THIS IS A STRANGE WORLD, with many creatures in it that seem to come out of some unreal, imaginary land; in fact, some are so incredible that one would not accept them as real did he not know they exist. It reminds one of the man who, seeing an elephant for the first time, said, “Why, there ain’t no such animal!”
These strange creatures, who live on land and in the sea, are a most powerful witness for the Creator. Let us call up some of these “witnesses” and hear their intriguing story.
(1) The Portuguese “Man-of-war” (Physalis). We quote from a recent magazine article.
“The ruthless Physalia employs a lethal combination of ingenius tackle, murderous chemical warfare and a remarkable working partnership with a small fish, the Nomeus.
“The deadly sequence starts as this innocent-looking little Nomeus swims about, apparently aimlessly, in the vicinity of the man-of-war. A bigger fish, seeing this tempting and seemingly defenseless morsel, makes a grab for it. The Nomeus darts away with an unexpected burst of speed, straight toward a tangle of seaweed-like tentacles that hang down from the man-of-war. The larger fish plunges recklessly after it, into these harmless-looking streamers. In a fraction of a second he is paralyzed and the fiendish tentacles are drawing him in to be consumed by the hungry man-of-war.
“What happened to him as he plunged into the streamers is a process that astounds and mystifies scientists who consider it one of nature’s deadliest mechanisms. The tentacles are studded with tiny pear-shaped capsules. Sheathed in each capsule is a compressed hair. The instant any creature touches one of the capsules, this hair shoots out like a harpoon, its sharp point penetrating the body of the victim. Through the hair flows a powerful acid which has the power to paralyze the creature into which it is thus injected. . . . So great is the force of the driven threads that they can easily puncture human skin. When they do, the victim may be doubled up in violent spasms and enter a state of shock.
“But why do these deadly hairs, which respond so instantly and savagely to the slightest touch by other creatures, let Nomeus go unscathed? Actually, the Nomeus can be harmed by the Physalia’s sting. . . . But the Nomeus seems to be especially adapted for dogging the tentacles of the Physalia.
“When the man-of-war captures and eats a fish which the Nomeus has lured into his trap, the little decoy fish gets the scraps from the man-of-war’s meal.” (Coronet). *
* In the March, 1960 “Scientific American” is an article by Charles E. Lane on “The Portuguese Man-Of-War,” giving these and other facts about this “Colorful jellyfish . . .whose stinging cells on the tentacles with which it fishes secrete a substance that is almost as toxic as Cobra venom.”
Such highly technical equipment that is so involved, can not be duplicated by man, and such an ingenious stratagem of luring other fish to kill them for food could NOT be developed by mere chance. It is the work of a Master Mind who apparently delights to create numberless, insoluble mysteries in nature and distribute strange abilities to equally strange creatures — all the work of His Mind and Hand.
(2) Sea Cucumbers. Sea cucumbers are fleshly “echinoderms” that creep about on ocean floors. They have odd rows of “tube feet” by which they attach themselves to rocks.
Two most unusual means of self preservation granted to these humble creatures by the Creator are given here (reproduced from a scientific article).
“When attacked, some sea cucumbers throw out their viscera, leaving them for the enemy, meanwhile escaping and regenerating a new set. Others throw out slime threads which entangle the enemy. The animals creep about on the ocean floor by muscular movements of the body wall. The tube feet are little used. The animals swallow sand or mud and digest the organic material. . . . They are used in making a soup.”
Not evolution, but God gifted the lowly sea cucumber with the ability to disgorge its insides — and then manufacture new ones at its leisure.
We would like to know, if evolution made this startling feat possible for the sea cucumber, why do not all other animals in the same category, and higher, have the same ability? Obviously, such miracles in nature are the work of a Supreme intelligent Creator.
(3) The Case of the Moving Left Eye
There are so many marvels in sea life that we will have to give a separate chapter to “Fish Wonders.” However, we want now to tell of the miracle of the “moving eye.” Let us take the “plaice” as an example — though any flat fish will do. We refer to the Pleuronectidae, i.e., fishes that swim on their sides.
“On emerging from the egg the young plaice, almost microscopic and quite transparent except for its black pinpoint of eyes, is an ordinary round fish with eyes in the position of those of other round fishes, swimming around like a round fish. But after a month a strange thing happens; the left eye begins to move. Meanwhile, the body slowly flattens sideways and the baby fish, a surface swimmer so far, begins to sink slowly towards the bottom. The left eye is still gradually moving, and by six weeks has reached the top of the head. A week later it has gone right around and has almost reached the right eye. By now the young plaice has sunk to the bottom and is lying on what was its left side, but which from now on will be its underpart — the white side — and the two eyes are close together on what is now the top of the head” (The Living Sea, pp. 153, 154).
With plaice, soles, dabs, flounders and halibuts it is always the left side that goes down and the left eye that moves; these are called “dextral fishes.” But with other species (like the turbot and brill), called “sinistral fishes,” the reverse flattening process takes place, and in these fishes it is the right eye that travels toward the left eye and away from the right side on which they lie.
No one knows WHY, but it is always the same eye in the same genus that does the travelling.
Moreover, many of these fish possess “homochromic mimicry” — the ability to change their color to suit their surroundings, as a protective measure — to an amazing degree.
They become the same color as their surroundings; and if the color of their surroundings is changed, the fish soon takes on that new color!
Evolution has no adequate explanation of this phenomenon. The truth is, this is one of those many cases in nature in which the new-born of the species has an entirely different environment from the adult form, and so God performed a miracle when He made these fish so that they could live both as round fish in infancy, near the surface, and as flat fish, in adult life, at the bottom of the sea. Common sense tells us, the only answer to such an unusual arrangement in nature is, God made it so.
Actually, there are myriads of STRANGE PLANTS and ANIMALS having characteristics that to the superficial observer seem to be “without rhyme or reason,” that can not be accounted for by blind evolution, but show the handiwork of an intelligent Designer and Creator. We mention a few more of the innumerable oddities:
The “RAILROAD WORM” of South America has a red light on it’s head and 11 pairs of greenish yellow lights on its sides, which make it look like a train. WHY this strange arrangement? The only possible answer is, God made it so!
The CHINA-MARK MOTH, exquisitely decorated, spends its entire caterpillar stage under water. This is so drastically contrary to usual experience that there can be no possible “evolutionary chain” leading up to it or departing therefrom. WHY does this creature have this strange life cycle? No one knows; but the answer is, God made it so!
An ALGERIAN LOCUST is able to use its own blood as a weapon. It can shoot, like an accomplished Texas gunman, literally “from the hip.” There is a pore between the first and second joints at the base of the leg. This pore can be opened when danger threatens, and a blistering stream of locust blood ejected to a distance of 20 inches! Why do other locusts not have this strange power — if evolution did the job? Obviously, the creature was designed, made that way.
Not to be outdone, the BOMBARDIER BEETLE * squirts from its hind end a reddish acid fluid which explodes with a pop. As the ‘shot’ comes into contact with the air it dissolves into a cloud of bluish smoke which, hovering like a gas barrage, covers the beetle’s retreat. The gas has irritant properties and generally succeeds in putting the enemy to “flight” (Nature Parade, p. 122). This is ingenuity so involved, using knowledge of engineering and chemistry so advanced, that man can not duplicate this miracle! It demands creation.
* There is another article on “The Bombardier Beetle” by Dr. Kofahi later in the book.
There is a species of BLIND TERMITES that shoot to kill. They have a bi-lobed gland on the head which contains a fluid that solidifies on being exposed to the air. Although this termite is blind, it possesses a mysterious sense of direction which enables it to fire its lethal syringe as accurately as if it could see. “This termite discharges his ‘jet’ right in the face of an invading ant — and the ants that receive the fatal douche run about as if demented, . . . and they usually die” (Sir J. Arthur Thompson). Certainly such uncanny ability can not be attributed to mere chance.
Let us give credit to whom credit is due: God designed and created all life in nature!