Snake Hybridization: A Case for Intrabaraminic Diversity

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by Glen Fankhauser, M.S., and Kenneth B. Cumming, Ph.D.

In A. A. Snelling (Ed.) (2008). Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Creationism (pp. 117–132). Pittsburgh, PA: Creation Science Fellowship and Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research.

Abstract

Snakes have rarely been examined as examples of intrabaraminic variation due to the relative obscurity of knowledge regarding the subject of these secretive animals as well as the relative newness of the breeding of snakes. North American species of snakes of the genera Lampropeltis, Pituophis, and Elaphe, while classified in separate genera may actually be more closely related than evolutionary biology predicts.

This study examined intergeneric and interspecific hybridization of several species of colubrid snakes through the use of both natural breeding methods and scent disguise to fool the different species to interbreed. Eleven different species of three different genera were used in this experiment. Results of the crosses were as expected to resemble midpoints of color and pattern between the parental species. Banding patterns appeared to be dominant over blotches and stripes. The most interesting finding was that the amelanistic varieties of the California kingsnake, L.g.californiae, and the corn snake, E.g.guttata are apparently allelic forms of amelanism regardless of the fact that these snakes are members of different genera. When the two genera were crossed this albinism appeared in the F1 generation. All types of the hybrids produced were viable and fertile. As such, they are most likely examples of intrabaraminic diversity of created “kinds” rather than evolutionary speciation. This paper adds viability, homologous genes, and pigment variations to the list of character space criteria for recognizing baramins.

Keywords

Snake hybridization, Colubrids, Baramins, Evolution, Creation, Coloration, Striping, Banding, Melanism, Amelanism, Genetics

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