Archive | August, 2011

The Amazing Hippopotamus

25 Aug

Why do Hippo’s stay submerged in water much of the time?

A mature bull hippopotamus is about 13 feet long, nose to tail, weighs about 1700 pounds and measures five feet high at the shoulder.

  • Hippos have a thin epidermis, and the rate of water loss through the skin in dry air is several times greater than in other mammals. Hence, the hippo stays in the water or mud to prevent dehydration.
  • The pores on their naked skin secrete a thick pink liquid, which covers the body. Sunlight bouncing off the hippo’s dark skin and back through the pinkish ooze makes it appear as if the hippo is covered in glistening blood. It is thought that this “ooze” may serve as a sunscreen, a moisturizer and/or an antiseptic lotion.  But although the liquid isn’t blood, it isn’t sweat, either. Hippos don’t sweat; they ooze.
  • They have a set of massive, razor-sharp tusks found in the corners of the jaw and hidden away inside the folds of their fatty lips. The two tusks of the lower jaw can grow to a foot or more.
  • Sharp incisors also line both jaws.  They open their mouths wide to show aggression—which can sometimes be four feet wide at a 150 degree gape.
  • Although hippos might look docile, they are probably the most dangerous African animal. They are not only aggressive and easily enraged, but they are also very unpredictable.
  • On land, this 1-3 ton animal, over a short haul, can easily outrun a man. Every year many people are killed by getting too close to hippos.
  • Hippos can stay totally submerged for up to six minutes and, having a high specific gravity, they can easily walk or run along the bottom during a dive.
  • When submerged, they close the valves of their nostrils and press their ears flat against the sides of their heads. The heart rate slows down, giving it more time underwater.
  • When it surfaces, it is usually with a loud hiss, a snort, or distinctive grunt that sounds like a blast from a tuba.
  • Their eyes and nostrils are located high on their heads, which allows them to see and breathe while mostly submerged.  Just another evidence of God’s design.

An adult hippo eats more than 150 pounds of grass a night. These grazers tear up grass not with their teeth but with their lips. They eat the grass so short that if a fire should sweep through the area there isn’t enough grass there to  burn.

Job 34:12,13

The Message

“It’s impossible for God to do anything wicked, for the Mighty One to subvert justice. He’s the one who runs the earth! He cradles the whole world in his hand!”

What about this hippo sunscreen?

(One evolution website gave the following information about the hippo’s sunscreen.)   “Hippos venture out in the scorching sun from time to time, to top off their nightly eating binge.  But a traditional sunscreen – like fur – is not practical if you spend half your time submerged in water.   The answer that evolution came up with was an anti-UV secretion, which is at first colorless, then red, then finally brown as the pigment polymerizes. This natural skin-care product not only protects the hippo from the sun, it also regulates temperature and discourages the growth of bacteria. Scientists collected samples of the hippo’s sweat to see what makes it so special.  They found it is made up of two pigments . The scientists believe these two substances are produced from a metabolite of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins).  Both pigments act as sun blocks and the red one, they discovered, is a particularly good antibiotic.  At concentrations lower than that found on the hippo’s skin, it can inhibit the growth of two types of pathogenic bacteria. This is useful for hippos, because they are always fighting.  Perhaps it is no wonder, then, that evolution endowed them with a handy antiseptic”

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It takes far more “faith” to believe this amazing critter just happened to “evolve” than it takes to believe there was a designer, whose name is God.  Don’t you suppose that God gets tired of “evolution” taking credit for all His amazing creations.

 

 

What’s so amazing about the Mallee Fowl?

5 Aug

Mallee Fowl live in the Mallee forests of Australia.  While most birds settle for sitting on their eggs to incubate them—the Mallee has a very complicated incubation method.

What do they do?  Each fall they dig a 3 foot deep hole, heap it full of vegetation, let it get rained on, then cover it over with sand and wait for it to decay—up to four months of waiting.

Why wait? 

As it decays it heats up—to just the right temperature to incubate their eggs.  This is no small mound but may end up to be about 6 feet from top to bottom and perhaps 40 feet across. The Mallee may move three tons of materials while tending the mound. That is a lot of scraping of vegetation and sand for those two little feet.

Oh, did I mention this bird is called a Megapod—which means big feet.

How can the Mallee tell the temperature? 

God gave him that amazing ability.  As a matter of fact, he not only can take the temperature, he can do whatever it takes to keep the temperature right at 91 to 92 degrees.  As soon as the temperature is stable, the females starts laying the eggs.

How many eggs are laid? 

If the conditions are right in the mound she will lay up to 30 eggs—each up to a week apart.  If conditions aren’t so good she may only lay about 6 eggs.  And if it is a year without rain, they take a vacation from mound building and egg laying that year.  Amazing how smart these fowl are!

What size are the eggs?

The eggs are nearly as big as an ostrich egg—weighing a half pound each.  The egg is 1/10th of the weight of the female.  That is like a woman having a 15 pound baby.

What about hatching? 

It takes about 9 weeks for each egg to hatch so if they are laid over a period of several weeks, Mr. Mallee is tending that mound for a good long time.  Then, once hatched, the chicks must DIG themselves out of the mound—taking 3-15 hours.

Once out, they are completely on their own.  The parents pay absolutely no attention to them.  At two years old they build their own nest, never having been taught how to build a mound or take the temperature.

Explain the process of evolution in relation to this fowl?  Unless the temperature is just right the hen won’t lay and the eggs won’t incubate.  Too marvelous for explanation!

 Psalm 145:10,11

“Creation and creatures applaud you, God; your holy people bless you.  They talk about the glories of your rule, they exclaim over your splendor. . . . .”

HOW CAN THIS BE?

Baby chicks of the Australian Mallee Fowl hatch only because their parents know how to take the temperature.  If the chick’s parents couldn’t tell when the temperature in their egg chamber was exactly 91-92 degrees, they would never hatch out of the eggs.  This would mean no more Mallee Fowl.  In fact, if the parents were wrong more than one degree either way, it’s bye-bye birdie. 

To take the temperature the male probes the mound with his bill, and when both parents are satisfied the temperature in the mound is “hatching heat” the hen lays a single egg.  The male carefully moves the egg into the right position, then prepares the mound for the next egg.

In a dazzling display of temperature sensing, the Mallee constantly alters the structure of the mound to maintain the exact temperature.  If the heat in the mound increases because of rapidly decaying plant material, he uncovers the eggs to let air circulate around them.  When the hot summer sun beats down, he adds sand or soil to the mound.  This acts as a shield to protect the eggs.

The more we know about the Mallee the more unanswered questions we have.

How do the male and female know what duties are theirs?

How do the chicks know they must tunnel out of the mound in order to survive?

How do the Mallee know what temperature the mound must maintain to sustain the eggs?

No way could this intricate design evolve.  Such marvelous design demands a designer!