Baraminology of Kirkiaceae

Baraminology of Kirkiaceae

The Kirkiaceae is a tiny family of flowering plants native to eastern Africa and Madagascar.  Only six species are classified in the family and very little is written or known about them. Very few research articles have discussed them and very little data exists, therefore any baraminology of the family is, of necessity, tentative. However, we will attempt to frame a baraminology of Kirkiaceae.

Hybridization is unknown within the family. This is in part due to lack of study and in part because of the taxonomic instability in the Plant kingdom. As best we can determine, Kirkiaceae was only erected in 2008, after being classified as a subfamily of Simaroubaceae for decades.[1]   Given that hybridization is unknown in the family, a cognitive approach must be used to determine the baramin.

Given that Kirkiaceae was formerly placed in Simaroubaceae, that family will be used as a cognitive outgroup to determine whether there is enough difference to warrant the family being placed as their own baramin.  Kirkiaceae are either shrubs or trees, with relatively small, shallow flowers and opposite pinnatisect leaves. The leaf structure is identical to that of Simaroubaceae, while the flower structure is variably different as Simaroubaceae flowers tend to be deeper and more slender. The primary reason Kirkiaceae was split from Simaroubaceae was its inability produce two special chemicals types. The two types of chemicals, quassinoids and limonoids, serve various functions, including, in both cases, serving as antifeedants, deterring animals and insects from eating them. Kirkiaceae does not produce these chemicals. However, given that the exact biochemical pathways and genes controlling the production of these two types of chemicals are, apparently, unknown(at least I was unable to locate a paper discussing this) I am hesitant to split Kirkiaceae and Simaroubaceae into separate baramins on that basis alone.  It is possible that Kirkiaceae’s lack of these defensive chemicals is a post-fall mutation. Therefore, it is difficult to justify splitting the two on that basis without further information.

Phylogenetics, which I frequently appeal to as a hostile witness, is of absolutely no use in this instance. In fact, it deomstrates why it is a completely failed experiment in science and cannot provide evidence for evolution. The most recent phylogenetic study of outgroup Simaroubaceae was based on three chloroplast DNA genes (cpDNA) and one nuclear gene for a total of approximately just 6,000 base pairs.[2] This is absurd on a lot of levels, not least of which being similarity in 6000 base pairs is not nearly enough to claim relationship. Other studies are no better. Given that some plants have genomes with 100,000 megabases,[3] claiming that a mere 6,000 base pairs is enough to determine relationship is absolute lunacy. Kirkiaceae is even worse. Its phylogeny is based on analysis of a single gene.[4] One gene is not nearly enough to determine relationships. Why the evolutionists bothered with just one gene is a mystery to me.  Unfortunately the sequences of DNA used for these phylogenies have not been made publicly available. Nor has any other DNA been made available to use BLAST sequence comparison on to determine relationship. Therefore, DNA data cannot, at present, inform our understanding of a potential Kirkiaceae baramin.

Given how little information is available regarding Kirkiaceae, and the general uncertainty regarding the classification of plants it could be related to, it is impossible to make a firm decision regarding its baraminology. It could well be a member of Simaroubaceae which has lot the ability to produce the chemicals characteristic to that family. Very little else differs from that family. Therefore, it seems to make logical sense that Kirkiaceae could be rolled into Simaroubaceae. However, it is dangerous to make such a determination based on the tiny amount of available evidence. Therefore, while this conclusion is logical based on what we know, we know too little to hold such a conclusion with any dogmatism or determination. Kirkiaceae’s correct classification in a creationist baraminology must await further study and information.


[1] Julien B. Bachelier and Peter K. Endress. “Floral Structure of Kirkia (Kirkiaceae) and its Position in Sapindales.” Annals of Botany 102, no. 4 (2008) Pages 539-550.

[2] Joshua W. Clayton et al. “Molecular phylogeny of the Tree-of-Heaven Family (Simaroubaceae) based on chloroplast and Nuclear Markers” International Journal of Plant Sciences 168, no.9 (2007) Pages 1325-1339.


[3] A megabase is 1 million base pairs.

[4] Bachelier and Endress, 2008.

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