Plant Oddities Every plant in the world is a miracle and a mystery, with a thousand and one functions, characteristics and abilities that defy all explanation: all life is like that. Life itself is that most mysterious thing on this planet for it is the gift of GOD, the infinite Author of life. Some forms of life deviate so from conventional types that they seem to defy the very laws of life.
Some bacteria can live in hot springs at a temperature of 1750 F., while spores of other bacteria have survived after being exposed to the temperature of liquid air (-3100 ). Some flowers push their way up through snow and ice, while others lie dormant in desert sands for years, then carpet the desert valleys after a rain that may come but once in several years.
Many deadly poisons (some of which are useful drugs) are extracted from delicate plants with beautiful flowers, such as aconite from monkshood. Strychnine, opium, cocaine, digitalis and belladonna are but a few of the many others.
Some plants die as soon as they have flowered, * while some trees (the Joshua trees and the giant sequoias) live up to 3,000 years and more.
* There is a bamboo plant in the mountains of Jamaica, that takes 32 years to mature. It then flowers ONCE — and dies. No one knows why.
The great water lily of the Amazon and Indonesia has leaf blades five feet in diameter, while some palms have leaves twenty feet long. There are seaweeds that grow in the dim light of the ocean 450 feet below the surface. This is quite an achievement, for the light is so dim at that great depth, that the normal process of photosynthesis is greatly retarded.
There are several kinds of “epiphytes,” or “air plants,” that get their nourishment from the air rather than from the soil. The staghorn fern is an example.
“It grows on other trees, with its leaves pressed against the trunk of the tree. The leaves cover large masses of roots that get their nourishment direct from the air.”
One could try vainly for a thousand generations to “educate” the roots of plants or trees adapted to get their food from the soil, to get their sustenance from the air only — and not succeed. How is it then that SOME plants, the “epiphytes,” HAVE mastered the secret? The answer is, God in the beginning made them so.
Who designed the 500 kinds of so-called “killer plants” that trap, kill and eats insects? We already have mentioned some of these, such as the famous “pitcher plant.”
What could be more ingenious, complicated, designed for a purpose, and with apparent “intelligence,” than the machinations of the sundew?
The sundew plant has about 200 tiny red filaments on the upper surface of each leaf. Each filament is club-shaped at its free end and carries a refractile goblet of fluid, that is a sticky substance from which it is impossible for an insect to free itself.
Movement of wind, rain or dust, or falling bits of mud, sand or leaves, or even small bits of sugar, placed on them by human hands, on the leaves of the sundew, cause the leaves and the filaments to re-act. The filaments will secrete an acid fluid, but there is no attempt whatever at “capturing” the non-living object, nor is there any attempt to digest it. “BUT LET A SMALL INSECT LIGHT ON A SUNDEW LEAF, AND — wonderful to relate — THE CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF THE SECRETION OF THE FILAMENTS IS AT ONCE CHANGED INTO A DIGESTIVE FERMENT, and the process of appropriating the unfortunate insect as food begins.” Where did a lowly plant get such “intelligence?”
The bladderwort, that grows in water, is equally amazing. It is equipped with traps that look like small bladders floating in the water. These traps are cleverly designed to catch small aquatic animal life.
An opening exists at one side of the bladder. Around this opening is a set of radiating hairs set diagonally outward. These serve to guide the unsuspecting victim into the mouth of the trap. The opening is provided with a hinged, transparent door which opens inward but not outward. Once a creature has entered this door, his doom is sealed, for the door closes and he cannot get out. He becomes food for his captor — a PLANT showing more intelligence than an animal! Or, is it that the Creator has made the plant function in such a way as to seem to have intelligence? In any event the whole scheme shows design that could only have been achieved by a Designer.
Nature Teaches Man Many Moral Lessons Did the Creator make the bladderwort only so that it could ensnare and kill and eat small animals? Or, is there a moral lesson in it for mankind? In a world judged by reason of the Fall of Man, there is much “evil” in nature — the reflection of the evil in mankind. We personally, however, have no doubt that God deliberately created many animals and plants for the express purpose of teaching mankind some important lessons. Both the spider’s web and the bladderwort’s trap are graphic illustrations of temptation and the resulting ruin. The fox is the age-long illustration of cunning and rapaciousness. The lamb is the picture of non-resistance to evil. The lion speaks to us of powerful leadership. The poisonous snake reminds us of deadly cunning. As a matter of fact, there is an important lesson inherent in practically every creature God ever made. The Son of God while on earth spoke often of lessons from nature, as the branch “abiding” in the vine, the adornment God gave to the lilies of the field, the shortness of life of the grass of the field, etc. Then, too, He was spoken of as the “Lamb of God” that takes away the sin of the world.
More About Peculiar Insects We already have called attention to a few of the many strange “beetles.” Let us list some other strange facts about insects.
Though the great majority of insects come from eggs, through a larval stage, the aphid, a tiny plant louse, sometimes gives birth to live young!
In Java there are strange earthworms that sing — and even whistle!
Consider the “misplaced” ears of the grasshopper.
“The ears of the grasshopper are either at the base of her abdomen or in her forearms, according to her species. . . .What surprises me is that Nature. . . .has had the imagination to put ears anywhere else than on the side of the head” (The Hunting Wasp, p. 53).
What quirk of Evolution could move ears from the side of the head to the base of the abdomen, or to the forearms? And how many million years did it take to make such a change? How did the grasshopper hear while its ears were being moved? For the sovereign all-powerful God to change the style occasionally creates no special problem — but for unguided “evolution” to be given the credit for such a radical change creates an unanswerable problem.
Who instructed the Difflugia, a free-living relative of ameba, to gather sand grains, cement them together with a sticky secretion and build them into a kind of house having a definite design (it looks like a ball) which it carries about with itself and into which it withdraws when disturbed? (See “Animals Without Backbones;” chapter on “A Variety of Protozoa,” p. 49). And who imparted to this small protozoan the secret formula for this cement?
A female water bug, “not trusting her husband’s voracious appetite,” cements her eggs directly to his back, where he cannot reach them! How long would it take this lowly water bug to think up this scheme, and put it onto practice by training her husband to co-operate and stand still while she did the cementing? And how much longer would it take her to design and install in her tiny body a chemical plant capable of manufacturing the proper kind of cement to make the eggs stick there? If the female water bug had to rely on the uncertainty of “random changes” to produce such a wise scheme as she has to protect her young, she would NEVER attain her end; as a matter of fact, she would NEVER have the foresight to think up or desire such a scheme in the first place.
The Strange Cicadas These peculiar insects, the cicadas, are sometimes called “Seventeen-year locusts,” though the 75 species of cicadas differ widely in the time they take to mature. Their life cycle is very strange — and utterly unaccountable, aside from the miracle of Divine creation.
The females cut slits in young twigs and deposit eggs in them. As the wingless, scaly young hatch, they drop to the ground, burrow in, AND STAY THERE FOUR TO TWENTY YEARS, according to their species — and no one can ever guess why. Those that stay in the ground four years breed a new generation that also stays in the ground four years; and those that stay in 17 years breed a new generation that stays in the ground 17 years!
As nymphs underground, they live on juices sucked from roots. When its predetermined time cycle elapses, the full-grown nymph emerges and climbs a tree trunk. Its skin splits down the back, and the adult emerges. These adults live about a week — long enough to mate and start another brood.
Why do they stay underground for several years? Who designed them and gave them the necessary adaptations for such a long underground existence? If they enjoy underground living so well, why do they ever come out — why not just live and die underground? Evolution has no answer.
The Extremely Odd “Praying Mantis” *
* Also called “Preying mantids.” The so-called praying mantis is an “insect nightmare” if ever there was one. It is commonly about 2 inches long. Its spiny, ferocious forelegs, its protruding eyes that pop out from its head that appears to be a caricature of a snake’s head, its long body and ambling gait, and its bony “armor” suggest “a prehistoric reptile in miniature.” It has no voice, and lacks real ears. Its closest “relative” in nature is the grasshopper — but it is so unlike the grasshopper, there is a “gulf” between them impossible to bridge by any evolutionary theory. It is a cannibal; and in the natural state its prey must be “alive and moving.” In the fall the female lays hundreds of eggs in a frothy mass that dries like hardened brown foam. “After mating, the female dispatches her mate with a well placed bite and devours him at her leisure.” (National Geographic Magazine article on “Praying Mantis”).
Neither in appearance nor in habits (characteristics) can the Praying Mantis be explained by evolutionary theories. The variations in the over 1000 species (15 of which may be found in the United States) may be accounted for on the basis of “gene mutations,” but WHERE DID THE ODD CREATURES COME FROM TO START WITH? Who gave the mantis the uncanny ability “to thrust forth her spiny forelegs” with lightning speed and grab her victim (a fly or other insect) as in “a toothed steel trap?” From what ancestor did the female learn the revolting art of beheading her husband, who is smaller and of slighter build? The mantis, in looks and in habits, is like a lone island in the midst of a vast ocean of creation, with NO CLOSE CONNECTION WITH OTHER INSECTS.
STRANGE FISH AND OTHER ODD INHABITANTS OF THE SEAS:
WITNESSES TO THE FACT OF DIVINE CREATION It has been said that “the body of the tuna fish represents one of the most perfect streamlined contours known to Nature.” But then, other fish also draw forth enthusiastic comments about their perfect streamlining:
“An adult swordfish may measure 15 feet from tip of sword to end of tail. It is shaped on the lines of a mackerel and is the epitome of streamlining. The pointed head. . . the sharp, backward rake of the dorsal fin, the long, lithe, powerful body, sloping gradually to the great crescent-shaped, tail, fit it for the most rapid and forceful movement through the water.”
Its sword — “stronger than steel” — is so sturdy and sharply pointed that, “when driven with terrific speed, it can penetrate the oaken planks of ocean-going vessels.”
The air bladder of the bony fish is obviously designed for an intended purpose.
“Most of the bony fishes posses air bladders, containing oxygen — sometimes undiluted — to enable the fish to float at certain depths. By regulating the gas pressure the fish can readily move about on a horizontal plane at any reasonable depth.” (The Living Sea”).
As a fish rises toward the surface, the pressure of the surrounding water decreases, and consequently the gas in the bladder expands and the body of the fish tends to rise too rapidly. But then gas is absorbed by the appropriate parts of the bladder wall, so that equilibrium is restored. When the fish descends, the system works in reverse — and it is all automatic.
There are features about the anatomy of the fish not yet fully understood by modern science. For example:
“In a cavity on each side of the fish’s skull are two chambers, each containing a small stone. These are the ear stones, or ‘otoliths,’ and these chambers and stones constitute the ears of the bony fish. These ears are very different from the ears of land dwellers, and quite how they operate is not known,” (The Living Sea, p. 141).
To believe that an intricate and working mechanism for hearing and balance, designed for use under water, should have just “happened” or came about by “chance mutations” is absurd.
Whales and some fish do not have the “air bladders” that the bony fishes have; and how they (the whales) endure the tremendous pressure changes involved in dives of several hundreds of fathoms is a mystery.
Every type of marine life is especially “adapted” to its own environment and to the place in the scheme of things that the Creator assigned to it. It is not necessary to illustrate this fact by many cases, but let us give one.
The weevers, arrow-like fishes with thatched flanks as though streaked with rain beaten down at an angle by the wind, are Trachinidae (from the Greek trachus, or stinging) and they spend most of the time more or less buried in sand. This way of life determines their three fundamental characteristics (or, do the ‘characteristics’ the Creator endowed them with determine their habitat and manner of living? We believe the latter). All of these characteristics are excellently “adapted” to their life: eyes directed upwards to spot their prey from their hiding place in the sand: a mouth with a vertical gape made to snap at any prey coming within reach; and dorsal fins with long and venomous spines to protect them against their enemies. ( The Underwater Naturalist, p. 209).
Instead of trying to delude ourselves into believing that these fish (weevers) lived in the sand, at first totally unprepared for such an existence, and that these special “adaptations” developed through the ages, it is much more reasonable to believe that the Great Designer made the weevers to suit the habitat He put them in. A fish does not plan ahead.
If a fish tried to live in an environment and was totally unprepared for its hazards, it (the species) would soon become extinct, and never arrive at a state of adaptation. This fact is one of the principle arguments against the fallacy of evolution. Adaptation, to be workable, must be perfect; an imperfect or partial adaptation is unworkable and ruinous. ALL life throughout the entire realm of nature is perfectly adapted to its environment and gives indisputable evidence of being designed and hence created for its place in the world of nature. Moreover, each genus is static, persistently so, and gives no evidence whatever of change from its “kind” except in minor “variations” within the confines of the genus. The happy state of “workability” and “dependability” that exists in nature could not exist if evolution were true.
Great Variety of Life in the Plankton. Consider now the “miracle” of the profuse and fascinating variety of life in the plankton. The drifting animal and plant life of the oceans near the surface, that is food for ocean fish and marine animals, is called “plankton” * (from a Greek word meaning wandering). One authority says,
“Any one may find in the surface waters of the sea, animals (mostly microscopic) that hold their own with those in Fairy Tales.” (The Strange World of Nature, p.19). Some of these strange creatures “are wholly unlike any known animals from land or even fresh water” (“Strange Babies of the Sea,” by Hilary B. Moore, in the July, 1952 “National Geographic”).
Included among these strange creatures are weird specimens as the transparent Salp; arrowworms (named from their shape); the trumpet-like Stentor: the unbelievable Siphonophores that lay eggs in one generation and develop plant-like buds in the next; and tiny creatures with near ghostlike and nightmarish shapes, as the thin, transparent, baby lobster, needle-nosed babies of Porcelain Crabs and a thousand and one other oddities that defy description.
* Plants and animals that live in the water are divided into three main groups: the plankton, the nekton and the benthos. Plankton is the name for those forms of life that float at or near the surface. They include a great variety of tiny animal and plants as well as larval forms of many other animals. The Nekton, made up of creatures that swim actively, include most fish and also squids, whales, porpoises, and shrimp of many kinds. the Benthos includes those countless animals that creep on the sand and bury themselves in the mud, hide in crevices or fasten themselves to the rocks.
Myriads of Marvels of the Deep A visit to an “undersea garden” as seen through the bottom of a glass-bottomed boat “is like a scene from fairyland, with strange-patterned fish darting about sea flowers of every description.” (H. J. Shepstone).
“The coloring of the corals, sea flowers and other varied marine life is almost beyond description. The coral polyps themselves are of every conceivable color — brown, violet, pink, white, yellow, purple, bright blue and vivid scarlet. The anemones, sea cucumbers and sea urchins are also of many varied tints. There are sponges of black and purple, covered with a thin sheen of emerald green. And darting hither and thither are troops of fishes having color patterns which are exquisitely beautiful — tube worms with brilliantly-colored crowns of tentacles, and innumerable starfish, crabs, and crustaceans, many of them also highly colored. Truly, a reef of living coral with its gorgeously-colored inhabitants is a sea garden, more interesting than any garden of flowering plants.”
Let us present some more of these “Strange Sea Creatures”
(1) The Unique Sea Horse
“Mother nature outdid herself when she assembled the sea horse. This bizarre creature has the arching neck and head of a stallion, the swelling bosom of a pouter pigeon, the grasping tail of a monkey and the color-changing power of a chameleon. It has eyes that pivot independently, so that when one eye scans the surface, the other can be directed underwater. To top this fantastic make-up the male is equipped with a kangaroo-style pouch from which the little ones are born.”
This four-inch long sea horse is the only fish that swims upright! He has a special “gas bladder” that enables him to keep his upright position. If this bladder is damaged and he loses even a tiny bit of the gas, he sinks to the bottom, there to lie helpless until death overtakes him or his bladder heals.
But the most amazing feature of all is that it is the male sea-horse that “goes into labor and gives birth to its young. This strange division of the sea-horse’s reproductive functions, is the peak of this tiny fish’s paradoxical make-up.”
“The female sea-horse provides the eggs. During courtship, the female actively pursues the male, deposits her eggs in a pouch on her mate’s belly, and then swims away. In the pouch the eggs are nourished on the father’s blood for 45 days. . . .after a series of parental convulsions (with apparently every muscle brought into play) the pouch is emptied and the baby sea-horses (from 300 to 600) are born!”
Evolution is utterly at a loss to account for such unorthodox procedures, and such strange creatures. The “Sea-horse” is in a similar category with the platypus, as far as evolution is concerned: it presents an enigma that baffles and frustrates all theories that seek to account for it! Admit the Divine Designer, and all is accounted for.
(2) The Improbable Sting Ray
For perfection of movement, look at the ray.
“Among the movements of all living things in the sea the most perfectly harmonious is undoubtedly the swimming of the ray. When this bird of the depths’ beats its wings, the fleshy wings themselves undulate. A sinuous movement takes place from back to front, being most supple at the edges, creating a movement as of frills and scallops reminiscent of the waving of a silk handkerchief, or an Egyptian dancer. . . . This improbable-looking bat-like creature, looks like a monster from another world, a demoniacal phantom in violet or dark grey, but with a pure white patch on its belly, flying silently and mysteriously through the water. . . . But when the ray comes to rest it appears to be an almost deformed-looking beast, flopped down.” (The Underwater Naturalist, pp. 228, 236).
What Architect designed the supple movements and the perfect rhythm of this dread beast of the sea? The co-ordination of muscles and the rhythmic movement through the water could never be achieved by the trial and error method; the grace and suppleness and perfect rhythm of the ray demand an Architect of supernatural ability, a Worker with infinite perfections.
(3) The Humble Oyster: the Brainless Wonder
In the November, 1953, “Scientific American” is an intriguing article by Pieter Korringa, on “OYSTERS.” We quote:
“The existence of the oyster is so different from a vertebrate’s experience that even with the most unprejudiced study we find it hard to understand. Although thousands of investigations have been made of the bivalve, its life is still mysterious. The creature defies many elementary rules of animal biology. . . . Even anatomically we cannot make head or tail of the oyster, for it possesses neither of these organs. Yet in spite of its lack of a brain and its seemingly poor equipment for survival the oyster deserves our boundless admiration. It has senses (chemical and tactile) which are extremely acute, a feeding system which is extraordinarily delicate and effective, a metabolism which ministers to its needs in a highly versatile way and a bagful of other resources which enable it to survive even though it seems one of the most defenseless of creatures, a passive thing altogether at the mercy of its environment,” . .
The oyster has an intricate pumping system far more involved (“more delicate and complex)” than was previously supposed. “With its pumping system the oyster couples a filtering system, for which it uses mucus. Very thin sheets of mucus pass continuously over the oyster’s gills. This mucus traps food particles, and conveys them to the oysters mouth. Both the pumping and the filtering mechanisms are sensitive to environmental conditions; the oyster does NOT feed continuously: it tests the water from time to time, and it sets its intricate feeding mechanism into operation ONLY WHEN THE QUALITY OF THE WATER MEETS CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS. . . .Its chemical receptors apparently warn it not to feed when certain organic excretions or other poisons are in the water. And its filtering mechanism enables it to segregate from its intake and throw out organisms or particles which it presumably recognizes as inimical.
“The manufacture of the oysters shell is an intricate, fascinating operation. The mollusk has herds of small glands which secrete calcite . . . . It deposits the calcite on a thin network of protein, steadily enlarging and thickening the shell as it grows. The oyster does NOT use dissolved calcium carbonate, which is rather sparse in sea water, but it captures calcium ions. JUST HOW THE OYSTER CATCHES THOSE IONS AND POURS THEM OUT AGAIN THROUGH ITS SHELL-SECRETING GLANDS TO FORM THE CALCITE LAYER OF ITS SHELL IS UNKNOWN.
“The oyster has to create a home of a very different shape. . . . and its construction must be right the first time, for the shell cannot be broken down or remodeled. Investigators have been amazed to find that the oyster pads out the thick places in the shell with ‘cheaper’ construction — a chalky, porous deposit which requires only about one-fifth as much building material. JUST HOW IT CONTROLS THE MAKING OF THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SHELL IS HARD TO UNDERSTAND.
“The two valves of the shell are hinged by a rubberlike elastic ligament which pushes the valves apart when the oyster does not hold them closed; the closing of the valves is controlled by a powerful central adductor muscle. This muscle has a ‘quick’ part which can open or snap the valves shut very rapidly, and a ‘catch’ part which can keep the shells closed for a long time, apparently without getting tired. . . “ (Caps ours). (The rest of the article by Pieter Korringa gives many more fascinating facts).
Not the least of the achievements of the humble oyster — the Brainless Wonder — is the creation by the oyster (starting with an irritant; as a grain of sand) of a pearl — “the queen of gems.” By what legerdemain can the oyster after many months transform an irritant into a “perfect, fully formed jewel, the iridescent pearl, that never requires polishing, cutting or other artificial methods to improve its beauty?”
Where did this “brainless Wonder” get such wisdom? Who taught it how to make its shell, and make it right the first time? Who gave the oyster the secret of capturing calcium ions — and also a high concentrate of copper, zinc, iron, manganese and rare metals (in concentrations thousands of times higher than in the surrounding sea water) — and put them into an easily digestible form for man, making the oyster a rich and succulent food for man? (Typist Note: While God did make the oyster, He did NOT MAKE IT AS FOOD FOR MAN. Read Leviticus 11:9-12). Who taught the oyster how to create the matchless pearl? Surely One infinitely Higher than any intelligence on earth designed this marvel and MADE IT FOR A PURPOSE.
As a matter of fact, we have not presented one-tenth of the “marvels” to be observed in the life history of the common oyster: the “Brainless Wonder.”
(4) The Incredible Dance of the Grunion
The Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, lies at the end of a huge ocean basin, and the tidal movement is greater than anywhere else on earth: The water rises and falls through 50 feet or more. In Hawaii, on the other hand, the tides rise less than a foot. These Hawaiian tides are controlled almost entirely by the sun. The many influences that control the movement of tidal waters — the pull of the sun, the pull of the moon, the pull of both together or one against the other, storms at sea — have made theoretical predictions of tides a very intricate mathematical feat. But trained oceanographers can predict with accuracy how tides will run in different parts of the world.
How then can grunion (small silvery fish), without study or training, forecast the ever-changing tides? Yet they do, and with amazing accuracy!
“Grunion runs” are found only off the coast of lower and southern California, beginning in March and continuing through July. Thousands of grunion appear on the beaches to lay their eggs in the sand three or four nights after the new or full moon. “The forecasting of the hour and minute when grunion will run is reached by adding 15 minutes to the time the tide reaches its nightly peak. In other words, there is a margin of safety: they come ashore AFTER the turn of the tide, and on nights when the tide reaches a little less high than on the preceding night. . . . Thus the eggs are laid in sand which will NOT be reached by the tide for about two weeks.
“The female, heavy with eggs, permits herself to be washed in by the tide and strands herself. She energetically burrows into the sand tail first to a depth of two or three inches. The males then, in a horizontal position, curl their bodies around the partially buried females and discharge milt which runs down along the females’ bodies and fertilizes the eggs which are being laid in the sand.” The whole process lasts only about 30 seconds. The grunion then flop back into the sea, but the eggs, deposited on a night when the tide has begun to recede will NOT be washed out until the next high tide two weeks later. During the two weeks between the laying of the eggs and the next high tide, the eggs are incubated in the warm, damp sand. When the next high tide erodes the beach and uncovers the eggs, the eggs hatch explosively and the new-born fry swim out into the ocean!
Who teaches each NEW GENERATION of grunion how to time the tides, and know when it is 15 minutes AFTER high tide, the night after the fortnightly high tide? Who designed the grunion eggs to hatch in two weeks? and in a nest of damp sand? Who taught the female grunion to place the nest in the exact locale where the tide will expose the eggs two weeks later? One bows in awe before such miracles and concludes that the Creator of all so equipped the grunion with the necessary abilities that all people might have a constant recurring demonstration of DIVINE CREATION.
(5) The Spectacular Swarming of the Palolo Worm
The grunion is not alone in its uncanny time sense. The palolo worm puts on a similar demonstration. We refer to the Eunice viridis (palolo worm) of the South Pacific. This worm lives in deep, cavernous hollows at the base of sunken coral reefs in the ocean waters around Samoa, Fiji and some other Pacific islands south of the equator.
“Once each year, at a definite time, the palolo appears in myriads at the surface of the sea to perpetuate its species in a spectacular swarming. This takes place in the early spring, exactly one week after the full moon in November (Springtime, south of the equator) and occurs with such regularity each year that ‘palolo time’ is the outstanding date of the native calendar. . . .
“The worms grow to a maximum length of eighteen inches. As November approaches the hind part of each worm, which is about three times as long as the fore part, becomes filled and distended with minute eggs in the female and sperm in the male.
“When the moment arrives each worm crawls backwards out of its deep hole in the coral and the hind part breaks away and wriggles up to the surface. The fore part of each worm remains in the coral and grows a new hind end which, the following November, again supplies the eggs or the sperm for the perpetuation of this strange species.
“Almost immediately when the hind end of the palolo reaches the surface, it bursts and the eggs or sperm are fired into the water ‘like an explosion.’ The empty, shrunken remains of the worm then sink down to die on the sea-bed. The great majority of the countless millions of the palolo worms inhabiting the coral reefs in the South Pacific behave in this way once a year, in the early morning of the seventh day after the November full moon. Burrows says, ‘the palolo makes its annual rising AT AN ACTUAL DATE BY THE MOON AND THE TIDE” year after year, without change or failure. (Animal Wonder World, pp, 153, 154).
Who taught the lowly Palolo worm how to discern “times and seasons?” How can it tell when it is exactly one week after the November full moon? And why does the new generation of palolo worms, the next year, and the next, and the next, never miss the date by even one day? Did the Creator have the natives in mind too, when he created such a huge stock of the edible Palolo worms, that they might know when to catch them? Whoever caused this phenomenon DESIGNED it so — and then when the pattern was set, He made it static, so that generation after generation, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO CHANGE WHATEVER IN THE PROCEDURE.
(6) Fish with Built-in Dynamos
The electric eel (Electrophorus eleotircus) is a native of the backwaters of the Amazon. Four-fifths of the length of his stubby body contains electricity-generating tissue, which enables him to send out discharges up to 500 volts many times each minute!
“When a piranha or other foe of the eel comes too close, Electrophorus builds an electric fence around himself by switching on his generators and charging the water in the vicinity with electricity. With his enemies stunned by the shock, it is an easy matter for the eel to escape.”
“The current from the electric eel may be released from any part of the fish with equal intensity; it is directional, having one polarity at the head and another at the tail; the fish can regulate the amount it discharges.”
The electric catfish has a novel way of getting its meals — even though it is somewhat revolting. Swimming boldly up to a large fish, it slyly touches it on the stomach with a fin and gives it an electric shock — a shock that does not kill it, but causes it to disgorge any half-digested food before the stunned fish seeks to make a hasty get-away. The catfish eats the free lunch and then looks for another victim of its practical joke. (See p. 17, “Nature Parade”).
But the champion electrician of all is the Electric Ray, Its electric equipment is so astounding, we must quote a detailed description.
“The electric organs of the electric rays are exceedingly complicated and only a genius in the field of electricity could fully understand them. . . . These electric organs are a complicated wet battery. There are about 450 special tubes in each of the organs supplying the positive and negative currents, all separated from each other by special insulating tissue. There are many electric plates, and the wet medium (corresponding to the acid solution in a man-made wet battery) is a clear jelly. There are special nerves going to every plate which comes from a main nerve which itself is connected to a separate section of the brain that deals solely with electricity. . . .The electric ray’s ‘batteries’ consist of two nodes, one positive and the other negative, which have to be connected before a discharge takes place. A powerful shock is then given of a frequency as high as one hundred fifty per second. This kills small creatures and is quite enough to knock a man flat on the ground. . . .
:Nature, in fact rather surprisingly, has shown herself here (and in other electric fishes) to be a skilled and inventive electrician. I say surprisingly because with most other animals she has given no hint that she knew anything much about the subject.” (The Living Sea, pp. 130, 131).
Can any honest, thinking persons read that description and not come to the conclusion that the God who created all things, who knows all the secrets of electricity, as well as gravity and all other natural laws, is the One who made the electric ray?
(7) The Strange Case of the Fish Hatched in Father’s Mouth
In the fish world parenthood at times is more trouble to the father than the mother. We already have spoken of the male of the sea horse that carries the eggs of the female in a pouch on its belly. The male Tilapia macrocephala is also an exceptionally devoted father — or shall we say he is a hen-pecked husband. The Tilapia, about three inches long, lives in the rivers of Africa.
“After the female has laid the eggs and the male has fertilized them, the male picks up the eggs and carries them around in his mouth like a bunch of marbles. He keeps them there until they hatch and the young Tilapia are large enough to fend for themselves. During this two-week period the father cannot eat a bite, and he has to exist off his own tissue. The family life of the Tilapia has been studied for 15 years at the Museum of Natural History in New York city by Dr. Lester R. Aronson, who also has been to Nigeria observing them in their natural habitat.
“The female Tilapia scoops a hole in the gravel at the bottom of the river with her mouth. She then lays eggs, about 80 of them, in this nest. The male drops sperm on the eggs, then darts head first toward the nest, scooping up a few more eggs with each plunge, until he finally has gotten them all into his mouth. If he overlooks a few, the female slaps him with her tail to remind him he has left a few in the nest — but this happens only rarely. Crammed with eggs, the males mouth bulges. The eggs hatch in about five days, but he usually keeps his youngsters in his mouth for about six days more.”
Anyone who knows the tendency of the typical male to shun household duties can see in this nothing short of a miracle! And all who know the male appetite can see in this a double miracle — for by what natural power was the male Tilpia ever persuaded to keep from eating for eleven days? This is the more wonderful when one remembers that many species of fish eat not only their own eggs but also their fry as well. Going counter to the natural tendencies of other fish, the male Tilpia performs, without remonstrance, a specialized function in the propagation of the species that MUST have been “born into it” by a Superintending Providence, and could NOT have evolved by natural processes.
(8) The Mystifying, Clever Crabs
Crabs, lobsters, oysters — all are relatively low in the scale of life — and yet the crab gives evidence of cleverness bordering on apparent intelligence. The whole life story of the crab is unbelievable.
“When the egg of a crab hatches, a speck emerges that moults within an hour and turns into a tiny creature THAT BEARS NO RESEMBLANCE WHATEVER TO A CRAB. It is only about one-twentieth of an inch long, translucent, and carries two long spears, one on the middle of its back and the other projecting in front, like a beak. It has large eyes, set flat and NOT on the tips of stalks like those of its parents. (This incredible fact is an insoluble riddle to all naturalists). It swims actively. (Most adult crabs do not swim at all). Other moults (stages of growth) take place during which the baby crab presents an astonishing variety of COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SHAPES. (This periodic metamorphosis is absolutely inscrutable to zoologists). Finally, however, it loses the gift of swimming and sinks to the sea bed, still exceedingly minute, but now a replica of its parents in every way — stalked eyes, pincers, and the rest.
“The last creature from which one would expect intelligence is a crab. Yet if one judges by behavior, certain crabs possess considerable intelligence and cunning. It has been said that men are the only animals to have learned to carry weapons. The monkey may hurl a coconut from the top of a tree but it never carries a stick. Man however was not the first creature to carry weapons; the crab had been doing this long before. . . . To what extent the crab knows what it is doing does not concern us: it does it. It will be said that only those crabs survived that carried these weapons and so the process became automatic and instinctive. But the many species that did NOT carry weapons also survived. (Note the argument he gives against evolution — editor). . . .Such actions are instinctive now; it is the ORIGIN of these schemes that give rise to thought.
“Consider the crab named Dromia. . . . In nature a sponge is not soft and sweet scented, but is covered with fine needles of lime or silica. It also has an offensive smell. Consequently it is given a wide berth by all forms of life except worms and other small creatures who live securely in its tubes. The crab, Dromia, takes advantage of the sponge’s unpleasantness and converts it to its own use. It takes a living sponge, cuts and trims it to the size of its own back, places it on its back, and holding it down with its last two pairs of legs proceeds about its business both camouflaged and protected at the same time. .
It has to keep two pairs of legs permanently employed clamping the sponge down, but the other legs suffice for its other affairs and the protection the sponge gives amply compensates for their absence from normal duties.
“Take the case of the spider crab. . . . It cuts off seaweed and other marine growths and attaches it to its back. ‘Nonsense,’ you say; ‘seaweed and other marine growths fasten themselves to anything at the slightest opportunity. That crab simply happened to have got overgrown with the stuff without knowing it.’ You are wrong. The seaweed was deliberately planted by the crab. To prove it, catch one of the crabs, remove all growth from it, and place it in an aquarium among seaweeds. Here you may observe it pluck pieces of weed and place them on its back where they are held by the crooked hairs until they take root.
“But that is not the end of the spider crab’s repertoire. Take this same crab with its trailing garden attached to it and put it in an aquarium that is full of vegetation or growth of another kind, small sponges, maybe, anyway, things different. Here in this different environment, the little forest on its back is more an advertisement than a camouflage, so the crab picks off every bit of weed it carries and implants instead bits of the growths amongst which it finds itself. Such cleverness is rather bewildering, and it takes place with one of the commonest of our crabs.”
“. . . .Some tropical crabs carry over their backs (held there also by the last two pair of legs) the shell, or rather half-shell of a bi-valve mollusc such as an oyster or a scallop.
“. . . .The sea anemone. . . .is avoided like a plague by practically every creature that swims in the sea. . . .The unpopularity of the sea anemone has not been overlooked by the crab, who, as usual, has turned it to his own advantage. So we find in warm seas certain crabs that pluck off (for defense) a small sea anemone which they hold and carry about wherever they go. Nothing could be better from the viewpoint of protection.
The crab’s cleverness goes even further. “The hermit crab, Lupagurus prideauxi, living in a borrowed shell, invariably has a sea anemone attached to the shell in such a way that the mouth protects the crab and also being in a position to take in any food the crab may drop. Both, in fact, get bits of food from each other. When the crab grows too large for the shell and moves into another, it detaches the anemone from the old shell and puts it on the new.”
Most mysterious of all is the uncanny “light sensitivity” possessed by the HORSESHOE CRAB. Prof. Talbot H, Waterman, of Yale’s Osborn Zoological Laboratory, has shown that these lowly animals “can detect the position of the sun, even if they cannot see the sun, by the degree of polarity or angle of vibration of its light in the sky. . . .The horseshoe crab has been using the polarity of sunlight for some hundreds of millions of years, whereas we (men) became aware of this basic principle of light only during the last half century.”
Who placed in the lowly horseshoe crab the necessary “scientific know-how” to be guided by a principle of light that man has discovered only recently? Who taught the spider crab to use the sea anemone, sea weeds and the sponge for its own protection and advantage? All thinkers admit that the “intelligence” and “cleverness” reflect the work of the Creator, not the crab.
(9) Strange Fish of the Deep Sea
The vast world of the deep seas “is in many ways as strange and remote as another planet. It is a world of total darkness, eternal cold and enormous pressure — up to 1,000 atmospheres and more. As Charles Wyville Thompson remarked when he first sounded the great ocean depths in the famous Challenger expedition, it is almost as hard to imagine life existing in these conditions as in fire or in a vacuum. But we know today that there are forms of life — strange forms, to be sure — which thrive in the very deepest trenches of the ocean bottom.” (“Animals of the Abyss,” by Anton F. Brunn, in Scientific American).
“The deep-sea angler is a bizarre food trap. It has a cavernous mouth filled with long, sharp teeth. It looks vicious. . . .Like some of its deep-sea associates the angler has a pair of large, well-developed eyes. Extending out from its upper jaw is a process (looks like an antenna) that bears a luminous bulb at its end. this bulb may serve to lure unwary animals within easy range of the angler’s teeth. Hanging from the angler’s lower jaw is a bearlike mass of luminous tissue, adding to its bizarre appearance.” Another “angler” has a more slender body, with a “fish line” that is actually FOUR TIMES the length of the fish’s body, with a luminous tip at the end of the line! This “line” grows out from the front end of the fish.
One of the most remarkable of all fish anglers is Lasiognathus. “This fish carries a fishing-rod armed with hooks at the end, and a light. Another fish, seeing the light makes for it and is hooked. But a fish hooked at the end of a long rod in front would be of no more use to Lasiognathus than a carrot at the end of a stick is to a donkey — so the rod is provided with a hinge in the middle.” (p. 219, The Living Sea).
The various and sundry types of “angler” fish are obviously “designed” and so created.
Consider the Deep-sea Squid and the Deep-sea Hermit Crab. A squid that lives near the surface can eject an ink cloud to escape from its enemies. “But an ink cloud in total darkness would be wasted effort, so certain species of the squid that live in the depths eject a LUMINOUS cloud, while the HERMIT CRAB of the kind that carries two sea anemones goes one better by carrying, in the deep, TWO ILLUMINATED ANEMONES, which not only give it protection but serve as torches too.” (P.219, The Living Sea).
Some of these weird deep-sea fish have telescope eyes, set on long stalks; certain others are “equipped with headlights like a car.” These lights are placed just in front of curved, glistening reflectors near the eyes and are projected as two beams of light. Others have huge mouths, with fearsome fang-like teeth, and some have the added horrible aspect of having illuminated teeth. In the deep sea is a peculiar “Scarlet Shrimp” that shoots forth a cloud of luminous fluid to blind his assailant. The Five-lined Constellation Fish has five rows of illuminated spots, that resemble a “pulsating aurora borealis,” on each side. The Great Gulper Eel (Saccopharynx harrisoni), 55 inches long, has a flamming-red light organ near the tip of its tail.” (National Geographic Magazine).
We quote a most interesting description of luminous deep-sea creatures, found on p. 218, in “The Living Sea.” “The deep-sea creatures, strange enough in appearance, most of them, as they are, are also able to light themselves up. How this lighting-up is accomplished we do not really know. So to talk about the bottom of the sea being a region of everlasting darkness is not quite correct; illuminated fishes, etc, are always moving here and there. In fact, if a number of these were to gather together that place would resemble Broadway or Piccadilly Circus at night, a sort of fairyland, for many of the lights carried by the bottom dwellers are COLORED. The pattern of lighting varies. Some species have a row of lights along their bodies, others whole tiers of lights along their sides, making them look like ocean liners at night, and which they can switch on or off as they desire: some have illuminated circles around their eyes and mouths, some illuminated heads and faces, and some are illuminated all over, some glow from inside. Particularly strange are the fishes carrying a light at the end of a long rod in front of them.”
There are thousands of living witnesses for God and Divine creation in the fearsome depths of the sea.
Because of the great changes in water pressure these weird deep sea fish can not live near the surface; neither can surface fish live that far down. In other words evolution is ruled out, for if a surface creature descends to a great depth (excepting whales and squids, and a few others) it is crushed to death, and if a deep-sea fish is brought to the surface waters, it dies. Obviously, it took an act of special creation to adapt these deep-sea fish to their environment. And their peculiar “adaptations” to life in the deep and their special “design” for their niche in life, give full and abundant proof of Divine Creation.
We say with the Psalmist, “Thou art the God that doest wonders” (Psalms 77:14) — not the least of which are His “wonders in the deep” (Psalms 107:24). Again we say, “Bless the Lord, all His works in all places of His dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul” (Psalms 103:22).
(10) Some of the Thousand and One other Strange Species of Life in the Seas.
Two kinds of fish — photoblepharon and anomalos — carry “lanterns” which are made of luminous plants in the form of a tiny species of bacteria. Just below the eyes of the fish are receptacles especially designed for carrying the lanterns and there is a mechanism for turning the light on and off. “Divine Design” is the only answer to this phenomenon.
In the Mediterranean is found a peculiar, slender creature called the Venus-girdle. It looks like a ribbon of light as it glows in the water. Evolution has no adequate explanation for this phenomenon.
There is another little sea creature called the Sea Gooseberry. It is about the size of a sparrow’s egg. At night it shines brightly, but in the daytime it is a lovely mass of beautiful colors like the colors in the rainbow. Who designed the unique Sea Gooseberry? What genius made it look like a rainbow at day and a glowing variegated gem at night?
Who gave the arrow-shaped SQUID the secret of jet propulsion, ages before man discovered this principle? “The squid is a rocket. Jet-propelled by the muscular ejection of water, shaped like a rocket, it has ‘vanes’ on each side like a rocket, and it moves fast.” (The Living Sea). Water is taken in near the front end; contraction of the body suddenly compresses this water and forces it out of a tube-like funnel, pushing the animal in the opposite direction. It determines its direction by bending the tip of its funnel.
For “sound” in creatures of the sea, consider these facts: The trumpet fish toots like a horn; the booming whale has a love song that can be heard for miles; the taps of the drum fish can be heard at a depth of sixty feet; the singing catfish emits sounds that are deep and penetrating; the Croaking Gourami sometimes makes a purring sound. What is the ORIGIN of these abilities? The versatile God has made such a great variety of life, in the sea, as well as on the land, to give tangible expression to a wee bit of His greatness.
For “beauty” in fish, think of the exquisite “Gold Butterfly” fish from near Ceylon, with its orange-gold, dotted with black spots. Consider the Rocky Beauty (Holocanthus tricolor) from the West Indies: it is robed in three major colors — yellow, black and scarlet. Think of the Queen Angelfish with its orange-yellow pectoral and tail fins and black ocellus on the nape. Few fish are more colorful than the Moonfish (Platypoecilus maculatus); “It comes in all colors of the rainbow, and in a few others nature never got around to including in the rainbow. The male of the Iridescent Barb (Barbus oligolpis) is a brilliant light red-brown, dark above and silvery below, with orange-red fins. The fierce little Siamese Fighting Fish, in gorgeous red, green, blue, lavender and orchid varieties, is said to be the “most beautiful” fish in the sea! WHO DESIGNED THESE LOVELY CREATURES? Who gave them their exquisite colors? The God of Glory has seen fit to put in the seas a little reflection of His infinite glory.
From whence came the unique Paddle Fish? It has an over-sized snout, a broad thin plate of bone, one-third its length, with which it scoops up mud and gravel in search for food. “Evolution” would have kept this fish eating small fry, the same as most other “sensible” fish do.
Where did the fish that “looks like a swimming pine cone” come from? It has recently been identified off the coast of Chile, and sent to the Smithsonian Institution. Belonging to a distinctive genus, this PINE CONE fish (Monocentris) has been described as having “an isolated niche in ocean life.” Evolutionists do not know where to place it.
The “Leaping Spawner” (Coeina arnoldi) has been described as “a real show stopper” because of its strange breeding habits. When the time for breeding comes “the male and female clasp each other firmly and leap out of the water. The eggs are laid and fertilized on a leaf, an overhanging branch or some other spot ABOVE the water level. The eggs would die if they fell back into the water, but they must be kept moist, so the male spends the two or three days it takes the eggs to hatch splashing them with water.” Who taught this fish that it must keep splashing the eggs? What ever possessed it in the first place — if Evolution is responsible — to jump out of water to lay its eggs? And why did these eggs not die, when it first happened (say a half-billion years ago?) as they would have if it had been a :chance” performance. WHY WOULD THAT SPECIES OF FISH GO TO ALL THAT TROUBLE OF LAYING ITS EGGS OUT OF WATER WHEN OTHER FISH HAVE GOOD SUCCESS LAYING THEIR EGGS IN WATER?
Who gave the “ARCHER FISH” of the East Indies its uncanny accuracy in hitting insects with a stream of water that it ejects? “This little yellow-and-black-barred fish taxis to a position below an overhanging twig and parks there until a tempting insect settles above on the twig. Then pushing his mouth out of water, he takes careful aim and spits a stream of water at his quarry, knocking it into the water where he gobbles it up.” “In the mouth of the archer fish there is a deep groove, and when the fish’s tongue is placed against the roof of its mouth this groove is converted into a ‘blow-pipe’ about 1/16th of an inch in diameter. When shooting, the fish compresses its gill covers, and water is forced under pressure into the blow-pipe. The thin rounded tip of the fish’s tongue acts as a valve, and the fish can thus expel the water in a single drop, a succession of drops, or, if the valve is left open, in a continuous jet. . . . Normally, one or two of the discharged pellets of water are sufficient to bring down its prey. . . . The archer-fish nearly always scores a direct hit when its prey is within four feet.” (p.19, Nature Parade). How could mere evolution groove the mouth of the first archer fish? How did it first learn to make a “blow-pipe” by arching its tongue over the groove in its mouth? Who taught it accuracy in shooting? Who gave it wisdom and skill to use its tongue as a “valve” and so enable it to eject one drop, many drops in succession, or a steam?
Nature does not lack the ludicrous nor the miraculous in its well-nigh infinite repertory of oddities. “The file-fish, who feeds among clumps of eel-grass, stands on its nose in times of danger, with fins gently waving to imitate a clump of grass. Its mottled green color matches the flora perfectly.” But the wrasse, however, is perhaps “the master ‘quick change’ artist. It can change its brilliant colors to that of any fish with which it comes in contact. Likewise, in a twinkle of an eye, it can completely vanish from sight by taking on the color of any underwater object.” (American Mercury).
If the wrasse is gifted one way to a point of mystifying perfection, the equally odd GLOBEFISH is gifted in another — and it is just as inexplicable. “In tropical seas there is a globefish which, when inflated, resembles a miniature balloon. This strange creature of the deep dilates its gullet with air, and its body swells up in the shape of a globe or balloon. In this inflated condition it rises to the surface of the water and each passing breeze blows it along.” (American Mercury). Even more grotesque are the PORCUPINE FISH. Normally, they inhabit the bottom of warm seas, but when a potential enemy approaches, things begin to happen. The porcupine fish is covered with rather fearsome-looking spines. When it is threatened with danger, the fish swallows water. Or if it is near the surface at times of danger it swallows air and floats belly upward. Now it is ball-like in form, with the spines pointing outward, and it presents a difficult object for other types of fish to swallow.” The mechanism to make a “globefish” or a “porcupine fish” work had to WORK THE FIRST TIME: such oddities couldn’t possibly have been evolved “gradually.” Let us ask the evolutionist — From what did the globefish and the porcupine fish evolve? And how many millions of years did it take? And what sort of a creature was each while in the process of “evolving.”
The CLIMBING PERCH of Burma often leaves the water, travels inland and actually climbs trees. At each side of its head there is a built in storage tank where it can hoard supplies of water to keep its gills moist, giving it a chance to breathe until it reaches the safety of another pool. If it is a long time in locating another pool THE WISE LITTLE FISH KNOWS THERE IS OFTEN WATER TO BE FOUND IN THE HOLLOW OF A TREE. “If its store of water is nearly exhausted, it begins to climb a tree, hoping to find water. . . .It clings to the bark with its gill-covers and uses its spiney fins to help it climb. . . .At last the perch reaches its goal and is rewarded by finding the precious water which means new life to it.” It is unreasonable to believe that an ordinary perch of the sea EVOLVED into the tree climbing perch. Everyone knows that an ordinary perch could never develop into a tree climbing perch, for each perch that tried it would DIE, no matter if a trillion perch made the attempt! Who first taught the climbing perch — before it became the climbing perch — that there is WATER in the hollow of some trees in Burma? Who first trained this little creature to climb trees, when, naturally, a fish is anything but a tree-climber? Who first put those water storage tanks in each jowel? This unbelievable fish, the CLIMBING PERCH of Burma, is a perfect witness for God and Divine creation.
Let us consider also the BUBBLE-NEST BUILDERS ( Osphronemidae family ). “These fish are equipped with accessory breathing gear that enables them to draw oxygen from the air. They, much like birds, hatch their eggs in nests. These nests are built out of bubbles that the males supply. The male gulps a mouthful of air from the surface, darts down below to coat it with a sticky secretion from his mouth, and then releases it as a bubble. These small bubbles, loosely joined together, form a raft or floating nest to which the eggs are later attached. The eggs are laid and fertilized under the nest, and the male quickly darts down after each batch of falling eggs, catching them in his mouth. He then blows them up into the nest where they adhere and hatch in two or three days.” This unusual procedure is a phenomenon that was so DESIGNED, and the actors (the Bubble-nest builders) were so created that they follow this routine by instinct. Evolution cannot account for the BUBBLE-NEST BUILDERS. It would be as easy for a tornado to produce a Michelangelo’s “Moses” or “David” as for “chance mutations” to produce such a well-designed fish. Such intricate “design” demands a DESIGNER and a BUILDER.