Fact File

Archive of items from Evidence News

Limpet teeth are toughest, according to reports in ScienceDaily 17 February 2015 ABC News in Science and BBC News 18 February 2015. Limpets are small marine molluscs with conical shells that graze on algae growing on rocks along the seashore. A team of scientists led by Asa Barber of the University of Portsmouth School of Engineering, have studied the microscopic structure of limpet teeth and found they are made of the strongest natural organic material so far discovered.

The research team found limpet teeth were made of a composite of iron rich mineral fibres known as goethite bound together by chitin, a polymer that acts as glue to hold the fibres together. According to Barber, “The strength of the tooth is due to the diameters of the fibres being below a particular size, which is about 60 nanometres, or over a thousand times thinner than a human hair”.

A limpet’s teeth are arranged in rows embedded in a structure named a radula. The limpet feeds by scraping the radula over the rock surface and pulling scraped off algae into its mouth. Barber explained: “Limpets evolved strong teeth as the teeth scrape over rock surfaces every day to feed. If the teeth broke easily, then the limpet would not be able to feed and would die – hence evolution selecting the strongest teeth over many years”. He also commented: “Nature is a wonderful source of inspiration for structures that have excellent mechanical properties. All the things we observe around us, such as trees, the shells of sea creatures and the limpet teeth studied in this work, have evolved to be effective at what they do”.

ABC, BBC, ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: Barber’s faith in evolution is truly remarkable, especially as he is an engineer, and should have learnt by experience that chance random processes only destroy things, which is what would have happened if half-evolved limpets didn’t yet have tough teeth, but tried to scrape algae off a rock. How does he think limpets with less tough teeth survived, when he admits limpets with broken teeth would not be able to feed and so would die?

Here we see the fallacy of crediting natural selection with the origin of any useful structure. Natural Selection will ensure that limpets that already have teeth sufficiently strong to scrape rocks will survive, but NS cannot produce tough teeth if they don’t. For that you need genes that control the cellular process that manufacture goethite fibres and chitin, ensuring the goethite fibres are the right thickness and combine them together with chitin in the right way. In other words, you need new information inserted into the limpet’s genome by creative design and intelligent manipulation.

It takes far less faith to believe that the Creator made limpets, complete with tough teeth, along with the radula that holds them and with the nervous system and muscle control to work it, and a digestive system that can cope with the bits of rock that the limpets scrape off along with the algae.

Furthermore, if we gain any inspiration from trees, seashells, limpet teeth and other things in the natural world that have excellent mechanical properties, we should give thanks and praise to the Creator who made them, and Who gave us brains to study the world around us and learn from what He made. In fact, the mandate for the scientific study of the world, and for engineering using materials of the world, was given by the Creator who made human beings in God’s image and told them to rule over the earth and the living things in it (Genesis 1:26-28). Don’t let anyone tell you the Bible is anti-science. (Ref. design, shellfish, bio-engineering)

Evidence News vol. 15, No. 4
25 March 2015
Creation Research Australia

Why mangrove trees don’t fall over described in Annals of Botany doi: 10.1093/aob/mcv002 published online 13 February 2015. Mangrove trees grow in soft unstable ground, which means they are likely to be blown over in storms if they grow too tall and top heavy. Red mangrove trees, Rhizophora mangle, have prop-like structures, named rhizophores, projecting from the sides of their trunks. To see if these helped the trees grow taller without getting too heavy to stay upright scientists in Mexico have studied the structural mechanics of red mangrove trees and compared them with black mangrove trees, Avicennia germinans, which grows in the same environment but does not have rhizophores.

They found that trees with rhizophores had a “thinner stem of higher mechanical resistance that is stabilized by rhizophores resembling flying buttresses”. They went on to say: “This provides a unique strategy to increase tree slenderness and height in the typically unstable substrate on which the trees grow, at a site that is subject to frequent storms”.

Editorial Comment: Flying buttresses are an architectural device that once discovered by man enabled builders to construct tall buildings without having to make the walls too thick. They work by transmitting outward forces through a bridge-like structure, often arched, to the ground through a pillar or block of masonry that is separate from the wall. This structure enabled walls to be thinner with larger areas free for windows and decorations, just like the rhyzophores enable mangrove trees to grow taller, but keep a narrow trunk so they don’t get too top heavy.

Flying buttresses are a distinctive feature of medieval cathedrals, which were supposedly erected for the worship of God, but were often more for the self-aggrandisement of men. Nevertheless, they involved very clever planning and construction, and are a credit to their architects and builders. Therefore, face up to it: more credit is due to the Creator who designed and made mangrove trees, which are more complex than any man-made building, and make excellent use of flying buttresses. (Ref. botany, architecture, design, swamps)

Evidence News vol.15, No. 3
11 March 2015
Creation Research Australia

Why bamboo doesn’t bend according to Annals of Botany Blog 2 February 2015 and Annals of Botany doi: 10.1093/aob/mcu180. Adult bamboo is extremely strong and able to resist bending forces, yet bamboo stems do not have the “secondary growth”, which gives woody trees their strength. So what is the secret of its strength?

 

To find out what makes bamboo strong, scientists in Switzerland have studied cell wall composition, cellulose fibres and tissue slices of bamboo stems, then compared these with wood from a spruce tree. They found the cell wall chemical composition was much the same in the tree and bamboo, but the bamboo had “extremely compact fibres with a multi-lamellar cell wall”. The researchers suggest this densely packed multi-layered structure is “a plant growth strategy that compensates for the lack of secondary thickening growth at the tissue level, which is not only favourable for the biomechanics of the plant but is also increasingly utilized in terms of engineering products made from bamboo culms”.

 

AoB Blog

Editorial Comment: Note well! It is not just the physical and chemical properties of the fibres in the cell wall. It is organisation of the stem components that gives bamboo its special properties. The dense multi-layered structure is a good “plant growth strategy”, but it’s time to admit guys that strategy involves plan and purpose, not chance random processes. Strategy and organisation only ever come from a creative designer using the available materials in a way to achieve a purpose. Therefore, it is foolish to ascribe the plant growth strategy of bamboo to the plant and or mindless evolution. Instead, as we find more uses for bamboo in engineering products, we should give thanks and praise the Creator Christ who gave such a useful, self-regenerating resource. (Ref. botany, design, engineering)

Evidence News vol.15, No. 3
11 March 2015
Creation Research Australia

Why mantises don’t crash was explained in reports in Science Shots and Science Daily 5 March 2014, and Current Biology doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.01.054. Juvenile Praying Mantises do not have wings, so they can’t fly, but they can jump to reach targets like overhanging branches. However, small creatures such as insects can easily spin out of control when they jump, if there is any misalignment between the insect’s centre of mass and the force propelling it through the air.

 

A team of scientists in the UK have used high speed video to analyse the biomechanics of juvenile mantis jumps as the insects leapt from a platform to a thin black rod above and in front of the platform. They found the insects were deliberately generating spin and then distributing the angular forces in a controlled sequence. One of the researchers, Gregory Sutton of Bristol University, explained: “The mantis gives itself an amount of angular momentum at take-off and then distributes this momentum while in mid-air: a certain amount in the front leg at one point; a certain amount in the abdomen at another – which both stabilise the body and shifts its orientation, allowing it to reach the target at the right angle to grab on”.

 

Malcolm Burrows of Cambridge University commented: “We had assumed spin was bad, but we were wrong – juvenile mantises deliberately create spin and harness it in mid-air to rotate their bodies to land on a target. As far as we can tell, these insects are controlling every step of the jump. There is no uncontrolled step followed by compensation, which is what we initially thought”.

To test their theory that the insects were deliberately using abdominal movements to distribute the spin, the scientists glued the abdominal segments together. The mantises were still able to accurately reach the target but crash landed because they couldn’t correctly position their bodies for a controlled feet-first landing.

 

Sutton believes this research will help in the design of small robots. He commented: “For small robots, flying is energetically expensive, and walking is slow. Jumping makes sense – but controlling the spin in jumping robots is an almost intractable problem. The juvenile mantis is a natural example of a mechanical set-up that could solve this”. However, the scientists admit they will first need to understand how the insect’s brain controls the movements, which all happens “at lightning speed”.

ScienceDaily, Science Shots

Editorial Comment: These observations expose the foolishness of slow, gradual evolution by natural selection. Controlled jumping requires a flexible abdomen, quick acting muscles, and precision nervous system control. Until it had all of these, the mantis would not survive in the struggle for life. Half evolved mantises that crash landed would never develop into adults who could breed.

The fact that the mantis can jump without spinning out of control shows that controlled jumping is not an intractable problem – it just requires more cleverly designed scientific research to work it out. If anyone does solve the problem of jumping robots, it won’t be the mantises. It will be intelligent scientists who made the observations described in the experiments above, along with other equally intelligent scientists who work out how the movements are controlled. Yes, you’ve hit it on the head: Man’s brain is designed to think and create only because we didn’t evolve, but were made in God’s image. (Ref. Insects, aerobatics, design)

Evidence News vol.15, No. 3
11 March 2015
Creation Research Australia

Why mosquitoes don’t sink explained in reports in ScienceDaily and ScienceShots 3 March 2015 and AIP Advances doi:  10.1063/1.4908027. Mosquitoes are one of a number of insects that can walk on water. It is known that their legs are covered with water repellent scales, but this is not enough to explain their ability to walk on water. A group of Chinese scientists have now studied mosquito legs and measured how much force they exerted when they came in contact with water. Mosquito legs have three segments – the femur next to the body, the tibia in the middle, and tarsus forming the end. The femur and tibia are stiff, but the tarsus is flexible. The tarsus is the part that makes contact with the water. The scientists found the key to mosquito’s water-walking was their ability to avoid piercing the water when they landed, walked and took off because of the flexibility of their
tarsus. The flexible tarsi could support more than 20 times the weight of the mosquito.

The Science Shots article ends with the comment: “Understanding the science of mosquito legs could be useful for the development of miniature water-striding robots, researchers say. Presumably, these robot mosquitoes would be less annoying than the real kind”.

ScienceDaily, Science Shots

Editorial Comment: Adult mosquitoes live on land, but juvenile mosquitoes live in water. This research reminds us how cleverly mosquitoes are designed for their whole life cycle. If the female mosquitoes could not land, walk and take off from water they would
not be able to lay eggs. When the immature mosquitoes develop into adults they have to be able to take off from water first time without training. 

Some people would prefer that mosquitoes sink out of sight, but they do have a function in the ecosystem. There are some very small, but very attractive flowers that are pollinated by mosquitoes. This means that mosquitoes are also well designed to fit with the plants’ life cycles as well.

If you are wondering why mosquitoes are well designed to spread disease, the answer is they aren’t. Disease spreading mosquitoes are the result of degeneration of both mosquitoes and the environment. See our report Malaria Free Mosquitoes here.
(Ref. insects, biomechanics, design, hydrodynamics)

Evidence News vol.15, No. 3
11 March 2015
Creation Research Australia

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