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Keywords:

  • Archaeopteryx;
  • baraminology;
  • classic multidimensional scaling;
  • coelurosauria;
  • creationism;
  • creation science;
  • Theropoda

Abstract

Senter’s strategy of arguing against creationism using their own methodology focused on demonstrating a morphological continuum between birds and nonavian dinosaurs using classical multidimensional scaling (CMDS), a method used by some creationists to assign species to assist in the detection of phylogenetic ‘discontinuities.’ Because creationists do not typically use CMDS in the manner Senter used it, his results were re-examined using ‘distance correlation,’ a method used to assign species to ‘created kinds.’ Distance correlation using Senter’s set of taxa and characters supports his conclusion of morphological continuity, but other sets of taxa with more characters do not. These results lessen the potential impact that Senter’s strategy might have on creationism; however, it is possible that future fossil discoveries will provide stronger support for morphological continuity between dinosaurs and birds.