An artist’s depiction of Notiolofos regueroi, one of the species of Sparnotheriodont that seem to be missing.

Litopterna is an order of hooved mammals that have fossils that only exist in South America. Most descriptions include phrases like “a distant relative of horses”, which from a YEC perspective would of course not be true, because the kinds are not actually related. Still, they are vaguely horse-like while still being very distinct from horses.

Like nearly all mammals, all of their fossils are found in what almost all YECs would consider post-flood deposits, which means that their ancestors somehow migrated from the Mountains of Ararat to South America without leaving any fossils anywhere else. How that was accomplished is a discussion for another post, in this post I am focused on why several families of these mammals were left off of the Ark Encounter list of Ark Kinds.

The Ark Encounter poster lists 3 families from this order:

Macraucheniid on the Ark Encounter.
  • Macraucheniidae, which is actually displayed on the Ark with a model of the animals in a cage.
  • Adianthidae
  • Prototheriidae

However most of the literature I’ve found also has 3 other families in this order:

  • Notonychopidae
  • Protolipternidae
  • Sparnotheriodontidae

Why are these families not on the Ark Encounter list? Unlike most of the families on my list that are not on Ark Encounter’s list, these families each have several specimens, and don’t seem to be very controversial. There doesn’t seem to be any justification for collapsing them into the other Litopterna families.

Instead, I suspect that the problem is that whatever source Ark Encounter was using to make their list only searched English language sources. Because these species are only found in South America, and because South American universities have been doing more of the research on their own fossils, most of the publications on fossils recently discovered in South America are in Spanish. It’s difficult to find much information on any of these animals in English publications. Therefore they just got missed.

YECs would say that language difficulties wouldn’t be a problem for Noah because everyone spoke the same language back before the Tower of Babel. This seems unsustainable to me because almost any isolated group today rapidly develops their own dialect, which rapidly makes them difficult to understand. The miracle would not be scattering the languages at Babel, but holding the single language steady for the 1500 years before Babel.