During my brief time of home educating my children, I began creating a biology workbook on the classification of animals. I truly enjoyed reviewing biology and using my art and graphic design skills to create a simple and straightforward introduction to Carl Linneaeus’ taxonomy. When I made my way to the mammal section, I felt compelled to dedicate a page to the duck-billed platypus. What kid doesn’t love learning about a hairy, milk-producing, venomous animal that lays eggs?
As I sat writing a brief paragraph on the Australian monotreme, a verse from Genesis echoed in my head.
And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
How is a duck-billed platypus made “according to its kind?” It is a mammal… THAT LAYS EGGS! I put the thought out of my head and chalked it up to God getting a little creative.
Not too many months later, the kids were watching an awesome television show called, “Wild Kratts.” The show features 2 biologist brothers who begin the show by introducing an animal in its habitat. Upon seeking further information about the animal, the brothers transform themselves into cartoons where they actively participate in the animal’s daily life. One particular animal they taught about was the lemur.
“The lemur is native only to Madagascar,” one of the brothers stated.
“Hmmm… that’s interesting,” I thought to myself. “How does that work with the Flood story? The only two lemurs on the Ark traveled all the way to Madagascar before procreating? That’s just weird.”
As it turns out, there are lots of animals that are endemic to certain islands. The kangaroo, and the thorny devil lizard, are native only to Australia. The bird of paradise is only found on two islands near West Papua New Guinea. The Galapagos Islands are home to many endemic species.
Just a few months ago, I began reading books on evolution. I also looked at what Creationists had to say in defense of the Flood story. Not only was I inquiring about the migration of endemic animals, I also wanted to know if all species of could have fit inside the Ark. No doubt a Google search landed me on the Answers in Genesis website.
Ken Ham writes,
Was every species on the ark? No! From chapters such as Leviticus 11, it is obvious that the created kind (min in Hebrew, in Genesis 1:11–12, 21, 24–25) was a much broader category than the modern term of classification, species. Current baraminological research suggests that the created kind most closely corresponded to the family level in current taxonomy. However, to be conservative in this study, the genus was set as equivalent to the original created kind. As for the clean animals that entered the ark in seven pairs, this added a modest number of additional animals, notably bovids (cow-like mammals) and cervids (deer-like mammals). Under these conservative assumptions, there were no more than 16,000 land animals and birds on the ark.
We now know of over 50 species of lemurs, 3,000 species of snakes, 5,000 species of lizards, and 35,000 species of spiders, to name a few. Biologists define a species as “a group of individuals that, in nature, are able to mate and produce viable, fertile offspring.” This means that evolution had to happen in order to account for all the species we know of today. And that’s some very fast evolving to do in just over 4,000 years!