Jellyfish are considered to be primitive creatures that have no brain or any kind of sophisticated ability to react to its environment.  They just swim around with the currents in search of food, or do they?

A study published in Current Biology, claims that box jellyfish have as many as 24 eyes and possibly more.  Not only do they have a large number of eyes, but they have also identified that there are 4 different types of eyes.  The eyes are positioned around the box jellyfish in such a way that 4 eyes are always looking up to the surface no matter what direction it is swimming.  Even more surprising is the jellyfish’s ability to use their eyes to help them find their way around the mangrove swamps where they inhabit.

The report on the box jelly’s eyes is no surprise as scientists have known for a long time that they have eyes, respond to light and have been able to avoid obstacles.  What surprised them were the different types of eyes and the sophistication of their eyesight and ability to navigate in their environment as researcher Anders Garm of the University of Copenhagen said:

It is a surprise that a jellyfish—an animal normally considered to be lacking both brain and advanced behavior—is able to perform visually guided navigation, which is not a trivial behavioral task. This shows that the behavioral abilities of simple animals, like jellyfish, may be underestimated.

The box jellyfish in this study, Tripedalia cystophora, live in the narrow and shallow confines of mangrove roots in Caribbean swamps.  They feed on copepods that congregate in the sunlit areas that peek through the mangrove canopy above.  The jellies rarely venture away from the shadowed roots into open water, restricting their movements to a only a few yards of the protective covering of the mangroves.

Researchers studied the lenses of one of the types of eyes to determine the extent of their visual capabilities.   They discovered that these eyes are perfectly designed for focusing on the mangrove canopy above where the box jellies lived.  Further studies revealed that the jellyfish navigated through the maze of mangrove prop roots by looking at the canopy above the water surface.  Experiments showed that the box jellies were unable to find their way around the tangled roots when the canopy was hidden from their view.

Managing what has long been thought of as advanced behaviors associated with vision, without a centralized brain is not what the researchers expected.  These tasks are generally thought to require a sufficiently well developed and sizeable brain.  Yet these jellyfish are found to be able to process visual signals and consciously determine their path as they swim around and through the mangrove roots in search of the areas where the copepods were gathering in the sunlight.  Garm put it this way:

We have shown that the box jellyfish can use vision to navigate in their habitat, and we now want to understand how their simple nervous system supports such advanced behaviors.

They can’t explain how such a rudimentary nervous system can accomplish this.  The paradox of possessing such advanced behavioral traits with the absence of an organized brain is only a problem for evolutionists.  Their commitment to a belief in the evolutionary development of animals from simple to complex is what is blinding them from seeing another marvel of God’s design in nature.

Attributing the design of the box jelly’s eyes to a feature created by our Creator God does not mean we just accept and move on.  As a biologist, I am also intrigued as to how the vision processes of the box jellies function as it helps us further understand the world around us.  God told Adam to have dominion over and subdue the world He created.  That requires us to do research like that conducted by Garm and his associates and I compliment them on their fine work.  The only difference is that I see the results as pointing to God where they see a paradox they cannot explain because they are blinded by their faith in the Godless religion known as evolution.


Through Unique Eyes,, May 2, 2011.

Additional Resources

Creation A Key To Dynamic Witnessing

This presentation was given live to some 2000 people, many of them students, at South Africas renowned university town of Stellenbosch. Afterwards, 30 university students came forward to publically profess faith in Christ. Its clear that in this age of science and technology, we need to deal with the evolution issue head-on, from an unashamedly biblical standpoint. (Illustrated presentation, including English subtitles)

Featuring: Dr Carl Wieland
Ages: HighschoolAdult
Format: DVD
Length: 57 min

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