Bird Classification Problem

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Bird classification problem described in New Scientist 11 Dec 2004, p11. Matthew Fain and Peter Houde of New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, USA have studied the gene for a protein called beta fibrinogen in an attempt to work out evolutionary relationships between different birds. They looked at differences in the DNA code letters in the bf gene in 150 bird families and concluded that birds classified as “Neoaves” (literally ”new birds”) really consist of two subgroups called “Metaves” and” Coronaves”. Neoaves includes all living birds other than waterfowl, land fowl or flightless birds.

They were surprised to find that birds seemingly related because they are similar in appearance and behaviour, were not in the same subgroups. For example: flamingos and roseate spoonbills are wading birds with long legs and similar heads, wings and plumage, but flamingos are in the Metave category and spoonbills in the Coronaves. The researchers found many examples of birds of similar form, behaviour and ecological niche that were divided between the two groups. In fact, both group had representatives of most types of birds. The researchers considered these to be examples of convergent evolution, i.e. living creatures evolving similar form and behaviour because they inhabit similar ecological niches. Peter Houde commented: “People have been trying to classify birds based on their appearance for hundreds of years. It is valuable at some levels, but when you get to really deep divergences, you just hit a wall.” In order to corroborate their results Fan and Houde are doing similar studies on 11 other bird genes.

Editorial Comment: Please note well: Creation Research predicts that classification of living things will ultimately show there are as many separate kingdoms as there were created kinds. The results of this study are no problem if you understand that each kind of bird is a unique combination of non-unique components resulting from the fact that each kind was made separately and kinds are biologically unrelated.

The best way to classify living creatures is to group them together on the basis of number of similar characteristics. This is what traditional taxonomists (people who classify living organisms) have been doing since the time of Linnaeus - the man who invented the first really workable method of classifying living things. Linnaeus believed that living creatures were created, according their kinds, as described in Genesis. His classification system was a means of organising our knowledge of living things and it worked. When the evolutionists took over taxonomy they assumed that the various groups and sub-groups within the classification system represented actual lines of descent, and therefore, all the organisms within one category should have the same genes and proteins. Trying to work out evolutionary relationships by comparing individual molecules has been tried in the past and generated nothing but confusion. Analysing individual genes is not going to produce any more coherent results.

We also predict that analysis of the 11 other bird genes will only produce more confusing results for evolutionists (Ref. birds, classification, genes)

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