On the Concept of ‘Mammalian Ark Kinds’

Comments on the AiG-article ‘Mammalian Ark Kinds

Abstract
: I have evaluated three examples of Mammalian kinds, according to the article ‘Mammalian Ark Kinds’ by Jean K. Lightner. The ‘Great ape kind’, the ‘Cat kind’, and the ‘Rhinoceros Kind’, using genetic information available on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/.

I found that in all three cases, the genetics talks against these groups originating from a single pair of individuals some 4400 years ago.

Key Words: mtDNA, Nuclear genes, Biblical kinds.

In her article 'Mammalian Ark Kinds' (Lightner 2012), Jean Lightner identify Great Apes, Cats and Rhinos among some 130 mammalian ‘Ark Kinds’. Each ‘kind’ in this sense, is supposed to be represented by individuals that descended from a single (or in some cases 7) pairs of individuals on board the Ark.
The genetic differences between species of the same ‘kind’ is then supposed to originate from the fact that two individuals have a total of four copies of each nuclear gene. Given that these copies can be different alleles of the same gene, mixing these alleles then is supposed to have resulted in the variation in genetics found between species of the same ‘kind’ living today. Mutations will add to the variation, but only to a limited degree, as only 4400 years are supposed to have past, since the Flood.
The mitochondrion carries its own genome, which is only inherited through the female line. This means that in the mitochondrial genome, the so-called mtDNA, only mutations can account for the variation between species.

Based on these facts, the idea of ‘Mammalian Ark Kinds’ can be tested by investigating the genetics of the species in question. I have done that in the cases of Great apes, Cats, and Rhinos.

 

Great Apes
Lightner identify six species in the ‘Great ape kind’. Two species of each of the genera Pan, Gorilla and Pongo. Comparing the mtDNA from these species reveal that the homology between the genura Pan and Gorilla on the one side, and the genus Pongo on the other is about 85%. When you include Humans (Homo sapiens) in the analysis it shows that the homology between Pan and Homo is about 91%, the homology between Homo and Gorilla is about 89%, and the homology between Homo and Pongo is about 85%. These results correspond very poorly with the expectations if Great apes and Humans where completely unrelated, while Great apes had a common ancestor 4400 years ago.

Cats
The Cat family include some 40 species. The nuclear IRBP-gene has been sequenced from a number of the species, and I used the sequence information from this gene to see if it confirms the idea that they originated from a common ancestor some 4400 years ago.
Nine of the IRBP-sequences had the same length and high homology. To avoid the risk of comparing different, but partly homologous, loci of the same gene, I confined my analyses to these sequences. Two predictions can be made if these species originated from a single pair 4400 years ago. First, the sequences would fall into a maximum of four groups, each corresponding to one of the four original alleles, two in each individual in the ark. Second, the maximum number of differences within each group could be explained as mutations accumulated in the timeframe of 4400 years. The first prediction is indeed met. The genera Panthera, Uncia and Neofelis form one group. The genera Prionailurus and Otocolobus form another. The two last groups are monotypic: The genera Lynx and Felis form each a separate group.
The second prediction: that differences could be explained as mutations accumulated in 4400 years, was not met. Cats reproduce with a minimum generation time of one year. Therefor the differences found in each group, should be explicable as accumulation of mutations in 8800 generations (4400 generations in each line from the common ancestor to the present). The maximum number of differences between two species in the same group were in four cases found to be six or seven. We do not have information about mutation rates in the nuclear genome of cats, but in humans, it has been estimated to about 60 pr. generation (Jeanson and Tomkins 2016 p. 295). A human genome is about 6*109 nucleotides (3 billion nt. from each parent). That corresponds to one mutation in 108 nt. In 8800 generations, this would accumulate to 1 in about 11,400 nt. The IRBP-gene is 1274 nt. This means that the chance of a single mutation occurring in a gene of this length during that time would be 1:(11400/1274) = 1:9. The chance of 6 or 7 mutations occurring in 4400 years can thus be neglected.

Rhinos
The largest number of differences between two mtDNAs from Rhinos is about 1900 nt. In humans mutations rates in mtDNA has been estimated to 1 each 6 generations (Jeanson 2015). Generation time in Rhinos is about 6 years. This means that 4400*2/6 or about 1500 generations (counting both lines) have past in the last 4400 years. This would accumulate 1500/6 = 250 mutations, far from the 1900 actually found.

Additional comments
In all this, the question of selection has been neglected. Selection will weed out some of the mutations, resulting in even more discrepancy between predictions and observations in Cats and Rhinos.

Conclusion
We have seen that the concept of ‘Ark kind’ does not apply to any of the three selected examples in Lightner’s article. There are a few solutions to this:
1: Each kind should be divided into two or more kinds.
2: It should be argued that these species are among the kinds where seven pairs were on the ark.
3: It should be argued that mutation rates are much higher in these species than in Humans.
Solution 2 and 3 does not apply to the ‘Great ape kind’ though. The most obvious solution from a secular scientific standpoint, of course, is to reject the whole idea of ‘Kind’ and accept that no such groups ever existed.
None of the results, on the other hand, is inconsistent with the expectation from Evolution.

Literature
Lightner J. 2008. Mammalian Ark Kinds. Answers Research Journal 5: 151-204

Jeanson N. and Tomkins J. 2016. Genetics Confirms the Recent, Supernatural Creation of Adam and Eve. In: Searching for Adam. Ed by Terry Mortenson.

Jeanson N.T. 2015. A Young-Earth Creation Human Mitochondrial DNA “Clock”: Whole Mitochondrial Genome Mutation Rate Confirms D-Loop Results. Answers Research Journal 8: 375-378

 

Supplementary information
The sequences used in this work are (GenBank numbers):
mtDNA:
Human, Homo sapiens HQ260949
Chimp, Pan troglodytes JF727202
Bonobo, Pan paniscus HM015213
Western Gorilla, Gorilla gorilla NC_011120
Eastern gorilla, Gorilla beringei KM242275
Pongo pygmaeus NC_001646
Pongo abelii X97707
White Rhino, Ceratotherium simum: NC_001808
Indian Rhino, Rhinoceros unicornis: NC_001779.

IRBP-genes:
Lynx, Lynx lynx: AY525038
Cat, Felis bieti: AY525033
Leopard cat, Prionailurus bengalensis: AY525035
Pallas’s cat, Otocolobus manul: AY525039
Clouded leopard, Neofelis nebulosi: AY525032
Leopard, Panthera pardus: AY525041
Snow leopard, Uncia uncia: AY525042
Tiger, Panthera tigris: AY525037
Lion, Panthera leo: AY525036