Prey or Predator? Check the Vision!

03-koshki-rescued-asiatic-cheetah-670-590x428Cheetahs are about the only cool cat out there. OK, so I’m not a cat lover, but I’m not a cat hater either. Anyways, if you look at the cheetah you will notice the streamline body. The camouflaged fur. The small face, sensitive ears and huge eyes. Let’s stop there; on the eyes.

Notice how the eyes point forward? This gives the cheetah depth perception like humans. This depth perception makes him a good hunter. His eyes tell him how far away the prey is and his mind tells him when to run and pounce. Without this depth perception the poor cheetah would be eating dust . . .  literally.400px-Dorcasgazellemarwell

Now, look at its prey (to the right). Notice how his eyes are on either side of his face. For humans, that would kind of be like having our eyes by our ears.

Now, this eye position eliminates depth perception (if you want to see what it looks like, close one eye for a couple of minutes and walk around, you will eventually notice a difference in the perception of objects). That basically means that it is a good thing they are eating grass instead of chasing prey.

But, where it loses its advantage in depth perception, it gains in range. With the eyes positioned here, this prey item can see in almost all directions at all times.

Whereas a predator needs eyes to capture the prey, the prey needs eyes to detect the predator and run for it! So, wondering if it is prey or predator? Check its eyes! Amazing how God created it all so balanced like this!

The . . . Yuck . . . Goblin Shark

Mitsu

If your most horrible, disgusting nightmare could morph into a oceanic creature it would probably look very much like the Goblin shark. This creature, which has doubly earned its name, lives in the deeper parts of the sea and can grow up to 11 feet long.

The Goblin shark lives about 300 feet below sea level and preys mostly on sea creatures dwelling on the ocean floor or lower-middle waters. He has some deadly jaws as the bottom one can extend to the tip of his enormous snout and each jaw is filled with rows and rows of pointed teeth. The front teeth are used for grabbing and puncturing prey while the back teeth are for grinding. The Goblin shark is rather successful in his hunting adventures.

Although the teeth of the Goblin shark are truly gripping (or ripping), it is the snout of the creature that is truly amazing.

The snout, which is very long and large when young, will eventually subside back as the shark grows bigger making it look less like your worst nightmare from the sea and more like an average shark. Anyway, the snout also has multiple areas for what is called “ampullae of Lorenzini”. This ampullae is found in many sharks.Mistukurina_owstoni_museum_victoria_-_head_detail

The ampullae is a network of pores called electroreceptors that can be considered another sensing organ. These ampullae give the shark a sixth sense by letting them detect electromagnetic fields and the differences in temperature. This gives sharks a huge advantage as they can find animals buried in the sand or sense them before they see them. This is an amazing ability that sharks use to the utmost.

So, even though the Goblin shark is just about the creepiest natural thing you may ever see, you must remember that God made it just so we could see how amazing He is. Why use such an ugly creature? Because it is an example to we Christians that we don’t have to be a beautiful butterfly to be used. As long as we are saved, we can be used by God for the good things He has been working in us (Ephesians 2:10)

This article first appeared on Creationist Company.

In Another Snake’s Clothing

Viceroy_ButterflyIn our Animal Defense series we have talked about camouflage. Although it was probably a pretty basic defense, you probably didn’t think that there are actually creatures that don’t want to be camouflaged.

Your mind is probably asking the question, “what animals want to be seen by their predators?” The kingsnake, milk snake, the viceroy butterfly (pictured above) and many more. These creatures want to be seen because they have a defense mechanism that makes predators run . . .  away!

These creatures have one thing in common: they all look like a different creature which is poisonous. The kingsnake (specifically the scarlet kingsnake) impersonates the coral snake, as does the milk snake. Both of these creatures were designed with a slightly different pattern from the very poisonous coral snake.

The coral snake is extremely poisonous and predators quickly learn not to mess with it so, when they see a kingsnake or milk snake strutting their stuff, they hit the road in the other direction. Nobody wants to mess with a meal that could kill them with a single bite!

The viceroy butterfly, on the other hand, looks exactly like the monarch butterfly but it has one difference that matters for predators: it doesn’t eat milkweed.

When a predator eats a monarch butterfly for the first time, he will have a bad taste in his mouth and  a bellyache to remember! The viceroy butterfly was designed with the look of a monarch butterfly so experienced predators know not to touch a creature that looks like a monarch.

Each of these defenses are something the creatures could have never done on their own (don’t believe me? Read about the Atlas moth). So, to grasp the lies of what evolution has taught you, watch the following:

 

Now You See Me . . .

marmot-sm_Copyright_Ken_BryanCamouflage is, perhaps, the most important animal defense known to . . . well, animals! But, the art of camouflage is not only limited to animals: humans do it too.

In my house, camouflage is synonymous with the word “hunting”. You wear camouflage, you hunt. Their logic is as simple as that. Nothing big, just simple. Human camouflage is usually reserved to hunting, whether the hunted are animals or humans. So, my family usually links them together.

Now, when hunting, camouflage is very necessary . . . based off what you are hunting. If you are hunting turkey, then you need to wear camouflage that looks just like the forest around you.

If you are hunting deer, you should wear camouflage but you are required to wear an orange piece of clothing on you. This is done so other hunters don’t shoot you and it is orange because deer are colorblind. However, if you were hunting turkey with that orange hat, you wouldn’t have a chance.

Each camouflage, whether it be for prey or predator, must be suited to counteract its prey or predator. Now, in a world created by mindless chance, one would not expect to see such balance. But, as can be seen over and over, we do see such balance.

Take the fish and the crane for example. The fish is covered in scales which reflect the sights around him and make him very hard to see. Then, look at the crane. He is tall, and slender, hard to see from the fish’s perspective.

They both counteract each other. The fish by his surroundings and outer covering, and the crane by his body shape. Let’s look at a few more amazing balances.

The gazelle and the cheetah are commonly pitted against each other in shows but, whether they realize it or not, these two creatures are great at cancelling each others camouflage out.

The gazelle is a creature that keeps low to the ground. His shoulders reach about the same height as the tall grass around him. His pale coat matches perfectly with the dry grass. If he lays down in the tall grass, he is invisible. The cheetah cancels out the camouflage by being even lower to the ground, able to move through the grass much less noticeably, and has a coat matching the grass.

Both animals have great camouflage but, when put together, everything works out to be just perfect. The balance in nature seen in this article reminds me of the one I did on speed and stamina. It is truly amazing how this all works out.