Cladistics is the study of the “family tree” of living things. Organisms that share a common ancestor are in the same clade. This is generally determined through genetic analysis when possible, and through fossil evidence when not.
Okay. What does this have to do with kashrut?
So there’s a funny thing about kosher mammals. The signs of a kosher mammal are that it has split hooves and chews its cud. What’s neat about this is that kosher mammals, as it turns out, are a monophyletic group – meaning that all kosher mammals share a common ancestor, and there is no descendant of that common ancestor that is NOT kosher. Specifically, the Ruminantia, or ruminants.
This is awfully coincidental, especially when there are so many animals that seem almost kosher (horses for example) but are not close relatives of the kosher animals at all. So let’s play with an idea: that the actual determining factor of what makes an animal kosher is its genetic ancestry, and the physical traits are simply indicators for people who did not have the means of determining an animal’s ancestry.
Now, the second-closest relative of the ruminants that are not themselves ruminants are the Suina, the pigs. Now the interesting thing is that there is a long-established tradition that in the World to Come, the pig will become kosher. Under traditional understanding of Kashrut, in which kashrut is determined by physical features and not genetic ancestry, this would break the theory, since even if the pig was changed to chew its cud, it would still not be a descendant of the ruminant’s common ancestor.
But let’s play with an idea – what if this transformation is not simply physical, but rather a transformation in the halachic definition of the kosher mammals themselves? Meaning, the common ancestor of kosher animals gets moved back to the common ancestor of ruminants and pigs, thereby including pigs within the kosher clade.
Except there is one lineage that is closer to ruminants than pigs. If cladistic kashrut is real, it would change that currently non-kosher clade to be kosher as well in the World to Come.
That clade is whippomorpha – the hippopotamuses and whales.
Behemoth and Leviathan.
I take my leave.