Faculty Publications and Presentations

Publication Date


Document Type



Biology | Poultry or Avian Science


Brophy, T.R. and M. Mullis. 2021. A baraminological analysis of the landfowl (Aves: Galliformes). Journal of Creation Theology and Science Series B: Life Sciences 11:55-64. https://www.coresci.org/jcts/index.php/jctsb/article/view/26


We performed a baraminological analysis on 60 extant landfowl taxa (Aves: Galliformes) using 102 morphological characters. Both baraminic distance correlation analysis and multidimensional scaling suggest the possibility of four holobaramins within the landfowl order: Megapodiidae, Cracidae, Numididae, and the remaining Phasianoidea. Hybridization, however, connects three of these holobaramins (six of the currently recognized families). Considering both sets of evidence, we conclude that the landfowl are composed of two holobaramins: Megapodiidae and [Phasianoidea + Cracidae]. The five currently recognized families in the superfamily Phasianoidea have, until recently, been considered subfamilies in a more broadly conceived family Phasianidae, so it should not be surprising that they are members of the same holobaramin. Perhaps the most surprising result of this study then, is the inclusion of the Cracidae in the phasianoid holobaramin. A closer inspection of our data along with more recent phylogenetic analyses of the landfowl, however, suggest that that the Cracidae are more closely related to the Phasianoidea than once assumed. This study emphasizes the continued value of hybridization data in baraminological research, illustrates the importance of using multiple lines of evidence when delimiting holobaramins, and is suggestive of the potential uses and limitations of statistical baraminology.