What are Lumpers and Splitters in Taxonomy?

Lumpers and Splitters are defined as individuals or methodologies that broadly or narrowly group together similar members into a species (or other taxonomic rank).

Defining Lumpers and Splitters

Within the realm of taxonomy, there have always been those who are known as Lumpers and others known as Splitters. Those who are Lumpers will take many similar organisms and group them together as a single species. Splitters will take those same organisms and classify them as multiple species. While this may not sound like a significant issue, when put into practice it can have some dramatic effects. I remember, about 20 years ago, when it was suggested to split many of the dragonfly species in Ohio into multiples. The effect would have greatly increased the number of endangered species and the amount of local lands needed for their protection.

Hybridization as a Splitter

Within the realm of Baraminology the same effect occurs, but it is based more on the methodology that is used to determine Created Kinds. Determining Kinds by hybridization and the more classical methods of taxonomy tend to be the Splitters. The amount of data and research found in these methods needs to continue and grow in order to fully understand which are Kinds.

Statistics as a Lumper

On the other hand, Statistical Baraminology has thus far shown itself to be a Lumper by grouping together many more species, genera, or families than other methods yet allow. It will take time to determine if these results are correct or incorrect. However, it is very useful to help point researchers in the directions where data might be found to make the connections and discover continuity.

Turtle Example

A good example of this process can be seen in determining turtle Baramin. Evolutionary taxonomy classifies 14 families of turtles. A study by Timothy Brophy,
Wayne Frair, and Darlene Clark used hybridization and traditional techniques which determined a few connections and settled with 11 Kinds of turtles. A statistical study of turtles made by Todd Wood showed only 5 Kinds of turtles. Interestingly, the larger study did not find any evidence to falsify the study by Wood, but at the same time, did not have enough evidence to support it either.

For the writing of this book, the traditional / splitting method is favored. Where a significant difference is found, the suggested results of statistics is also given. It is expected that the coming decades will bring more data, more decisive results, and a more accurate number of Baramin.

Todd Elder

Todd Elder

Todd Elder has a deep desire to understand and experience Creation. As a Baraminologist, his current research includes developing the Katagenos Species Concept, the Natanzera Classification System, and the Floral Formula Method of determining Plant Kinds. As an author and speaker, his books and seminar materials are designed to encourage a growing relationship with the Creator.
Todd Elder

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