Special Guest: Jean K. Lightner, DVM

by Ark Encounter on July 3, 2014

Last week, some of our staff had the privilege of working with researcher and veterinarian, Dr. Jean Lightner. Dr. Lightner wrote two animal “kinds” studies for the Answers Research Journal: one on extant mammal “kinds” and the other on extant bird “kinds.” She spent the week establishing principles for animal designs with AiG research artist Joel Briggs and AiG assistant content writer Mike Belknap.

Dr. Jean Lightner

Dr. Jean Lightner discusses mammal and bird designs for the Ark. In the center is research artist, Joel Briggs; on the right is assistant content writer, Mike Belknap.

Over the course of the week, the team studied the variability we see within the living representatives of animal “kinds” and worked to determine how they may have looked on the Ark. This process is more complicated than you might imagine. Instead of simply blending the traits of living animals within each kind, our team sought to identify which characteristics are likely secondary rather than original. Variable traits include colors, patterns, body shapes, proportions, and sizes, and even some more complex features like toes, teeth, and ornamentation. Fossil representatives were also carefully considered.

Joel Briggs

Research artist Joel Briggs works on designing the Ark representative of the Galliformes “kind.”

In the near future, Dr. Lightner and Mike Belknap plan on releasing an article that will describe in greater detail the process of designing the Ark Galliformes (expressed today as chickens, turkeys, peafowl, etc.). Until then, which animal kinds are you most looking forward to seeing on the Ark? Let us know by commenting on our Facebook page!

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