Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Hercules Crab Defies Darwinian Story

Coconut crabs. Image courtesy of Brocken Inaglory Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Joel Kontinen

The coconut crab (Birgus latro) can weigh up to 4 kilograms. It has enormous claws with which it can pick up objects that are seven times heavier that it is.

Recently, scientists measured the strength of this crab. While humans have a grip strength of 300 newtons on average, a coconut crab weighing 2 kilograms almost reached 1800 newtons. Hence, the researchers suggested that a fully-grown coconut crab “could thus be expected to exert a crushing force of more than 3000 newtons,” New Scientist says.

While the Darwinian explanation for the crab’s Hercules-like grip invokes dietary demands, just how many crabs passed away before evolution’s blind watchmaker finally thought of a solution and gave the poor crab a chance to have a coconut for lunch?

The mantis shrimp is another Hercules: it beats airplane frames in strength.

Creatures like these challenge evolutionary explanations. They strongly suggest that teleology or goal-orientation was involved. This happens to be Darwinian heresy.

Design is so evident everywhere that it is actually difficult to to avoid goal-orientation even in evolutionary stories.


Klein, Alice. 2016. Coconut crab’s bone-crushing grip is 10 times stronger than ours. New Scientist (23 November ).