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In exchange with child, Perry calls evolution a "theory" - with "gaps"

Rick Perry in NH
Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry. AP Photo/Cheryl Senter

Updated: 5:33 p.m. ET

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry on Thursday said the theory of evolution has "some gaps in it."

The Texas Governor, speaking at an event in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was answering a little boy's questions about science when his mom urged him to question the conservative politician on evolution.

"I hear your mom was asking about evolution," Perry told the boy. "That's a theory that is out there - and it's got some gaps in it."

Perry heckled in New Hampshire, asked about evolution

He added: "In Texas we teach both Creationism and Evolution in our public schools -- because I figure you're smart enough to figure out which one is right."

According to the Statesman, however, Texas has yet to approve any textbooks that actually teach creationism. Despite a contentious debate several years ago, the results of which ostensibly opened the door to including "alternate" evolution theories like intelligent design and creationism in Texas textbooks, none of the high school biology submissions considered this year included those theories.  A submission that endorsed intelligent design did not even make the Education Commissioner's recommended list.

Perry is known for his deeply Christian views, and has been described as "more explicitly religious than many people who have run for president or have been president."

The little boy initially asked Perry how old he thought the earth was.

"You know what, I don't have any idea - I know it's pretty old, so it goes back a long, long ways," the presidential candidate responded. "I'm not sure anybody actually knows completely and absolutely how old the earth is."

Fellow GOP presidential contender Jon Huntsman responded to Perry's comments via Tweet on Thursday: "To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy," he wrote.

Earlier this week, Perry suggested global warming was a hoax and that scientists were manipulating data for financial gain.