Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tides Go In, Tides Go Out. You Can't Explain That!

Do we need the moon? Can the moon tell us about our evolution? Could we evolve without it?

The answers are probably more interesting than you think...but before I answer them I think we should  have a moon review! Most people know general facts about the moon (unless you are Bill O'Reilly) but I will briefly summarize the important aspects that will be used later, along with lots of pictures.

Hopefully after this you not only know more about our moon but also know much more about the evolution of life on this planet.
Moon Information

Size and Distance:
The moon is about 1/4 the diameter of the Earth and it is 238,857 miles away, receding away about an inch every year.

Gravitational Pull and Tides:
Its large size creates a gravitational pull that causes our ocean to be pulled up towards the moon as it orbits, creating high and low tides.

Tilt and Seasons:
Our planet is tilted about 23.5° and the moon keeps this tilt stable, varying only a few degrees. This stabilization causes four predictable seasons as the earth rotates around the sun. 

Moon Formation
4.5 billion years ago Earth was still a ball of flowing lava and liquid iron. It was completely moonless, causing it to spin so fast it had an 8 hour day.

Planet Collision & Debris Orbit 
30 million years later a large planet partially collided with Earth, creating its 23.5° tilt and blasting off 70% of the molten crust. This debris became trapped in an orbit around Earth and within possibly one year had coalesced into the moon.

Core, Magnetic Field, & Tectonic Plates
While the moon formed with the light materials, the heavier materials reabsorbed into the Earth. This caused our planet to have 1 ½ cores, giving us a stronger gravitational field. The planet lost heat slower as a result and was able to create plate tectonics.

Early Distance and Pull 
Early after its formation, the moon was 10–15 times bigger in the sky because it was only 14,000 miles away. This close proximity causes the pull to be 200 times stronger. Oceans had yet to form so it pulled on the molten surface of the Earth and created waves more than half a mile high, twice a day. 

Cooling and Slowing
The planet and moon cooled to where Earth could retain water. They have remained gravitationally locked and the moon gradually slowed down the rotation of the Earth from 8 to 24 hours. 

Scenario 1: Moon Disappears

It is easily seen that our moon has a large impact on the planet but do you think we actually NEED it? If it disappeared suddenly tonight would we notice? What if our planet never had one in the first place, would we still have evolved?

For those who watched Dragon Ball Z...Piccolo blew up the moon

To determine if we need it at all we need to look at two different scenarios of a moonless Earth! Since The Universe did this subject very well I have used images from the episode.

If our moon decided to bail on us suddenly, the Earth would immediately notice its absence.

Ocean Tides & Floods
Almost immediately the tides pulled by the moon drop back down which causes global tsunamis that erase islands and devastate coastal cities. This water has been estimated to be 50 feet+, which almost drowns the whole state of Florida. Once the water has been redistributed globally  it rushes to the next strongest gravitational pull: the sun. The pull of the sun on the oceans is 1/3 that of the moon's and it is creating not lunar tides but solar tides, which are significantly weaker.

Sea Currents & Climate
 The sudden change in the tides will cause ocean currents to shift dramatically, causing changes in the weather patterns globally. These abrupt climate changes will cause crop failure in many areas. On land, birds and insects that migrate seasonally or rely on regional plant life are thrown into chaos and will most likely go extinct. After the first level of collapse everything that relies on them will follow suit, causing an mass breakdown of ecosystems. 

Moonlight & Disorientation
Mass extinction is caused by the disappearance of light from the moon because many animals determine their mating periods and feeding times by the moon. Without the moonlight, turtles would not know when to move inland to lay eggs, fish will be disorientated on when to lay eggs as well, and algae will stop moving to the surface which will cause many to lose their main food resource. The whole ecology of the ocean is tuned to light and without it every organism will eventually be completely disrupted.

Erratic Tilts & Environment
If humans somehow survive the collapse of global ecosystems, we still have to deal with the long term issues. Earth's regulated tilt is almost constant and its caused by the gravitational connection to the moon, which acts as a stabilizer. This causes us to not only have 4 seasons but keeps us from falling over and freezing the poles. Mars does not have a large gravitational body to keep it on a constant tilt so the planet over several hundred thousand years goes into fits of varying tilts by up to 90°. This will literally cause the ice covered poles of Mars to fall over towards the sun. The other planets also pull causing it to swing around erratically. This extreme variation in tilt is a mirror of what would happen to the Earth without the moon. Without the moon over time the Earth will go through massive environmental disruption over and over again as it wildly turn its the poles towards the sun, causing jungles on the poles and ice on the equator.

If the moon disappeared everything today would be affected because everything evolved with the moon’s influence. Well, if we would be wiped out if you took it away from us now, what if we never had one in the first place?

Scenario 2: Moon Never Formed

Our planet would be unrecognizable without an original moon and I can say with confidence that large brained primates would never have evolved. Let me break that claim down!

We must start back again when the planet was forming but this time leave out the moon.

 Formation of Moonless Earth 
4.5 billion years the fast spin of the Earth creates a shorter day. Earth’s crust is still molten but no planet will collide with it so no crust is blown off. The Earth also keeps its original core size instead of having 1 ½ cores, causing there to be no plate tectonics, no mountain ranges, and water covering most of the crust with a higher sea level. The planets tilt is unregulated by the moon and is subjected to the gravitational pull from the sun and planets. Without the moon the planet has a totally black night.

Obviously the planet is different without the moon but just stating all of this does not really help you predict what a moonless Earth would be like today, so we have to take these different results and allow them to play through 4 billion years and see what we get.

Rotation & Wind
In the beginning, the moonless Earth spins fast creating an 8 hour day that will slow to 12 hours in 4 billion years.  This is at least double the speed and it has major effects on the planet inside and out. The quick rotation causes global howling winds where in some places could reach 200 mph causing thicker storms and violent waves that batter coastlines. The winds also cause more jet streams, turbulence, and lightning.  It is a very loud and chaotic world so if complex animals arise they must find a way to communicate despite shrieking winds. The sound and smell communication and detection that dominates our world would most likely never evolve because of the exceptionally loud and windy nature of the planet. So animals must use either the other known systems or do something completely unknown to us. Visually, it could be using limbs or colors to communicate or be the development of extra limbs to express messages silently. These extra limbs could also be used for stability and protection from the elements when the weather becomes violent, as it will often do. There could also be a development of a specialized auditory system that cancels out the wind’s shrieking sound or be tuned specifically to their species frequency and are able to hear it through all other noise. Perhaps if most things are grounded, there will be a development of an acute ability to sense nearby vibrations on the ground. Beyond these there could be another sensory system that could be developed that we do not experience on this planet. If there IS complex life, it’s nothing like we know today.

Rotation & Magnetic Fields 
The rotation speed causes the smaller core to churn faster and produce an enhanced magnetic field that more effectively blocks solar particles and causes very large and spectacular auroras. This enhancement will cause less radiation to affect the replicating life forms. Mutations are the driving force of evolution and reducing the radiation will decrease the amount of mutations that can be chosen for or against. This will slow the rate at which life can evolve and adapt and will probably cause the majority of life forms to maintain a simpler form. This planet does not have the stability we have and will experience extremely random environmental changes. The only animals we know that can survive through extreme environmental change are simple bacteria.  Complex animals cannot do this as they need stability to build up their adaptations. Without the stable climate to give the time and without the rate of mutations to drive the change, complex creatures are going to have a very hard time developing if they develop how we think they do.    

Rotation & Length of Day
When there was an 8 hour day it created an environment which only gave organisms 4 hours to absorb sunlight and 4 hours of complete darkness. All organisms today came from ancestors that either absorbed sunlight as their energy resource or eventually ate organisms that absorbed sunlight.  With only 4 hours of sun exposure that is filtered through a stronger magnetic field, the life that could arise would most likely not be similar to anything we know. 4 hour days could also lead to less time for metabolizing and thus shorter life spans, less time for seeking mates, and less time to find resources. With darkness at night animals might have to develop enhanced sensory systems to use starlight or even have night vision goggle-like capabilities. The system that could develop like this would be truly an interesting site.

Axial Tilt & Climate
The difference in the tilt will cause the greatest amount of distress and will be the main driving force holding complex life back OR possibly becoming push to invent something brand new. Without a moon to stabilize the tilt, Earth shifts back and forth over millions years which shifts climates into extreme opposites. Our planet today wobbles from its tilt and over a period of 26,000 years the tilt will vary a few degrees but it is highly predictable because it is regulated by the moon. Without the moon the Earth would actually wobble more slowly which would cause the variations to become more unpredictable and dramatic. If you think of a spinning top; the faster you spin the less it wobbles and as soon as it slows down it begins to wobble wildly...but slower. A moonless Earth could be wobbling for 30,000 up to 50,000 years and with the higher numbers it can cause the planet to fall over and switch the positions of the poles with the equator. This will cause the poles to melt rapidly and disrupt ocean currents/weather patterns and sea levels at the equator, causing a never ending shift between bursts of adaptation and mass extinction.  This is the epitome of chaos and whatever life could develop here would be the textbook definition of an creature from another world.

Back to my original questions: 

Do we need the moon?  Can the moon tell us much about our evolution? Could we evolve without it?

The first scenario of a sudden disappearance of the moon can answer if we still need it to be in our sky. If the moon was removed, almost all life on this planet will be devastatingly crippled through either direct disruption or through the collapse of the established ecosystems. Most complex animals depend on several hundred different organisms to survive, and they are dependent without even knowing it. Even after the collapse of the ocean’s ecosystem, the mass extinctions, weather disruptions, tsunamis, and everything else terrible that can be conceived, we are still not done. Now we are subjected to the tug-of-war between the sun and planets for our axial tilt and our planet will lose every time. So yes we still need the moon because life has evolved alongside it and has become dependent on it for its current existence.

The second scenario of an Earth developing without a moon can answer the following questions: does the moon tells us about our evolution and can we evolve without it?  Our planet from the beginning would be a different world. The lack of a collision causes the core to be smaller and the planet to cool off faster. This cooler planet never develops plate tectonics and thus has very little mountain ranges or landmasses, causing the sea level to be higher.  Without the moon to slow us down the planet spins at double the speed, shortening the day and causing shrieking winds, extreme storms, and violent waves.  This rotation speed also churns the core and causes a stronger magnetic field that blocks radiation and slows the mutations that drive life. The planets tilt is also unregulated without a moon causing it to vary wildly, shifting the poles to the equator and back again. This extreme environment restricts the amount of complexity that can develop, and any organisms that do develop must survive in environments that shift to extreme opposites often and randomly.  This extreme world would most likely create organisms that are like nothing we have ever seen before, and would never allow the evolution of any of the ancestral groups that lead to our species or anything alive today. The moon tells us that our evolution needed a weaker magnetic field, slower days, calmer winds, plate tectonics, consistent tilt, stable environments, and moonlight to create the ancestors that would eventually become all of the life we know today.  Sure, life can develop without these requirements but this life would be on its own path far away from our own.

So...primates would never exist because there would be no tall trees for them to drive their development. There would be no food to feed them because the strong winds would not allow the development of the flowering plants, and thus the evolution of most of the insects. The lack of plate tectonics partnered with the lack of tides would never create the inner tidal pools and gradual shorelines that helped the first land animals evolve. The shrieking winds would not allow the development of our ancestor’s vocal or hearing abilities which takes away our language, probably the most important part of humanity.  Our ability to stand tall and upright, speak, see, hear, taste, and even think has been taken away.  No part of the primate could exist without the moon.

Our moon made us who we are.  Maybe we should look up at the sky and take notice a little more, and maybe even tell that big ball of ancient debris “thank you!”!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Evidence For Great Ape Common Ancestry - The Chromosome Fusion

Part 1:

Evidence for evolution using the chromosome fusion found in humans (a.k.a the sciencey stuff)

All members of Hominidae (chimpanzees/bonobos, gorillas, humans, orangutans) have 24 pairs of chromosomes, except humans. Homo sapiens have 23 pairs, or 46 total chromosomes…so a pair of chromosomes are missing.

If an entire pair of chromosomes got lost it would have killed us, so there are only two possibilities. If we share a common ancestor with the great apes, that ancestor either had 48 or 46 chromosomes.  All the great apes have 48 so it is more likely that the common ancestor had the same. So, if it had 48, what must have happened is that one pair of chromosomes fused together.  If evolution is correct, we should be able to look at the genome and find two chromosomes that in the great apes correspond to one chromosome in humans.

So let's simplify the structure of the chromosome:

You have a centromere in the center sandwiched between 2 telomeres that are made up of many small DNA repeats running to the end of the chromosome. The section that lies right before the telomeres is a unique pattern called the pre-telomeric region.

If we type this out short hand:

The telomere at the end of DNA functions to protect the ends during replication, but the ends are very vulnerable to mutations or deletions. They protect the ends through long stretches of simple DNA sequences that are repeated many times (TTAAAGGG TTTAAGG TTAGGGG). The telomeres tend to shorten over time and are restored by an enzyme which lengthens the sequence. If the telomere becomes too short, errors in duplication can occur and lead to cancers.

So, hypothetically, if two chromosomes fused at their telomeres …what should we expect to find?

We should find at least…
  1. Not one centromere but two centromeres
  2. Not a centromere in the center, but two additional telomere sequences together
  3. Not two pre-telomeric regions but four pre-telomeric regions  
In summary it should resemble this:
Do we have any chromosomes that look like this?

Human chromosome 2 to the rescue!

Chromosome 2 is the second largest human chromosome, spanning more than 243 million base pairs (building blocks of DNA, guanine-cytosine and adenine-thymine), it represents almost 8% of the total DNA in cells and contains at least 1,491 genes. The human chromosome 2 is accepted to be a result of an end– to–end fusion of two ancestral chromosomes back in our ape past.

So can we find all of the required parts above?

There are DNA sequences in the human chromosome 2 that are identical to sequences in the chimpanzee, but instead of being located in one chromosome the sequences for the human chromosome 2 are found in two chimpanzee chromosomes. Our chromosome 2 is made up of the chimpanzee chromosome 13 which forms the short arm (2p) and the chimpanzee chromosome 12 which forms the long arm (2q).  That is, most of the genes in the chimpanzee chromosome 13 are found in human 2p, and most of the genes in the chimpanzee chromosome 12 are in human 2q. This is also true for the more distant gorilla and orangutan.

When laid end-to-end, the chimpanzee chromosomes 12 and 13 create identical banding to the human chromosome 2 arms 2p and 2q.  

Normally a chromosome has just one centromere in the center but in humans, chromosome 2 has remnants of a second called a vestigial centromere. The active centromere of the short arm (2p) lines up with the chimp chromosome 13 centromere and the inactive long arm centromere (2q) correspond with the chimp chromosome 12 centromere. So both are found exactly where expected!

Remains of the telomere sequences from chimp chromosomes 13 and 12 are located in the center of the human chromosome 2, where the ancestral chromosomes fused.

We have even located the precise site of chromosome 13 and 12 fusion on the human chromosome 2 at base number 114, 455, 823 (give or take 15)!

The predicted sequence for the fusion is present. The chimpanzee telomere in 13 that fused to the telomere of 12 to create the full human chromosome 2 fused in a way that when we line them all up together to compare, we have to read the inactive sections in the long arm the opposite way. So this means that we not only have all the parts that correspond with the chimpanzee chromosomes 13 and 12, but they are also reversed in the 2nd part of the chromosome!

13/short arm 2p------------> <----------- 12/long arm 2q

What is the point of this fusion?
Having 46 chromosomes is not better than having 48 so there is no obvious reason why a designer would fuse two chromosomes in humans and leave them unfused in apes. The only advantage possible would be if the fusion of the two telomeres caused a new gene or a new activity at the fusion point.

If the fusion did give an advantage, it would come from new genes being created or by a gene’s expression being changed in some way. There are a lot of easier ways to create new genes or to change gene activities, especially for a designer. Currently, there is no evidence for an advantage for the fusing two chromosomes.

The fusion point of the two telomeres in the short arm (2p) and the long arm (2q) as well as the inactive pre-telomeric region and centromere have now built up mutations but this is even more evidence for common ancestry.  Evolution predicts that DNA collects random mutations, and that sometimes they do not do anything at all and get passed on. And even though there has been several million years of deterioration, there are sections that match even up to 90% to their corresponding sequences.

A common designer predicts the DNA mutations have a purpose … but this fusion does not give humans any advantage. This fusion is not the only difference between people and apes, as there are millions of other changes throughout the chromosomes. It is these other changes that we find our differences when we look at the great apes.

The only way this fusion makes sense is through a common ancestry with apes, where our common ancestor had 48 chromosomes and at some point after we split away from the chimpanzee the 13 and 12 chromosomes fused into our chromosome 2. This fusion doesn't “make” us human and it doesn't give us an advantage. The fusion was most likely just another mutation that happened to occur in the highly vulnerable telomere.

If you don’t accept evolution, what then is the purpose of creating a chromosome that only appears to be two ape chromosomes that fused but actually isn't  Or what’s the purpose for creating a chromosome only for humans that actually IS from the fusing of two chromosomes…but that fusion does nothing at all?

Part 2: 

Are we alone out there in the chromosome fusion world?

We had a chromosome fusion in our past, but are we the only ones? Definitely not! Chromosome fusions are absolutely found in other species! So, since we can't look at our 47 chromosome ancestor and ask how they accomplished it all…lets look at some things that are alive and well today.

Indian muntjac
A great (and cute) example are the muntjacs, also known as the Barking Deer. Most people don’t know what these animals are but they are the oldest known deer alive today, with their family dating back to possibly 35 million years. There are different subspecies that inhabit different areas including South Asia, Sri Lanka, southern ChinaIndonesiaTaiwan, and Japan, and it is because of these separate areas that the muntjacs have become so special.

The muntjacs, particularly the Indian muntjacs, have very interesting chromosome numbers. Remember we were just throwing a fit about a change from 48 to 46 above?…well, the female Indian muntjac is sitting at 6 chromosomes, and the males are not much better at 7 chromosomes. The females and males though have different chromosome numbers, mate and reproduce just fine. This is an example of an extreme reduction in chromosome numbers that has resulted from many fusions in several chromosomes.

Other species with variation in chromosome numbers…
§        Tufted deer – 46 F/M, 47 F/M, and 48 F/M variations - closest living relative
§ South China muntjacs – 46 F/M 
§         Myanmar and Thailand muntjacs – 14 F, 13 M
§         Anhui China muntjacs – 8 F, 9 M
§         Indian muntjacs – 6 F, 7 M

Full list:

Tufted deer
The Indian muntjacs possess the lowest chromosome numbers of any mammal with 6 F and 7 M. The Chinese muntjacs are on the same level as us with 46 chromosomes, but variants of 47 and 48 are found in both sexes. The Indian and Chinese populations though have very different chromosome numbers, can actually produce viable offspring hybrids that will end up having 27 chromosomes total.

Based on observed numbers in muntjacs, they have a chromosome number change rate of 1.08 - 2.11 per million years! This change is among the fastest in vertebrates! Within the muntjac subfamily, the fastest evolutionary rate is found in the Myanmar and Thailand lineages (14F, 13M) in which diverged from each other in only about 0.5 million years. Much research needs to be done on the driving force for these rapid changes…but nevertheless, it's just…badass.

Also included in the group of organisms that have chromosome number variations is the swamp wallaby (10 F and 11 M), 3 species of cottontail rabbits (38, 42, and 46) and the gibbon (38, 44, 50, and 52). In a recent report on of a species of island mice, their chromosome numbers nearly cut in half in less than 500 years. That’s what a small breeding population and a fast generation time does to you!

In the end, chromosome fusions look dramatic and confusing but animals have been fusing their chromosomes probably since the beginning. We have 2 less chromosomes than the great apes, and the Indian muntjac has up to 42 chromosomes less than the Chinese muntjac (and they can probably interbreed).

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Evidence for Evolution – Development of the Mammal Kidney

Our own kidney development does not successively resemble an adult fish, amphibian, and reptile before developing mammal characteristics, but we show developmental features resembling our young ancestors.

It turns out that in utero, we as mammals develop three separate kidneys in succession, absorbing the first two before we end up with what will eventually become our adult kidney. The first two kidneys reprise embryonic kidneys of ancestral forms in the proper evolutionary order.

The video below (though in French) shows the production and absorption of the first two ancestral kidneys, as well as the development of the third kidney, the mammalian kidney.

Pronephric kidney (0- 12 seconds)
The Pronephric kidney begins to form at about three weeks in human development. It consists of an organ that in primitive, jawless vertebrates like the hagfish filters wastes from the body cavity and excretes them. The Pronephric kidney does not function in mammals because it begins to disappear shortly after the next kidney forms.

Mesonephric kidney (14 – 40 seconds)
The mesonephric kidney, instead of filtering waste from the body cavity, filters waste from the blood and excretes them through a pair tubes called mesonephric ducts. This kidney eventually will develop into the adult kidney of fish and amphibians. This kidney functions within the human embryo for a few weeks, but also disappears during the final kidney development.

Metanephric kidney (42 seconds – end)
The Metanephric kidney begins development within humans about five weeks into gestation, and consists of an organ like the mesonephric kidney that filters waste from the blood, but excretes them through a pair of new tubes, ureters. In the embryo, the wastes are excreted directly into the amniotic fluid. The Metanephric kidney is the final kidney of reptiles, birds, and mammals.

Male development

Female development

The development of three kidneys begs for explanation, and it sure does not make a lot of sense through the creationist view. The exclamation through an evolutionary view is the fact that the first two kidneys resemble, in order, those of primitive aquatic vertebrates (hagfish), and aquatic and semi aquatic vertebrates (fish and amphibians) in evolutionary order. We go through developmental stages that show organs resembling those of our ancestors because we are descended from fish and amphibians.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Macroevolution and "Kinds"

For the listeners to the Dogma Debate, this is the show on 1/2/13 and I discuss macroevolution, "kinds", and how they bridge together using the big cats and related families.

*Currently excuse typos as I typed this today! A more formal form will be coming in the near future!


To show macroevolution you have to look at several different but similar groups that link together back in time. This can be an ancient reptile evolving into a mammal or an ancient monkey evolving into a human over time..but creationists misunderstand this because they want animals such as the "crocoduck".  Evolution will never produce this because crocodiles are not ancestors of ducks...they share a common ancestor. If we want to show the macroevolution of crocodiles and ducks we must start with crocodiles and move backwards until its last common ancestor with all birds. You will see the macroevolution of crocodiles to simpler reptiles, which can then be traced back forward in time to the birds to the duck. A chimpanzee didn't evolve into a human and a gecko didn't evolve into a horse. They share common ancestors.

To find macroevolution with modern animals you must find the animals that are closely related and then move backwards through the next closest families. This is what we will be doing! We will be linking the big cats to animals such as civets, which are considered different "kinds" and even showing the similarities to other groups such as mongooses, dogs, and bears.

Since we are using animals alive today...they didn't evolve into each other but instead share characteristics. As the groups become less and less related, their shared characteristics also become less...and eventually they look completely different.

Every animal we look at shared a common ancestor and have evolved into different species since that since. What we can see with modern animals is the animals that have maintained more of the common ancestors features will actually be representing the ancient populations. The older the family the less they have in common with whatever animal you are looking at.

Macroevolution does not happen genetically as a cat cannot be born from a civet, but macroevolution is represented in the shared characteristics in modern animals. In this blog we will be linking the cats all the way down the line to civets and further. 

Creationist "kind" classification

According to Answers in Genesis and Creationwiki, if animals can interbreed they are the same created "kind". They state that even non-breeding can be the same "kind", admitting that there might be blurring lines. They also state that the scientific classification of Family is very similar to a "kind", but they believe there is some intermixing of these groups (really whenever they feel like it, no structure involved) so what they consider a "kind" is very confusing.

Answers Research Journal 4 (2011): 195-201.

Creation scientists believe that Noah fit all the animals in the Ark by bringing in original pairs of one "kind", in which can then mutate and speciate into all of the species today.  (Yes, according to AiG they accept that animals can mutate and speciate from natural selection) This means that an original "cat kind" left the ark and became all of the species we know today...interbreeding or not. It is at the point above "kind" that they believe no transitional animals exist.

They state " It is impossible to identify in such specimens many of the important features that have historically defined mammals, as soft tissue is nearly always absent. Even the skeletal remains can be fragmentary, making their placement difficult and severely limiting our understanding of how they appeared in life" (  so I will avoid using them but fossils are EXTREMELY important in understanding how families link together. The fossils are really just too difficult for them so they ignore them completely. quote: “The concept of kind is important for understanding how Noah fit all the animals on the Ark. If kind is at the level of family/order, there would have been plenty of room on the Ark to take two of every kind and seven of some. For example, even though many different dinosaurs have been identified, creation scientists think there are only about 50 “kinds” of dinosaurs.”

Note: Creationists may recognize the Family classification but they completely ignore the next step up, the Suborder. It is completely left out of their websites...and this category happens to be THE category that bridges the Families together! Convenient.

Offical answers in genesis list of mammalian ark kinds:

Examples of species forming a "kind" from Answers in Genesis

Able to interbreed:
  • Lion + Tiger = Same "cat kind"
  • Horse + Donkey = Same "horse kind"
Unable to interbreed:
  • Wolf + Fox or Coyote + African wild dog = Still same "dog kind"

To keep things simple we will stick with 3 accepted "kinds", though a few others will be shown for comparison. These 3 groups are considered original ancestors and can never be linked together.

Answers in Genesis accepted "kinds" we will bridge together

  • Family - Felidae (fee-leh-day) - Everything they consider a cat.

    • Family - Viverridae (veh-vair-eh-day) - Everything they consider a civet.
    • Family - Nandiniidae (nan-din-eh-day) - The strange accepted "kind" involving only one type of civet.

    These 3 kinds can not only be linked together but can also then be linked to...

    • Family - Herpestidae (herp-est-eh-day) - Mongoose

    • Family - Hyaenidae (hi-aye-ee-neh-day) - Hyenas
    • Family - Canidae (cane-eh-day) - Dogs, wolves, and foxes
    • Family - Ursidae (urse-eh-day)- Bears
    • and many more we dont have time for today

    Each is labeled with its common name but nothing else. This is because you aren't supposed to know where each animal fits in each "kind" until the end...Keep in mind that even if something is called a "brown civet", it doesn't always mean creationists consider it in the "civet kind" could be placed in the "cat kind" and even outside the original 3 "kinds". All extra information about classifications and "kinds" are at the end.

    Most creationists cant even recognize where the "kinds" are even though creationists claim the lines between them are absolute and noticeable.

    All you must do now is look at these animals and ask yourself is it a "cat kind", a "civet kind", an "african palm civet kind", or even if it belongs to other groups including the "mongoose kind". "bear kind" or "dog/fox kind" watch out for random foxes, bears, dogs, and raccoons!

    By the way: These animals are not always in order of relatedness but each animal IS related to another in the group. There are also many more animals in between these showing the gradual shared characteristics, but we will only look at 8 today.

    Let's start!
    1.) Lion

    2.) Leopard

    3.) Clouded leopard

    4.) Margay

    5.) Spotted Linsang and Banded Linsang

    6.) Spotted Gennet

    7.) Indian civet 
    (Remember this doesnt automatically place it in the "civet kind")

    8.) Asian palm civet 
    (Remember this doesnt automatically place it in the "civet kind")

    9.) African palm civet 
    (Remember this doesnt automatically place it in the "civet kind")

    These next animals I will not name and are for the people who followed along in this blog. So what are these animals "kinds"? Are these cats? dogs/foxes? mongooses? bears? raccoons? weasels? something else?


    raccoon dogs

    Answers - Scientific classifications and creationist "kinds"

    1.) Lion
    Scientific Classification
    Family - Felidae
    Suborder- Feliformia
    Order - Carnivora &
    Considered to be the "cat kind", or Felidae by most creationists.

    The lion can interbreed with the other big cats (jaguar, tiger, leopard) with varying degrees of success from infertile but living offspring to stillborn. This animal is part of the "cat kind", or the Family Felidae and is part of the cat-like Feliformia.

    2.) Leopard
    Scientific Classification
    Family - Felidae
    Suborder- Feliformia
    Order - Carnivora &

    Considered to be the "cat kind", or Felidae by most creationists.

    Can interbreed with the other big cats (jaguar, tiger, leopard) with varying degrees of success from infertile but living offspring to stillborn.  This animal is part of the "cat kind", or the Family Felidae and is part of the cat-like Feliformia.

    3.) Clouded leopard
    Scientific Classification
    Family - Felidae
    Suborder- Feliformia
    Order - Carnivora &

    Considered to be the "cat kind", or Felidae by most creationists.

    Unable to interbreed with the 4 big cats but still very cat-like. This animal is part of the "cat kind", or the Family Felidae and is part of the cat-like Feliformia.

    4.) Margay
    Scientific Classification
    Family - Felidae
    Suborder- Feliformia
    Order - Carnivora &
    Considered to be the "cat kind", or Felidae by most creationists.

    Belongs with the group including cheetahs and ocelots. Group can interbreed with varying degrees of success from infertile but living offspring to stillborn.  Group as a whole unable to reproduce with any of the big cats. This makes sense as they have been separated from the big cats for longer.  This animal is part of the "cat kind", or the Family Felidae and is part of the cat-like Feliformia.

    5.) Spotted and Banded linsang
    Scientific Classification
    Family - Prionodontidae
    Suborder - Feliformia
    Order - Carnivora &
    Not mentioned by Answers in Genesis or Creationwiki.  Not even listed on the list of families of Carnivora. ( In short, completely ignored.

    The linsangs represent the closest group to the Felidae. The linsangs are quite cat-like and are often mistaken to be felines. This is because they still belong to the Suborder Feliformia, meaning they are related to the cats, and have cat-like features instead of dog-like features. Is it a coincidence that the closest living relative to cats linking to the civets is not mentioned...?

    6.) Spotted Genet
    Scientific Classification
    Family - Viverridae
    Suborder - Feliformia
    Order - Carnivora &
    Considered to be the"civet kind", or Viverridae by creationists. (

    Cat-like carnivore thats also placed in the suborder Feliformia with the cats and linsangs. This animal is not considered a cat anymore and creationists don't recognize the similarities linking them to the felines.

    7.) Indian civet
    Scientific Classification
    Family - Viverridae
    Suborder - Feliformia
    Order - Carnivora &
    Considered to be the"civet kind", or Viverridae by creationists. (

    Cat-like carnivore thats also placed in the suborder Feliformia with the cats and linsangs. This animal is not considered a cat anymore and creationists dont recognize the similarities linking them to the felines.

    8.) Asian palm civet
    Scientific Classification
    Family - Viverridae
    Suborder - Feliformia
    Order - Carnivora &
    Considered to be the"civet kind", or Viverridae by creationists. (

    Cat-like carnivore that's also placed in the suborder Feliformia with the cats and linsangs. This animal is not considered a cat anymore and creationists don't recognize the similarities linking them to the felines.

    9.) African palm civet
    Scientific Classification
    Family - Nandiniidae
    Suborder - Feliformia
    Order - Carnivora &
    Considered seperate family "African palm civet kind", or Nandiniidae, outside of civets and cats.
    Link broken on (

    Cat-like carnivore that's also placed in the suborder Feliformia with the cats and linsangs. This animal is not considered a cat anymore and creationists don't recognize the similarities linking them to the felines.

    Summarized relations:
    African palm civet split away from line earliest and maintains the primitive civet look
    Genet, Indian civet, and Asian palm civet ancestor split away next and then split becoming the civets
    Spotted linsang broke off the line right before the main Felidae cats and is similar to the previous african palm civet
    Clouded leopard broke off after the Spotted linsang and can only sometimes breed with other older cats like Ocelot and Margay.
    Lions, Leopards, Jaguars, and Tigers broke off after clouded leopards and can still sometimes breed within the group

    Hyenas developed from civet-like ancestors so their ancestor broke off before the Felidae and has developed into its dog-like form since.

    To see how each is related to each other in detail, wikipedia is actually great!  Just look up Carnivora, Feliformia, Viverridae, Nandiniidae, and Pronodontidae.

    Extra pictures
    1.) Banded mongoose - Creationists ="Mongoose kind" / Science = Feliformia (cat-like carnivore)
    2.) Yellow mongoose - Creationists ="Mongoose kind" / Science = Feliformia (cat-like carnivore)
    3.) Fennec fox - Creationists ="Dog kind" / Science = Caniformia (dog-like carnivore)
    4.) Raccoon dog - Creationists ="Dog kind" / Science = Caniformia (dog-like carnivore)
    5.) Red panda - Creationists ="Red panda kind" / Science = Caniformia (dog-like carnivore)
    6.) Brown hyena - Creationists ="Hyena kind"/ Science = Feliformia (cat-like carnivore)