Tuesday, September 13, 2005
BACKDATED: Baraminologist Taxonomy
Baraminology is described very well in the book Understanding the Pattern of Life (link is to my book review of it).
You can also see The Refined Baramin Concept for information on baraminology.
The Hybridization Database
One of the primary tasks for baraminologists is determining what the original created kinds were. Historically, the gold standard for determining created kinds is hybridization, or cross-breading. This has been practiced since at least Linnaeus. In order to pursue research along these lines, the Bryan College Center for Origins Research has been working on putting together a hybridization database of all known hybridization studies.
Recently, several statistical methods were developed for doing taxic analysis, which is especially useful when hybridization is impractical or not possible. Hybridization is an inclusive, not an exclusive, practice, meaning that failure of hybridization does not necessarily make two species belong to different baramins. For example, if a husband and wife can't have kids, it does not mean that they cease to be humans! There are certain animals who have diverged in ways that make breeding difficult (though sometimes it can be forced) or prevent it altogether. Therefore, statistical evaluation of character traits becomes important. However, note that all statistical methods rely on the choice of traits for examination.
BDIST is the first one of these, which stands for "baraminic distance". BDIST takes two species, and charts different character traits on a graph -- number of fingers, number of toes, average size, etc., using one species for the X line and the other for the Y line. The correlation between the species is then determined by viewing the "best fit" line that is generated. The nearer to a slope of 1 the line is, the more likely the two species are members of the same baramin.
Here is a description and download for the software.
A Quantitative Approach to Baraminology With Examples from the Catarrhine Primates, the original paper describing the method.
Anopa stands for "analysis of patterns", and it is used to view n-dimensional patterns in a 1, 2, and 3 dimensional space. Each character trait is considered a dimension. So, if you are studying 20 character traits across a number of species, your basic plot would have 20 dimensions. However, we can't really visualize more than 2 or 3 dimensions, so ANOPA projects the multidimensional patterns into 1, 2, or 3 dimensions. The way this projection is done is as follows:
- First determine the center point of the distribution (called the "centroid")
- Next, choose an "outlier" -- a species that is plotted but is assumed from the start to not be a member of the group. The patterns that are developed are in relationship to the line between centroid and the outlier.
- For each taxa, calculate:
- the distance along the line (the line between the centroid and the outlier) that they are at,
- the distance _from_ the line that they are at
- the rotation along the line that the are at, using the origin as a point of reference
- Convert the cylindrical coordinates to euclidean
You now have the cylindrical coordinates.
I am personally working on an ANOPA calculator/viewer, though I haven't had time to work on it recently.
The original paper describing ANOPA: ANALYSIS OF MORPHOLOGICAL GROUPINGS USING ANOPA, A PATTERN RECOGNITION AND MULTIVARIATE STATISTICAL METHOD: A CASE STUDY INVOLVING CENTRARCHID FISHES.
It's use in determining whether taxonomic groups are members of the same created kind is discussed here:
An Evaluation of Lineages and Trajectories as Baraminological Membership Criteria
I haven't read that one yet.
Classic Multidimensional Scaling
I haven't had time to look into this one yet. Sorry :( Anyway, here is the paper describing it:
Visualizing Baraminic Distances Using Classical Multidimensional Scaling