All biologists agree – creationists and evolutionists alike – that organisms show remarkable adaptations to their environment. They differ only in their explanations for how they got that way. Here are some remarkable examples of adaptation that will challenge any theory of origins.
Glowing millipedes: There is only one genus of millipede that glows in the dark, and all three species live in southern California. Millipedes of the genus Motyxia glow over the entire surface of their bodies, even though blind. Since they cannot see one another, they must use their light to deter predators. That’s what researchers from the University of Arizona determined, according to PhysOrg. Their field experiments showed that the glowing millipedes were attacked less by rodents than the non-glowing ones. These millipedes have another remarkable adaptation: they produce cyanide internally and somehow safely transport it to their skin as an additional deterrent. According to the original paper in Current Biology, “Bioluminescence — the ability of organisms to emit light — has evolved about 40–50 times independently across the tree of life.” It can be found in plants and animals as diverse as deep-sea fish, fireflies, fungi, and beetles.
Bird nesting: In Botswana, southern masked weaver birds build elaborate nests. A new study from University of Edinburgh questions whether this behavior is innate. Scientists found that birds can alter their techniques, and learn from one another and from experience. “Researchers chose the colourful African bird because they build complex nests, which is potentially a sign of intelligence,” the article on PhysOrg said. The males go all out with their hobby. Some of the birds build dozens of nests in a season.
Parrot talk: Who isn’t fascinated by a talking bird? An article on the BBC News website discussed how parrots and other language-mimicking birds are able to talk. “Unlike humans,” Megan Lane explained, “birds do not have vocal cords. Instead, they are thought to use the muscles and membranes in their throats – specifically the syrinx – to direct airflow to make tones and sounds.” This ability has been studied in parrots (including cockatoos and parakeets), songbirds and hummingbirds – all “distantly related” branches of birds.
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