Editors Note: This article has been updated to include the most recent scientific studies. To see a visual representation of this information, check out the video on our YouTube channel.
For those unaware, one of the goals for In His Image this year is to do some preliminary work at least on dinosaur baramins. Therefore it makes sense for us to start the year analyzing the published Tyrannosaurid baramin from M. Aaron in the Answers Research Journal. This study uses the Todd Wood model of baraminology which operates under the title statistical baraminology. It is basically a reskin of evolutionary phylogenetics with some creationism sprinkled over the top. Eventually, I plan to do a complete breakdown of why Wood’s baraminology fails so badly. For the moment, however, let us consider Aaron’s analysis of the Tyrannosaurid baramin.
In order to reach his conclusions, Aaron used four evolutionary datasets from various phylogenetic papers. This is pretty standard for statistical baraminology since, in many cases, creationists do not have access to the fossils to record their own data. However, in using evolutionary datasets, we are implicitly assuming that the evolutionists are honest with the data. Given the spectacular rate of lies told by evolutionists in their books, and the numerous retractions from peer-reviewed journals for fraud yearly, this seems unwise. If it must be done, then it should be done highly critically and carefully, which I do not tend to see in the creation scientists trained in secular universities.
With that out of the way, let’s examine what Aaron determines. According to Aaron, the Tyrannosauridae family is a baramin. However, a few other taxa are included in the baramin. They include Bistahieversor, Appalachiosaurus, Dryptosaurus, Raptorex, Xiongguanlong, and potentially Eotyrannus. All told Aaron believes that around eighteen or nineteen genera are part of the Tyrannosaurid baramin. However, and this is not a fault of Aaron, but it is something he probably should have noted more firmly, many of the taxa in the baramin are fragmentary at best and probably should be folded into other genera.
Looking at the taxa involved leads to quite a few surprises. Dryptosaurus is incredibly fragmentary, leading to Aaron himself suggesting that more evidence might result in it being removed from the baramin. What he fails to mention are the numerous other taxa that also have fragmentary evidence. Quianzhousaurus consists of a single, fairly complete skull with some very unique elongated features, so much so it is nicknamed Pinnochio rex. The rest of the skeleton has yet to be found. Dynamoterror consists of a few vertebrae, fragments of ribs and a few toe bones. Nanotyrannus is potentially just a juvenile Tyrannosaurus (note added in proof, a recent study has proposed just this idea). Nanuqsaurus is known from a single fragment of the jawbone. Teratophoneus is known from a fragmentary skull. Zhuchengtyrannus is known from two fragmentary jaws and a few teeth. Eotyrannus is so fragmentary and badly mangled even the Wikipedia entry admits the scientists are not sure what parts are what. So, taking all that into account, the Tyrannosaurid baramin could lose as many as eight members out of nineteen just to fragmentation and lack of evidence. This does not include loss to sexual dimorphism, juvenile, versus adult sizes and morphology, and so on. Thus the Tyranosaurid baramin may reduce down to perhaps three or four genera under analysis.
Unfortunately, because of the fragmentary nature of the fossils, it is difficult to get an accurate reading on the Tyranosaurid baramin. Aaron’s effort is noble, but, because he is using evolutionary datasets, he does not deal with any of the fragmentary fossils other than Dryptosaurus. This is an artifact of his data and not his fault. However, he fails completely to interact with this failure of the evolutionary dataset. This throws the entire analysis into disarray. How can you claim to have correctly analyzed the Tyrannosaurid baramin when you failed to address the giant elephant in the room?
Unfortunately, these issues are part and parcel of statistical baraminology and their reliance on evolutionary datasets. The evolutionists do not address their issues, they simply gloss over them and when creationists uncritically use their datasets, they do the same. Frankly, we need to be held to a higher standard than that.
So is Aaron’s Tyrannosaurid baramin valid? In spite of its flaws, I think its potentially valid, or at least close to accurate. However, it completely failed to examine Allosaurids as a possible connection, which seems odd, particularly since it included Eotyrannus. I would like to see a more comprehensive examination of theropods as I suspect, was this done, there would be a massive drop in the number of theropod kinds creationists propose. And that’s why we at In His Image are working on a preliminary dinosaur kind project. Stay tuned to these pages as we work through kinds of dinosaurs this year and feel free to suggest dinosaurs you’d like to see go under the baraminology microscope.
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