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What A Wonderful World
Creatures That Defy Evolution
By Jordan P. Niednagel
© - 3/04

If there's one thing we can all agree upon, it's that the world around us is a wonderful place; wonderful in terms of diversity, complexity, and sheer wonder, confounding our presuppositions, and often negating our preconceived ideas. We have so much to learn, even after millennias of habitation on this planet we call earth. Truly, we have scarcely seen the tip of the iceberg.

And the question still remains; how did we get here? How did life as we now know it come to be? Were we wisely fashioned by an all mighty creator, or are we the result of natural processes? Design, or chance? In this unique article, we simply will touch upon a few creatures of our world; creatures that, if nothing more, put modern technology to shame.

The Gecko

They walk across walls and ceiling as though gravity didn't exist. But how? For a long while, geckos defied all attempts to explain how they could cling to any surface with no visible sign of glue or suction cups. Then, when a group of biologists and engineers studied the microscopic hairs on the toes of geckos, the answer was found. The ends of the hairs directly attach to molecules in the surface by what is called van der Waals force, a type of attraction between atoms. According to a report in Nature, scientists concluded that engineering a structure like the foot of a gecko is "beyond the limits of human technology." However, they hope that the "natural technology of gecko foot-hairs can provide biological inspiration for future design of a remarkable effective adhesive."

The Bombardier Beetle

It's just a little bug, but it has an amazing talent. No more than three-quarters of an inch long, the bombardier beetle possesses, in a sense, its own bomb. Inside the body of this beetle are two special chambers that manufacture two chemicals, hydrogen peroxide and hydroquinone. They are mixed together and sent to a storage chamber that is attached to a second chamber, appropriately called the explosion chamber, through a muscle that acts as a control valve. Inside this explosion chamber are a number of tiny extodermal glands that feed into it, adding an enzyme catalyst. Once this all takes place, a violent explosion ensues, being sent out a perfectly positioned tube at the rear of the beetle's body. Where does it then go? Quite frankly, into the enemies' face! The would-be predator is left choking in a hot, noxious smoke, while the beetle is left with enough time to quickly make a run for it. This amazing insect can even fire with tremendous accuracy in almost any direction necessary.

The Hummingbird

Those who have taken the time to set a liquid feeder outside should be familiar with the incredible acrobatics of the hummingbird. They are the smallest birds in nature, weighing less than a tenth of an ounce, with some 300 different varieties worldwide. Hummingbirds can fly backwards, forwards and sideways, or can hover in midair like a helicopter. If there's one that distinguishes hummingbirds from the rest of their feathered cousins, its their wing-flap speed. They can beat them at an incredible 80 strokes per second; so fast that the human can only view their wings as a frenzied blur. Equally incredible is their heart rate. Beating 1,000 times a minute, they inhale some 250 times in the same period of time. Because of this high metabolic rate, they must feed almost constantly. However, at night, all this changes. Hummingbirds don't sleep at night. Instead, they hibernate at night (except when the female is nesting). During this hibernation, the entire body slows down and the temperature drops to conserve energy. An amazing feat, one without which the hummingbird could not survive.

The Giraffe

What can compare to the unique design of the giraffe? Reaching 18 feet or more in height, the giraffe has one of the largest hearts in the animal kingdom, with nearly double the blood pressure of any creature. Indeed, when you observe the uphill climb that the blood must make to reach the top, you can see why so much pressure is needed. But what about when the giraffe lowers its head? Doesn't the blood rush to the brain with such tremendous force that it would kill the giraffe? Surely, you know how it is when you have been leaning over for awhile, and then suddenly stand up straight to feel sickeningly dizzy. How does the giraffe avoid this problem? Amazingly, the jugular blood vessels in its neck have a series of one-way check valves that hold back the blood from flowing to the brain when it lowers its head. Then, when the giraffe lifts its head again, it prevents the blood from flowing away from the brain too quickly. Also, at the base of the brain is a network of spongy tissue that soaks up any excess blood. Truly, an astounding example of plumbing technology.

The Seahorse

They're a fish, but they don't look like a fish. As their name indicates, they look like a horse. Swimming vertically, they even "ride" like a horse. Strangest of all, the male seahorse gives "birth" to the babies! Course, the eggs originally come from the female, but she actually deposits the several thousand eggs at a time into the abdominal pouch of the male where they are later fertilized. After that, she leaves and from that time on has nothing to do with either her eggs or her mate. The faithful male, however, protects the eggs in his pouch, and when they finally hatch, he secretes a nourishing fluid that the babies feed on. About two weeks later, he "gives birth" to the thousands of miniature seahorses, who are then, for better or for worse, left completely on their own.

The Platypus

Inhabiting Tasmania and southern and eastern Australia, the peculiar platypus sports a duck-like bill roughly 2.5 inches long and 2 inches wide. Inside this leathery snout are sophisticated electronic sensors that it uses to detect prey, such as shrimp, worms, and shellfish. This incredible "detector" actually senses the faint electric waves produced by these smaller creatures, where it then becomes only a matter of seconds until the platypus finds itself a meal. Stranger still is that, although the platypus is classified as a mammal, it lays eggs! As if that weren't enough, it is also venomous. Males possess a poison gland in the hind leg that opens through a bony spur on the ankle. The spur is used to defend against predators and possibly to defend its territory.


Such amazing animals. Such complexity that we have yet to even begin to understand. For every answer, there is a question, and the more we know, the more we don't know.

How did the gecko develop its outstanding ability to climb? Were the hairs on its toes useless up until the time they were just right? Why haven't a host of other lizards developed such a beneficial ability?

How did the bombardier beetle slowly evolve such a dangerous mechanism without obliterating itself into extinction? If the chemicals were not just the right strength or right ingredients, or if the control valve did not close when the explosion took place, think of the consequences. If the mechanism didn't work until fully formed, think of the extra baggage it would have been.

How did the hummingbird develop into such a high-metabolic bird? Why are there not many other birds similar to it? What fossils do we have that show its gradual development into what we know them as today?

How did the giraffe slowly develop such a brain structure that would allow it to raise and lower its head without any problems? If they are the result of millions of years of evolution, wherein they grew longer and longer necks overtime in order to eat from the trees, why aren't there hundreds of other animals with such necks?

How did male seahorses ever evolve from non-pouch to pouch? Why would they ever develop a pouch in the first place? How did the eggs survive before the male ever developed a pouch, and who convinced the male to watch over the eggs once the pouch was developed?

If the platypus developed from some type of rat millions of years ago, how did its fleshy snout develop into a leather bill? How did the electric sensors evolve where none existed before? And why do they lay eggs? Why don't many other mammals lay eggs?


These are questions that some can imagine answers to, but such answers remain just that . . . imagination. An Englishman by the name of William Paley wrote nearly two centuries ago in his book, titled Natural Theology, that design requires a Master Designer. If someone found a pocket watch, he said, lying on the ground, he would reach the conclusion that it had been designed by a watchmaker. The order and design of the natural world, Paley reasoned, also points to the existence of an omnipotent Creator Designer.

As always, we don't make the conclusion, but leave the conclusion up to you.



1. Dennis R. Petersen, Fossils, Unlocking the Mysteries of Creation, Master Books, p. 112-123. ©2002.
2. Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment. Parks and Wildlife - Platypus,

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