Using creation science to demonstrate evolution 2: morphological continuity within Dinosauria
Creationist literature claims that sufficient gaps in morphological continuity exist to classify dinosaurs into several distinct baramins (‘created kinds’). Here, I apply the baraminological method called taxon correlation to test for morphological continuity within and between dinosaurian taxa. The results show enough morphological continuity within Dinosauria to consider most dinosaurs genetically related, even by this creationist standard. A continuous morphological spectrum unites the basal members of Saurischia, Theropoda, Sauropodomorpha, Ornithischia, Thyreophora, Marginocephalia, and Ornithopoda with Nodosauridae and Pachycephalosauria and with the basal ornithodirans Silesaurus and Marasuchus. Morphological gaps in the known fossil record separate only seven groups from the rest of Dinosauria. Those groups are Therizinosauroidea + Oviraptorosauria + Paraves, Tazoudasaurus + Eusauropoda, Ankylosauridae, Stegosauria, Neoceratopsia, basal Hadrosauriformes and Hadrosauridae. Each of these seven groups exhibits within-group morphological continuity, indicating common descent for all the group’s members, even according to this creationist standard.