A comprehensive new Open Tree of Life has been released, combining 484 published evolutionary trees connecting 2.3 million species in one editable online database. It supposedly shows how all these animals, plants, and other organisms branched from a common ancestor billions of years ago. It’s a stunning graphic summary of genetic similarities, but as a depiction of ancestry, it is limited.
Rather than a single common ancestor of all life, the Genesis account suggests an “orchard” of life arising from separate created kinds. The similarities at the top of this evolutionary tree may indicate actual common ancestry within the orchard of created kinds. Scientists hope that recognizing genetic similarities will lead to advancements such as improved agricultural methods and understanding and treatment of viruses.
A greatly simplified detail of an evolutionary tree wrongly linking different created kinds. In the evolutionary worldview these classifications indicate descent from a single common ancestor. In the creation worldview, they indicate a common designer.
For the most part, creationists use the same classification scheme, but they accept common ancestors only to a point. Where the evolutionist sees branches on a single massive tree of life, the creationist sees an orchard of many shorter trees.