[Taxacom] counting the number of species on Earth ... for the Ark

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Mon Feb 24 14:10:08 CST 2014

Clearly, there are too many "knowers" and not enough arks! :)

From: "Ohl, Michael" <Michael.Ohl at mfn-berlin.de>
To: "'taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu'" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> 
Sent: Tuesday, 25 February 2014 2:04 AM
Subject: [Taxacom] counting the number of species on Earth ... for the Ark

Hi list,

I recently stumbled over a series of absurd papers on estimating the size of the global biodiversity of reptiles, which I would like to share with you.

Some of you have probably heard that there is an initiative to rebuild Noah's Ark today as an 'Ark Park'. See here: http://arkencounter.com/,and comments here: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/12/the-ark-park-needs-to-sink/.

If this is not weird enough, a series of papers were recently published in "Answers Research Journal" (sic!), on how to estimate the number of reptile species which have been aboard on the original Ark and how many have to be considered for planning the total capacity of the new one. As one can easily imagine, some of them are "potentially capable of surviving Flood conditions and therefore are not included on the Ark", which makes life easier for the architects and Noah himself. As an example, the author could demonstrate that Noah and his family had taken care of 11 turtle and 3 crocodile species, which "since that time ... have diversified into the plethora of species we marvel at today". The results are said to be based on available biosystematic data from molecular and hybridization studies and baraminology (a new word for me which I never heard before. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baraminology). 

In the first moment, it makes a lot of fun to read those papers, but after a while the entire absurdity becomes more and more apparent. It is hard to believe that those people are really serious ...

Oh well...

Cheers, Michael

Michael Ohl 
Museum fuer Naturkunde Berlin

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