Addresses of All Authors

Neal A. Doran, Bryan College, Department of Biology 7795, 721 Bryan Drive, Dayton, TN 37321 USA, neal.doran@bryan.edu

Matthew A. McLain, The Master’s University, Department of Biological and Physical Sciences, 21726 Placerita Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, CA 91321 USA

N. Young, Bryan College, Department of Biology 7795, 721 Bryan Drive, Dayton, TN 37321 USA

A. Sanderson, Bryan College, Department of Biology 7795, 721 Bryan Drive, Dayton, TN 37321 USA

Author's Biography

Neal Doran is professor of biology and director of Bryan College’s Center for Creation Research (CRC), in Dayton, Tennessee. Prior to coming to Bryan he taught at Patrick Henry College. He is a founding member of the Creation Biology Society and member of the Creation Geology Society. His graduate training is in paleontology (Ph.D., geology) and the History of Science (M.A.). At Bryan College he teaches courses on biology, geology and the philosophy of science.

Matthew McLain is assistant professor of biology and geology at The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, CA, where he teaches courses on paleontology and geology. He has a BS in Geology (Cedarville University) and a PhD in Earth Sciences (Loma Linda University). He has published paleontology papers in both the conventional and creationist literature.

Natalie Young is a senior majoring in biology at Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee.

Adam Sanderson is a junior majoring in biology at Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee.


The Dinosauria pose both interesting and challenging questions for creationist systematists. One question is whether new dinosaur discoveries are closing morphospatial gaps between dinosaurian groups, revealing continuous morphological fossil series, such as between coelurosaurians and avialans. Questions such as these underscore the importance of systematics for resolving correct group memberships, including tools for visualizing morphospatial relationships. Baraminic distance correlation (BDC), three-dimensional multidimensional scaling (MDS), and a new method to baraminic studies – principal component analysis (PCA) – were applied to 18 character matrices from 2004. The data included saurischian and ornithischian dinosaur groups including (1) “basal” Saurischia, (2) Ceratosauria (including Coelophysidae), (3) “basal” Tetanurae, (4) Tyrannosauroidea, (5) “Prosauropoda”, (6) Sauropoda, (7) Maniraptoriformes, (8) Therizinosauroidea, and (9) Oviraptorosauria. The ornithischians included (10) “basal” Thyreophora, (11) Stegosauria, (12) Ankylosauria, (13) “basal” Ornithopoda, (14) “basal” Iguanodontia, (15) Hadrosauridae, (16) Pachycephalosauria, (17) “basal” Ceratopsia, and (18) Ceratopsidae. BDC and MDS revealed several potential holobaramins and apobaramins, and PCA identified some divisions not recognized by the traditional methods, but since the datasets are 14 years old, many important taxa are missing.

As a result, we performed PCA on 19 newer datasets (from 2009 to 2018) and compared the results, which revealed a substantially clearer picture since only 2004. Dinosaur group ordinations commonly occur within morphospatial clusters or linear series. Holobaramins were revealed mainly as closely-spaced morphospatial series of taxa. Some series were additionally stratomorphic. Assuming holobaramins are discontinuity-bounded morphospatial series of taxa, we estimate 27 potential holobaramins within the newer data. PCA revealed that bird-dinosaur morphospatial relationships vary by dataset. Paravians likely contain two branching morphoseries, connected at the base by dromaeosaurs and avialans. The two morphoseries are functional/ecological, rather than evolutionary. Multivariate analysis offers the potential to improve our understanding of baramins and discontinuity, and provide a new perspective on questions in creation systematics such as bird-dinosaur relationships.


Biology | Paleontology


Dinosauria, baraminology, multidimensional scaling, baraminic distance correlation, principal component analysis, discontinuity




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