Posted by: paulgarner | May 6, 2010

Hominid baraminology

Over the last twenty years, baraminology has been developed as an explicitly creationist method of classifying and categorizing organisms. The idea is to use many different criteria to ‘home in’ on the created kinds by looking for holistic similarities and differences. Many groups have been studied using these methods – including grasses, sunflowers, turtles, cats and horses – but what happens when they are applied to humans, apes and fossil hominids? Well, Todd Wood has taken the first step towards addressing this question in an exciting paper published this week in the Answers Research Journal (Wood 2010).

Todd’s study is interesting for several reasons, not least because it confirms the key creationist prediction that humans are discontinuous with non-human primates and should be assigned to a separate created kind. Indeed, the taxa included in the study appear to cluster into four discontinuous groups: (1) the genus Homo (including Australopithecus sediba), (2) the genus Paranthropus, (3) Australopithecus africanus, and (4) Gorilla, Pan, Australopithecus afarensis and Australopithecus garhi. This is very significant because some critics have suggested that humans and non-human primates are so similar that baraminological techniques would end up classifying them in the same created kind. This study shows that not to be the case.

More controversially, however, the human baramin as elucidated in this study includes Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis and Australopithecus sediba, a conclusion which is likely to be a matter of dispute among at least some creationists. To be honest I’m not all that surprised about habilis and rudolfensis, because I’ve long wondered whether they ought to be included within the human baramin. I hinted as much concerning rudolfensis in chapter sixteen of my book. I’m a bit more suprised about sediba, but if that’s what the data say then that’s what the data say. As Todd himself comments, “I’d hate to deny someone’s basic humanity because their arms were too long.” However, it should be noted that the inclusion of these taxa within the human baramin is only tentative and based on datasets that consisted solely of craniodental data. It is possible – perhaps even likely – that these preliminary conclusions will have to be revised if postcranial data are included in a future analysis.


Wood, T. C. 2010. Baraminological analysis places Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis, and Australopithecus sediba in the human holobaramin. Answers Research Journal 3:71-90.



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