One of the greatest miracles in the animal kingdom is the metamorphosis of butterflies. The transformation from egg to adult defies evolutionary explanation and is a testimony to the infinite wisdom of our Creator God.
But metamorphosis is not the only specially designed feature of the monarch butterfly. Their monumental migration has long been a mystery that is still mystifying scientists. Every fall, hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies take to the air on an epic journey. All of the monarchs that lived west of the Rocky Mountains head to the Santa Cruz and Pacific Grove coastal areas of California. The rest of the monarchs living in the central and eastern US travel to the mountains north of Mexico City. In the spring, the migrations reverse and the Mexican butterflies head north to the US and those along the California coast spread out in the western US.
How they find their way has been the subject of many studies. Some scientists have theorized that the eastern and western populations of monarch may have separate genes that contain built in navigational information that guides them to the different destinations.
A new study conducted by Emory University biologists set out to determine if there was a genetic difference between the two populations. After studying the genetic makeup of a number of individuals from both groups, it was determined that they were genetically mixed. That meant that the theory of genetic navigational information was wrong and they needed to look for other answers.
What adds to the migrational mystery is that the same individuals do not make the trek each year. Those monarchs in the Mexican mountains will generally mate before they head north. When they reach an adequate food source, they will stop to eat and lay their eggs. In about four days, the eggs hatch into an early instar caterpillar. About two weeks later, the caterpillar forms a chrysalis where it spends the next two weeks transforming from a caterpillar into a beautiful adult monarch butterfly. Once the butterfly emerges, it seeks another food supply and will often migrate further north or east.
Over the next four weeks, that butterfly will mate and lay eggs and start the cycle all over again. As long as the daylight hours remain longer than the night time, most of the adult butterfly’s energy goes into the development of their sexual organs and reproducing. However, once the daylight hours begin to shorten, the energy is diverted away from the sexual organs and it used to prepare for their long flight back to the Mexican mountains.
When it comes time to migrate back south, the lifespan of the adult monarch increases from four weeks to nearly six months. This gives them enough time to fly up to 1,500 miles back to Mexico to the very same trees where their great-great grandparents migrated from back in the spring.
As you can see, the butterflies that return to Mexico are born in the US and never made the trek north. How second and third generation butterflies know how to navigate back to the same trees in the Mexican mountains as their great-great grandparents remains a mystery, as expressed by Amanda Pierce, one of the Emory researchers:
We know there is no learning component for the butterflies, because each migration is separated by two to three generations. To me, that makes the problem even more interesting. How can these small, delicate animals travel thousands of kilometers and arrive at the same destination as their great-great grandparents?
After dozens of studies and thousands of dollars and man hours spent trying to figure out how the monarchs know their way back and forth from Mexico to the US, evolutionists still have no answers. They remain completely clueless.
Perhaps the only viable answer is that God hardwired that information into the butterflies when He created them. I know that the earth now is far different than the earth prior to the Flood, but somehow that information has to be hardwired into the butterflies and there is only one way it could have gotten there and evolution is not that source.
Mystery of Monarch Butterfly Migration Takes New Turn, Science Daily, May 31, 2012.
Today, the ID (intelligent design) movement is capturing headlines (and igniting controversy) around the world. But in the process, many are coming to think that a credible challenge to the dominant Darwinian naturalism of our time means backing away from a clear stand for the truth of the Bible.
Now creationist heavyweight Jonathan Sarfati, whose Refuting Evolution has the most copies in print of any creation book ever, challenges this mindset head on. In the process, By Design is set to become a classic of the creation movementin the same vein as Dr Sarfatis comprehensive Refuting Compromise, which is arguably the most powerful biblical and scientific defense of straightforward Genesis in existence.
Paperback, 150 pages