Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Clever Ant Farmers Harvest Seeds


Pogonomyrmex barbatus is a close relative of P. badius. Image courtesy of Steve Jurvetson, Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0).





Joel Kontinen

According to the Darwinian story, chimps and other big mammals should certainly be much smarter that tiny ants who have a minuscule brain.

However, ants seem to defy this dogma at almost every turn. Even evolutionists believe that they created an elaborate farming system some “25 million years” ago.

Ants are living fossils that haven’t changed in “100 million years".

Today’s ants seem to know basic mathematics, and are able to build impromptu bridges and living rafts, for instance.

New research discloses yet another surprise. As New Scientist puts it,

“Florida harvester ants, Pogonomyrmex badius, have developed a clever farming strategy to do so – they plant seeds, wait for them to germinate and then eat the soft spoils.

The article goes on to explain just how clever the ants are. While they cannot crack up the hard seeds, they have found a way to get at the nutritious food:

Germination … splits the tough husk, making the seed contents available as food for the ants. A single large seed may have nutritional value of 15 smaller seeds, so it makes sense to collect it and wait for it to crack open. Seeds from various species germinate at different times, which may give the ants a steady supply of their ‘crop’ ”.

The Bible describes ants as very industrious creatures and it definitely is true.

Source

Simičević, Vedrana. 2017. Harvester ants farm by planting seeds to eat once they germinate. New Scientist (13 January).

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Bats Use Smart Sat-Nav Neurons to Find Their Way


Image courtesy of Arpingstone, public domain.




Joel Kontinen

Fruit bats have a smart navigation system that tells them where to go. They have brain cells that give them “their distance and angle to a location,” as a Nature news article puts it.

The article goes on to say:

Egyptian fruit bats navigate their angle and distance of flight to specific destinations using special vector neurons.

Bats have brain cells that keep track of their angle and distance to a target, researchers have discovered. The neurons, called ‘vector cells’, are a key piece of the mammalian’s brain complex navigation system
.”

Many animals, such as monarch butterflies, jellyfish, turtles, pigeons, bumblebees and robins, have amazingly smart navigation skills.

And bats can fly really fast.

What do these skills tell us? They should remind us of the Creator:

For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20, NIV).

Source:

Abbott, Alison. 2017. Sat-nav neurons tell bats where to go. Nature news (12 January).

Friday, 13 January 2017

Tiny Sea Dragon Is No Darwinian Icon

Phyllopteryx dewysea. Image courtesy of Gaynor Dolman, Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).




Joel Kontinen

Fish come in all sizes and shapes. Some of them look more or less weird and might choose to walk instead of swim.

But bizarre traits do not make them into the transitional forms Darwinian evolution desperately needs, or into any other types of in-betweens.

Just like the seahorse, the ruby seadragon (Phyllopteryx dewysea) is a fish. It lives in deep waters off the west coast of Australia and is rarely seen.

Now, however, scientists have filmed it in action 55 metres below the surface.

Unlike some other sea creatures, they have no need of camouflage:

Instead, their colour helps them hide. Red is the first colour seawater absorbs from sunlight, so at that depth, no red light will bounce off these seadragons, making it hard for predators to see them,” New Scientist explains.

Like another miniature dragon – the flying lizard Draco volans – this tiny fish seem to be intelligently designed to thrive in its habitat.

Source:

Whyte, Chelsea. 2017. First ever video of an elusive new ruby seadragon filmed in wild. New Scientist (13 January).


Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The Elephant’s Trunk: An Elegant Multi-Purpose Tool

The elephant's trunk is an elegant multi-purpose tool.




Joel Kontinen

The elephant’s trunk is an elegant multi-purpose tool. It can move and pick up both huge objects and tiny ones and anything in between as well.

A recent study conducted by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta featuring a captive African elephant called Kelly shows just how effective this tool is.

They offered Kelly four different kinds of food, of different sizes – powdered bran, cubed bran, cubed swede and cubed celery – and noticed that the elephant was able to change the shape of her trunk and exert just the force needed to pick up the food.

New Scientist gives us some details:

Kelly’s secret, it turns out, was her ability to create a kink at any point along her 2-metre-long trunk that would provide exactly the right downward force to grip each size of food item.

The kink acted like a joint that subdivided her trunk into two sections: a long section that supported the weight of the trunk and a short tip pointing vertically downwards for dexterous gripping
.”

Intelligent solutions do not appear out of thin air. They have to be designed.

And the elephant’s trunk seems to be designed amazingly well:

“Kelly could reduce the downward force for particularly delicate object handling by making the vertical part of her trunk shorter – and increase the force by making the vertical section longer.

In other words, Kelly had the ability to fine-tune how much force to apply by altering the position of the ‘kink’ in her trunk
.”

Many other features in animals bear the hallmarks of intelligent design. A recent study looked at the zebra’s tail, which is also a very effective tool.

Other examples include the Saiga antelope’s air-conditioning nose, the penguin’s anti-free feathers and an anti-crash system in birds, to mention just a few.

Source:

Coghlan, Andy. 2017. The trunk trick that lets elephants pick up almost anything. New Scientist (9 January).

Monday, 9 January 2017

Intelligently Designed Zebra Tail Is An Amazingly Effective Fly Swatter


The zebra tail can swing really fast.




Joel Kontinen

How do zebras and giraffes keep flies and mosquitoes away? They resort to a clever trick: they swing their tails “three times faster than a gravity-driven pendulum.”

Writing in Science, Elizabet Pennisi goes on to say:

The tail works like a double pendulum in that it swishes from where it sticks out of the butt and then from another pivot point where the bone and skin part of the tail ends and the hair begins … Because of that second pivot, the tip can swing at a different speed or even direction than the rest of the tail. This flexibility enables the animal to interrupt its swishing and use both pivot points to take aim and powerfully swat the intruder before it has a chance to bite.”

God knew that in a fallen world zebras needed to have a mechanism for protecting themselves from insects.

The tail is not the zebra’s only defensive weapon. Its stripes also keep insects away, making it difficult for them to find a safe landing place.

Source:

Pennisi, Elizabeth. 2017. Watch a zebra turn its tail into a surprisingly effective fly swatter. Science (6 January).

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Amazing Design Boosts Butterfly Flight


Long distance flier. Image courtesy of William Warby, Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0).



Joel Kontinen

Butterflies are designed to be effective fliers.

Notwithstanding their tiny brains, they are superb navigators.

A fresh study highlighted yet another of their amazing traits. Their tiny, 0.1 millimetre long scales on their wings are there for a purpose.

An article in Science states:

Those incredibly tiny scales … are arranged like roof shingles on the wing, making it a little rough. But until now, no one knew how that roughness affected flight. So a group of engineers filmed 11 free-flying monarch butterflies, first with their scales and then after their scales had been stripped off. Using a special chamber with 22 cameras to track the insects with submillimeter precision, they found that the scales boosted climbing efficiency between 16% and 82%, they reported today at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.”

The article also included a biomimicry dimension. It went on to say that engineers might use this design to improve small flying robots.

Biomimicry or copying intelligent designs seen in nature is a big challenge to Darwinian evolution.

We should not forget that if something works, it has to be designed.

Butterflies are designed very well.

Source:

Pennisi, Elizabeth. 2017. Scaly wings help these butterflies soar. Science (5 January).


Thursday, 5 January 2017

Darwin Gave Us a False Idea of Races

They all belong to the same human race. Image courtesy of G. Mützel: Nordisk familjebok (1904), vol.2, Asiatiska folk, public domain.




Joel Kontinen

Darwinian evolution has a huge problem with credibility. On April’s Fool Day in 2009 National Geographic published the images of four of the most famous hoaxes in science.

Three of them were assumed transitional forms: Piltdown man, Archaeoraptor liaoningensis and bigfoot (an imaginery apeman).

In a recent article on The Conversation, Darren Curnoe highlights yet another hoax that we can thank evolutionists for: the view that there are several human races. This easily leads to racism.

This view was introduced by Charles Darwin in his book Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871):

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races. At the same time, the anthropomorphous apes. . . will no doubt be exterminated. The break will then be rendered wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as at present between the Negro or Australian and the gorilla.” (vol. 1, p. 201).

Descent of Man inspired many other works. The book that John Scopes of the monkey trial fame used in his classes was Hunter’s Civic Biology (1914). It includes some interesting details about humans:

"At the present time there exist upon the earth five races or varieties of man, each very different from the other in instincts, social customs, and, to an extent, in structure. These are the Ethiopian or negro type, originating in Africa; the Malay or brown race, from the islands of the Pacific; The American Indian; the Mongolian or yellow race, including the natives of China, Japan, and the Eskimos; and finally, the highest type of all, the Caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America."

Curnoe, an associate professor at the University of New South Wales, suggests that the very idea of different races is “the biggest mistake in the history of science.”

I would disagree. I would say that Darwinian evolution is the biggest mistake. Others, such as eugenics, are the fruit of evolutionary thinking.

Bible-believing Christians would not be surprised that there is only one human race to which we all belong.

After all, the apostle Paul says (in Acts 17:26) that all humans are the descendants of one man, and Genesis 3:20 tells us that Eve was the mother of all people.

Modern genetics has finally caught up with this biblical truth.

Source:

Curnoe, Darren. 2016. The biggest mistake in the history of science.. The Conversation (December 20):