February 10, 2018 | David F. Coppedge

The Creator Thought of Everything

Sometimes little things make a big difference to a plant or animal. Evolutionists can always make up just-so stories, but creationists see God’s wisdom even in small things.

by David Coppedge

 

Why Roosters Aren’t Deaf

Boys trying to hypnotize a rooster. Photo by David Coppedge.

Did you ever wonder why roosters don’t go deaf? The loud, constant crowing of male chickens should damage their own ears. To the rooster, it’s like hearing a chainsaw at an intensity of 100 decibels, says Phys.org. European scientists decided to figure out how they protect themselves from hearing loss. Evolutionists might speculate that deaf roosters are less likely to pass on their genes, but more is required than an after-the-fact story. What the researchers found is quite clever, involving multiple traits working together.

People who regularly use chainsaws without ear protection, it should be noted, go deaf over time due to damage to the tiny hair cells in the inner ear. Chickens of both genders also have such hairs in their ears, and the team wondered why they weren’t damaged. To find out, they performed micro-computerized tomography scans on the skulls of the birds.

They discovered that half of the birds’ eardrum was covered by a bit of soft tissue that dampened incoming noise. They also found that when the rooster tilted its head back to crow, another bit of material covered the ear canal completely, serving as a built-in ear-plug. Thus, for the rooster, it is as if someone were sticking their fingers in their ears while they are crowing. The researchers noted the birds also have another advantage—unlike humans, birds can regrow damaged hair cells. As for why the hens and chicks do not suffer hearing damage from the male crowing, though not mentioned in the research, it is well known that roosters tend to seek a vantage point offering maximum reach when they crow (away from the hens and chicks), making sure everyone within earshot knows that the hens that live there are his.

How Venus Flytraps Love Their Pollinators

Wouldn’t it be the ultimate insult to a beneficial insect for a Venus flytrap to accept the favor of pollination, then eat the pollinator? Scientists at North Carolina State University discovered that the carnivorous plants don’t eat the bugs that pollinate them. An evolutionist might speculate that nature selected the plants that treat their pollinators kindly, but how can a blind plant know the difference?

Nobody knew which creature pollinated these curious plants that had attracted the admiration of Darwin, so the biologists went looking. They found 100 species of insects around the plants, then checked which ones carried Venus flytrap pollen. Only a few carried a lot of pollen, and all of them could fly. Answers to the puzzle presented themselves:

The researchers also retrieved prey from more than 200 flytraps at the study sites. The three most important pollinator species — despite being found so often on the flowers — were never found in the traps.

“One potential reason for this is the architecture of the plants themselves,” Youngsteadt says. “Venus flytrap flowers are elevated on stems that stand fairly high above the snap traps of the plant, and we found that 87 percent of the flower-visiting individuals we captured — including all three of the most important species — could fly. But only 20 percent of the prey could fly. The pollinator species may simply be staying above the danger zone as they go from flower to flower, making them less likely to be eaten.”

While that may sound like a simple thing for natural selection to do, the scientists note that “other factors may also come into play.” For instance, the colors of the traps are different than the flowers. The chemical scents might be different, too (that’s something they have yet to prove). It appears that multiple factors work together to achieve this beneficial relationship. “There is still a lot to learn about these plants and their pollinators,” one of the team members said.

Incidentally, Chinese scientists (far from the habitat of the Venus flytrap in North Carolina) have taken inspiration from the little bug catcher. They have designed a nano-claw, writes New Scientist, to trap bacteria in the bloodstream. It works just like the Venus flytrap.

Why Deer Don’t Freeze

Ever see deer in deep snow? One would think they would be miserable with those skinny legs and short fur coats. At Phys.org, Chris Whittier from Tufts University lists the multiple adaptations that keep them hardy all winter long.

White-tailed deer, the kind found in Massachusetts and across most of the United States, are the widest-ranging ungulate in the Americas, from as far south as Bolivia to as far north as southern Canada. To cover such diverse territory and climates, white-tailed deer have a variety of adaptations and behaviors, including those that allow them to survive harsh winter weather that is common in New England.

Photo by David Coppedge.

These same deer, mind you, also survive hot summers and temperate spring and fall temperatures. Here are some of the adaptations in Whittier’s list for surviving the winter:

  • Before winter, deer insulate their bodies with more fat.
  • In the fall, they grow darker, thicker fur with ‘guard hairs’ and a thicker undercoat.
  • The darker fur absorbs more sunlight and holds heat in.
  • Deer have oil-producing glands that add water resistance to the fur.
  • They change their behavior, becoming less active, to preserve resources.
  • They gather in sheltered areas called ‘deer yards’ that can protect many deer.
  • Deer still find most of their food above ground.

Usually deer can comfortably survive the winter by eating their usual diet of twigs, stems, grasses, and other plants wherever they typically would find them, as well as by supplementing with higher-calorie foods such as nuts, fruits, and even mushrooms. Because deer are generally browsers, like goats, and not grazers, like cows or sheep, they do not need to get under the snow to eat, though they can and sometimes will.

How many hunters, bundled up in multiple layers of thermals and coats, trudging through the snow with heavy boots, ever think about how marvelously adapted their nimble, skinny targets are! What human engineer could design such a wonderful creature that produces all these adaptations by eating twigs and nuts?

This entry could be multiplied a thousand-fold. For just a taste of the multiple design evidences at every scale of size that turned a rocket scientist to faith in God, read Henry Richter’s book, Spacecraft Earth: A Guide for Passengers.

 

 

 

 

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