead of banning it as evil and ungodly (in my sect anyway) they’d have all the non-ridonkulous explanations they could ever want, from stasis to cloning to miniaturization. But they can’t even say ‘God suspended animation of all the animals’ because it’d contradict the style of the goat herders’ storybook.

  8. Ogvorbis: ջարդված says

    Pteryxx:

    And the Lord laid his hand on the brow of each and every animal.

    And, lo!, the animals slept as the dead with no breath.

    And Noah put down his shovel and said, “And it was good.”

  9. Shawn says

    “this work is a reminder we have a Creator who cares for His creation and, even in judgment, He provides a way of salvation to those who will trust in Him.”

    If that’s all that’s learned from this, why study at all? Step one, look at something in nature, step two, go ‘ooh god is great’. What a waste of time.

  10. coleopteron says

    @15

    Actually, for edible animals they were required to take more. Either seven pairs, or just seven – from what I can gather it’s unclear which god said. If the latter, I’m guessing it’s three pairs for breeding and a spare in case they didn’t bring enough cucumber sandwiches for everyone.

  11. Tony ∞ºQueer Duck Hivemind Minionº∞ says

    I’m still waiting to hear how 8 people gathered animals from across the globe. Did Noah even know of the Arctic Circle? How did he travel to Australia? How did he pacify some of the animals that would have acted aggressive?

  12. Nepenthe says

    I dunno, I’m always concerned about how they kept all the parasites. What lucky bastard carried the tapeworms?

    And what do they do about self-fertilizing hermaphrodites? Do they just carry one? How many bdelloid rotifers were on the ark? Inquiring minds need to know!

  13. notsont says

    So Noah didn’t need to bring any apes or monkeys cause they came from Noah and his wife right?

    This kinda reminds me of Trekkers arguing over whether dilithium crystals could handle that much anti-matter all at once.

  14. sherifffatman says

    Far Side cartoon (sorry, couldn’t find an online version to link to):

    Noah’s Ark, eight hooves pointing skywards, two leopards looking sheepish in the background.

    Noah, sighing: “Well, so much for the unicorns. From now on, all carnivores are confined to ‘C’ deck.”

  15. Ogvorbis: ջարդված says

    So Noah didn’t need to bring any apes or monkeys cause they came from Noah and his wife right?

    That would have to be quick as Devo didn’t start until the mid 1970s CE.

  16. indicus says

    Well I for one would like to see a dichotomous key before you decide whether ‘Misty’ here belongs in the possum Holobaramin or in the marsupial Monobaramin or in the mammal Apobaramin or in the… Wait, what were we talking about? My head hurts :(

  17. Ogvorbis: ջարդված says

    Well I for one would like to see a dichotomous key before you decide whether ‘Misty’ here belongs in the possum Holobaramin or in the marsupial Monobaramin or in the mammal Apobaramin or in the…

    Well, obliviously, it belongs in the Synthobaramin.

    I bet a few animals became extinct because the 8 occupants of said boat got hungry.

    I’d like a slice of unicorn. Make mine ‘rare.’

  18. haitied says

    #5 Acolyte of Sagan
    Never mind the animals, I want to know how those eight people managed to produce the amazing variety of humans we see today in just 4000 years.

    It was certainly without the help of interracial unions >.>
    Although I find it difficult to be surprised by anything the desperate creationist community clings to anymore, reading their absurd assertions always gives me that special kind of twitch in my eye.

  19. raven says

    baraminology which tries to survey all of taxonomy and throw 99% of it out,..

    This will work.

    All they have to do is reduce the number of species to a few prokaryotes. Then stretch 6,000 god years to encompass 3.7 billion earth years. Make the Ark a bit bigger, say about the size of a planet.

    Add evolution and they’ve got it.

    Who says biblical exegenesis can’t explain everything?

  20. Larry says

    This is as absurd as serious, scholarly research into the lineages of the Middle Earth races and arguments over whether elves, men, and trolls all shared a common ancestor.

    These people are total fruitcakes.

  21. Owlmirror says

    Primates are comprised of 15 families which are divided into two suborders: Strepsirrhini (lemurs and lorises; 7 families) and Haplorrhini (monkeys and apes; 8 families). Humans are classified in the latter group (Wilson and Reeder 2005), but will not be included here because we were created separately from all the other animals (Genesis 1).
    [...]
    Wilson and Reeder (2005) place the great apes in Hominidae with humans, but given the significant differences between us and apes compared to some of the differences between other families, this seems ludicrous. Therefore, the older designation Pongidae is used here.

    She references observed hybrids to defend considering two (or more) species as the same baramin.

    I’m tempted to suggest that someone should try to create a chimpanzee-human hybrid, just to make all creationist heads explode.

    But I suppose many non-creationist heads would explode as well.

  22. says

    I can help them here. I have just invented a new taxonomy called vitalology. It has an “ology” so it must be scientific, and it can be used to classify all animals! With this revolutionary technique, advanced beyond even baraminology, can be used to compress a representative sample of an entire world of animal life into one small boat – a far higher compression ratio than any mere science can claim!

    He took living animals, and dead animals.

    Four animals, two of which can be used to feed the other two.

    Problem solved.

  23. says

    What about the plants? I have not heard an explanation as to how plants managed to survive.

    As a child in elementary school around thanksgiving we were told a (possibly bullshit) Indian (sorry can’t remember any more specifics) version of the flood narrative where the train tailed fowl (turkeys, pheasants, peacocks) got their beautiful trails for being were the last ones to get to high ground because they stayed to collect seeds.

    Now you may dismiss this as just a fairy tail if you’re an xian because the animals are characters and talk and all…but remember Noah gave instructions to frelling birds and had two of them slag off work to reddit or whatever. On the other hand Noah trying to assign tasks to birds could be explained him being a drunk.

  24. paulburnett says

    How did Noah know which animals were clean and unclean? That designation only showed up centuries after the Flood.

  25. Ogvorbis: ջարդված says

    How did Noah know which animals were clean and unclean? That designation only showed up centuries after the Flood.

    Er, Superman flew around the earth backwards so fast that it made time run backwards? Being a god means that cause and effect relationships are optional? Stop asking questions — god doesn’t like people who ask questions.

  26. says

    Damn, I can’t find that website that gives you divergence times for any two species entered. I want to put in two animals she says are in the same baramin, and see just how much faster the creationist version of evolution has to proceed, than the real one does (I’m guessing that for some pairs, we’re talking ~1000X).

    She made this determination by looking at photos on the web.

    ….and yesterday, I wasted an hour of a perfectly good Saturday watching some local creationist liar play a game of free-association between random bits of Chinese orthography and any verse of Genesis that he could force-fit to it.

    But it’s nice to see that creationist scholarship holds to a consistent standard.

  27. alanbagain says

    #20 Tony ∞ºQueer Duck Hivemind Minionº∞

    Since you asked, here is the YEC explanation* of how the animals came to be saved in the ark:

    http://www.icr.org/article/2470/

    http://www.icr.org/bible/Genesis/6/19-20/

    * I only find them … Don’t shoot the messenger**!

    ** Why*** is someone who brings the messAge called a messEnger?

    *** No****. I don’t really need to know – just another curiosity of the English language. Does “American” English have the same spelling?

    **** This could go on***** until the electrons plead Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and go off somewhere more interesting.

    ***** But it won’t!

  28. jose says

    I’ma go out on a limb and predict we’ll never find a creationist who won’t establish a separate kind just for humans. That would be admitting that we have apes among our ancestors, which is the one thing creationism will never accept because then we wouldn’t be made in the image of God.

    They can go as far as putting tyrannosaurus and sparrows together… but chimps and humans? Never.

  29. johnlee says

    I’m always delighted by the idea of all the lemurs marching off from Mount Arafat, in Armenia, and not stopping until they reached Madagascar. I assume they were overtaken by all the marsupials on the long trek to Australasia. What is wonderful is that they did this without leaving a single trace on the way! Marvelous are the mysterious ways of the Lord!

  30. Sastra says

    She made this determination by looking at photos on the web.

    So she ventures out of the mindset of a six-year-old reading and accepting a story as written to make the great leap into the mindset of a seven-year-old “looking stuff up” to figure out how the story works. It’s progress, creationist-style. You get to grow all the way up to the mentality of a 10-year-old. But no further — or the story will start to look and sound fishy, and the stuff you’re looking up will just make that worse.

  31. Alex the Pretty Good says

    In this serious attempt to quantify the kinds represented on the Ark [...] [my emphasis]

    Well … I guess this is the most outrageous oxymoron I’ve heard this year.

    @ Ogvorbis, #13
    It’s that you already have a Molly or this post would definitely have catapulted you to this month’s nomination list.

  32. stonyground says

    Where did all the extra water come from and where did it go? Under normal weather conditions, water just goes around in circles, it evaporates from the surface of the sea, forms clouds, falls as rain, and then finds its way back to the sea via rivers and streams. Excessively heavy and prolonged rain can cause a localised flood over a pretty vast area, but only because the rivers and streams are temporarily overwhelmed and the water hasn’t had time to get away. A global flood, as described in Genesis would reqire a collossal quantity of water to be added to the planet and then taken away again. Do these idiots have an explanation for this as well? Maybe it has something to do with ‘the fountains of the great deep’.

  33. says

    jose @40 – “I’ma go out on a limb and predict we’ll never find a creationist who won’t establish a separate kind just for humans.”

    Todd C. Wood is already close to this – he tremendously upset a lot of his fellow creationists by placing Australopithecus in the human baramin.

  34. davem says

    I dunno, I’m always concerned about how they kept all the parasites. What lucky bastard carried the tapeworms?

    I assume that tapeworms are ‘clean’ unto the Lord, not having the wrong sort of hooves, so there would be 7 of them, or 7 pairs maybe.

    I really hope for Noah and his family’s sake, there wasn’t more than one tapeworm baramin.

  35. says

    So that’s what baraminology is? I always wondered where they dug up that crackpot stuff that the villains maintained was true in Genius: The Transgression, I just kept forgetting to go look it up.

  36. Ichthyic says

    . Now, Dr Jean K. Lightner, Independent Scholar (i.e. retired veterinarian)

    huh. One has to wonder which cereal box this person got their PhD from?

    anyone know?

  37. Ichthyic says

    I’m still waiting to hear how 8 people gathered animals from across the globe. Did Noah even know of the Arctic Circle? How did he travel to Australia? How did he pacify some of the animals that would have acted aggressive?

    Oh I can easily clear all that up for you!

    Q: Did Noah even know of the Arctic Circle?

    A: He didn’t need to, God did.

    Q: How did he travel to Australia?

    A: He didn’t need to, God did it for him.

    Q: How did he pacify some of the animals that would have acted aggressive?

    A: He didn’t… oh you get the picture.

    *disappears in a cloud of smoke*

  38. Ichthyic says

    of course, the only real question to ask “Arkists” is this one:

    considering that God had to do just about everything to make anything about the Ark story actually “work”, why did he even bother having Noah make an ark to begin with?

    why didn’t God just dematerialize all the animals, and then put them back when the flood was done?

  39. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    why didn’t God just dematerialize all the animals, and then put them back when the flood was done?

    Must have had some iron chariots nearby…

  40. chigau (棒や石) says

    Those plushies at Secret Gully are teh awesome!
    They sell a 1.5 metre plush crocodile.

  41. Wowbagger, Antipodean Dervish says

    why didn’t God just dematerialize all the animals, and then put them back when the flood was done?

    Indeed. Why would a being that had previously been demonstrated to have had the power required to create the universe and everything in it suddenly be rendered incapable of much more than a minor rain god? Not to mention that this god was also meant to have been omni-everything and would have known in advance this was all going to happen.

    The whole story is so obviously based on a real event where some dude packed his family and a couple of sheep and goats into a boat and survived a flood; somewhere along the line someone religious got hold of it and added the god stuff in order to make it a teachable moment.

    How people can convince themselves otherwise is a sad testament to the power of self-delusion.

  42. simulateddave says

    I take some small consolation from this kind of nonsense. Anything, anything at all, that promotes a bit of critical thinking about religion is probably a good thing.

    Even something as powerfully stupid as baraminology has a silver lining. By insisting that this stuff actually makes sense and is rational, these fools might accidentally encourage a few people to think rationally about it. I know from my own experience that this can backfire in a big way.

    I was unthinkingly, happily christian until I read my first piece of apologetics in high school. C.S. Lewis turned me into an infidel with one book. The moral of that story is that if your evidence and reasoning are bad, you’d best just keep your yap shut about evidence and reasoning.

    I suspect that my experience is not unique, and so I also suspect that the elaborate displays of blatant stupidity in the Creation Museum will backfire in a few cases. Hamm’s little project is unlikely to convert a non-believer to christianity, but he just might end up making some atheists.

  43. Nepenthe says

    I really hope for Noah and his family’s sake, there wasn’t more than one tapeworm baramin.

    If baramin=order, there are currently 18 orders, though most (13) are found only in fish. Several orders are found only in elasmobranchs too, so if there were sharks on the ark, they were probably pretty crabby.

    (Thank you so much for giving me an excuse to read about parasites instead of chemistry. I <3 tapeworms so much.)

  44. bastionofsass says

    Where did all the extra water come from and where did it go?

    Oh come on. That’s an easy one.

    All the “extra” water came from God. He can do stuff like that, no problem at all. He’s the original creator of all water, remember? He can make as much as He wants whenever He wants.

    As to where the flood water went:

    Understand, the vast land masses that covered most of the earth before the flood were only several inches above sea level. And what we now call “oceans” were just tiny little bodies of very shallow water.

    When the flood was about to end, the elevation of the land masses increased tremendously when all the land was squeezed into a much smaller area. Because the land covered a much smaller area, there was now plenty of room for much deeper and vastly larger oceans. Plus some flood water was frozen into polar ice caps. Why this happened was because God had to get rid of all the water some way, right? *

    Also, God made a big drain hole and sucked a lot of the flood water into the earth’s interior. Where do you think well water comes from huh? Not to mention geysers. **

    *This is pretty much the explanation you may see on Delugionist sites. Odd that God could create the rain but just couldn’t evaporate it, *poof*, after it was no longer needed, because everything that wasn’t in the ark was really really drowned good by then. But then this is the same God who could only think of one way to forgive the sins of the humans He created: by sacrificing Himself to Himself.

    **This part is from the Book of Sass which is one of the parts of the Old Testament that was purged before publication.

  45. peterh says

    All this about a bunch of animals (and a few plants), but no one has checked on large, wooden vessels of comparatively recent construction (a mere century or so in the past). A wooden vessel of the Genesis build would simply not float – it would not have the structural integrity to hold together (even if empty of all cargo). It might last 40 hours, but not 40 days in a storm with such a burden as the bronze-age herders’ account would have in it.

  46. Menyambal --- in flagrante delicto says

    God could have just rounded up all the animals, brought them to Noah’s place, then done a Charlton Heston so they could all sit in the meadow and watch drowned people in the walls of water.

    My own flood variation is this: The flood could have been confined to the Middle East, as that was all the inhabited part of the world, so soon after Adam. This eliminates most of the animal problems, and only requires a convergence of storms, surges and tsunamis. But, of course, that doesn’t solve the God problems, and it really makes it obvious the story is derived from a local flood.

    I like how the Doctor in the quoted article is really after proof that there is a Creator that cares. Way to let insecurities cloud thinking.

  47. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Owlmirror says:
    18 November 2012 at 11:46 am
    …I’m tempted to suggest that someone should try to create a chimpanzee-human hybrid

    Ken Ham.

  48. Acolyte of Sagan says

    peterh says:
    18 November 2012 at 7:19 pm
    ..A wooden vessel of the Genesis build would simply not float… It might last 40 hours, but not 40 days in a storm with such a burden as the bronze-age herders’ account would have in it.

    And, of course, it only rained for forty days and nights; they were supposedly afloat for months.

    Noah, after completing an inventory of the livestock;
    “Mrs. Noah, I’m sure we had a boat-full of animals when we started, not just a pair of fat lions”.

  49. aleopold says

    A veterinarian – someone who has worked with multiple species, has had the chance to see the similarities with a year’s worth of pure anatomy, who’s education should have (and probably was) been from an evolutionary perspective. I simply do not understand how these individuals are able to graduate. If you’re dismissing half of what you’re being taught, WHAT is the point??!! Obviously you don’t spend a lot of explicit time studying evolutionary biology, but it applies to everything medicine.

  50. bastionofsass says

    A wooden vessel of the Genesis build would simply not float – it would not have the structural integrity to hold together

    The ark certainly could float for as long as God needed the flood waters to drown everything really good, and beyond that for the additional time God chose to ensure Noah and his family really had a nice long cruise. Because God could and He did.

    All part of God’s plan.

    I think some of you don’t understand the Almightiness of God.

  51. chigau (無) says

    bastionofsass

    I think some of you don’t understand the Almightiness of God.

    Can God
    make a rock
    so big
    that
    He
    Himself
    can’t lift it.
    [ha! take that]

  52. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I think some of you don’t understand the Almightiness of God.

    Is the almighty so good, that on every continent, it can show, at the proper time using radiometric dating, a catostrophic-one-time-flud-event-that-causes-extinction-of-all-life? Funny how it all points to localized fludding that happens over millions of years….

  53. Menyambal --- in flagrante delicto says

    “What was Almighty God doing before he created the world?”

    “Thinking up things to do to people who ask questions like that.”

  54. Acolyte of Sagan says

    The proof of God’s omnipotence is that It/She/He doesn’t have to actually exist to have an effect on humanity. Billions of people live their lives according to God’s rules, despite It not existing, and because It doesn’t exist, It can be imbued with any power and cannot be restricted to limits of mere possibility, nor indeed to logic, common sense or physics.
    Sooo, yes, God can make a rock so big that It cannot lift it, but because It’s God, It will lift it anyway because that’s how It rolls. Easily, too, because neither God nor Its big rock exist.
    Ha! Take that.

  55. Ichthyic says

    Isopods are still the closest living relatives IIRC.

    this is a taxonomist question though; where’s Marjanovich?

  56. Ichthyic says

    …er not saying that’s even close though. I just used that picture to show similarities. Trilobites are dead. no real living relatives of any kind.

  57. iknklast says

    I’d hate to see how many ‘kinds’ she reduced insects to – of course, if you consider all beetles as one ‘kind’, you can reduce insects a lot…but if rodents are diverse enough to deserve family recognition, then beetles should qualify.

    In the time when the Bible was written, a lot of people believed in spontaneous generation of insects (and plants) so it wouldn’t have been a problem; now, it’s a bit tricky, don’t you think?

  58. says

    As quoted by Owlmirror @31:

    Wilson and Reeder (2005) place the great apes in Hominidae with humans, but given the significant differences between us and apes compared to some of the differences between other families, this seems ludicrous. Therefore, the older designation Pongidae is used here.

    Somehow, these people have no problem accepting that Chihuahuas and St. Bernards are not only descended from wolves, but aren’t even distinct species… yet the notion of a relationship between apes and humans — despite the undeniable morphological similarities — is ‘ludicrous’.

    I’ll never understand this argument.

  59. unclefrogy says

    I share others thoughts on how anyone who educated and had to have studied science to be a Vet. could be a creationist. In 1880’s maybe OK but in this day and age you really have to twist reality as the evidence shows it so way out of shape I have to suspect some kind of mental impairment or emotional problems.

    uncle frogy

  60. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    I’m tempted to suggest that someone should try to create a chimpanzee-human hybrid, just to make all creationist heads explode.

    A hybrid is well beyond current biotechnology, but a chimpanzee-human chimera* might be viable, as those between sheep and goats are. A fascinating but morally unjustifiable experiment.

    *A chimera consists of cells from two or more individuals, either of the same or different species. Intraspecies chimerism occurs naturally, but chimeras are also made by mixing cells from two early embryos.

  61. catwhisperer says

    My employer has 2 people working 6 hours per day on weekends to feed and clean out the entire population of their Small Animal Care Unit – a mixed crowd of mostly cage and hutch dwelling rodent types; a few small flocks of various finches, budgies and whatnot; some reptiles and amphibians; coupla tanks of fish; half dozen ducks and a few more chickens; and 2 donkeys. Generous estimate, let’s say there’s 150 animals in there (and I’m not even counting the ones kept in the freezer!)

    By this highly scientific method I think I’ve shown that 8 people could quite easily in 6 hours per day look after those 350 pairs of mammals, and still have a few hours to spare for birds and reptiles and amphibians, and maybe playing backgammon. And maintaining the massive ship, which obviously didn’t need much of a crew as it was just floating about aimlessly, with no shallows or cliffs to hit… right?

  62. Amphiox says

    Re @79;

    The argument is actually quite straightforward. You just have to translate it into creobot speak, where it becomes the “I’m not related to no stinking dirty ape!” argument.

  63. mothra says

    @69
    Neo: “You mean I can stop bullets?”
    Morpheus: “No Neo, when you’re are ready, you won’t have to.”

  64. says

    It is unknown why Noah would have taken it on the ark or if this is the only puppet species he took on board with his family. Did he also bring marionettes and sock puppets as well? Was LambChop also on the ark? Is this one puppet’s offspring responsible for all the puppets species in the world today? What is god’s position on the sacrifice of puppets to atone for sins? Where do you sprinkle the stuffing? Do you remove the puppeteer’s hand before or after the sacrifice?

  65. fastlane says

    What about drop bears? Does this buffoon even bother with the baramin classification for drop bears?

  66. Nepenthe says

    @Ichthyic

    Trilobita is, as far as I can tell from skimming a few papers, is not very secure in its place. The best I can say is that they might be allied to the Chelicerates (particularly to the Xiphosura [horseshoe crabs]) or the might be basal mandibulates (basically all the other arthropods, including crustaceans like isopods). But they are almost certainly not sister to Isopoda.

    Caveats: I’m not a paleontologist and trilobites have way too many legs for me to be very interested in them.

  67. Ichthyic says

    The best I can say is that they might be allied to the Chelicerates (particularly to the Xiphosura [horseshoe crabs])

    It was my understanding that the horshoe crabs were closer to arachnidae than chelicerae?

  68. ChasCPeterson says

    Two problems: 1) the clearest patterns of arthropod systematics emerge from molecular data, and we have no appropriate molecules for trilobites, and 2) morphologically, everything about trilobites is either widespread among arthropods and therefore likely ancestral, or is unique to trilobites.

    I’d be very surprised if they were chelicerates, though, since they had no chelicerae (nor mandibles, for that matter).

  69. Ichthyic says

    everything about trilobites is either widespread among arthropods

    heh, exactly why I posted that picture of the isopod.

    I mean, come on, it even has compound eyes on turrets.

    :)

  70. Nepenthe says

    I mean, come on, it even has compound eyes on turrets.

    So do horseshoe crabs. And they also eat in an adorable manner. Not that adorableness has any bearing on their phylogeny.

  71. Ichthyic says

    Not that adorableness has any bearing on their phylogeny.

    I sometimes wonder about that, when I visit Jerry Coyne’s blog.

    :P

  72. r3a50n says

    I haven’t read the entire thread of comments so someone has probably already pondered this but can any of these “arkies” tell me what the true carnivores on the ark (like cats) were fed to sustain them for a year? I mean, they’d have had to bring a whole bunch of extra animals with them than two of each species to sate the appetites of the carnivores, right? Is that how they get around the whole eight-people-to-care-for-all-the-animals-and-shovel-poop, by positing that the animals didn’t actually eat so they didn’t poop and – MIRACLE! – none of them died?

    There was an Animal Cops show on Animal Planet where a vegetarian crazy cat lady put her house cats on a vegetarian diet and after only a few months they were emaciated, weak and on the verge of death. I think some of them had even died before the ASPCA intervened.

    I also think of the Futurama episode where a bunch of hippie protesters said they had trained a lion to eat tofu, then a quick camera shot of an emaciated lion coughing…

    Just sayin’…