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Discovery Magazine 1/1/2004

Mvp Outfielder: The Archerfish

by  Brad Harrub, Ph.D.

The pitcher releases the ball, and almost instantly a loud “crack” is heard throughout the stadium as the bat connects with the ball. As it heads for the outfield, the ball looks like a rocket, going higher and higher with each passing second. The left fielder sees the ball leave the bat and, without ever taking a second look at the ball, he jogs over to a particular spot in the outfield, waits four seconds, and then extends his glove. A second later the ball drops in. Can you imagine how good someone would have to be to glance up that single time, in order to determine where he or she needed to be to catch the ball? Normally, ball players look up repeatedly, making minor corrections to know exactly where the ball is going to land. Looking up only once would require not only a great deal of talent, but also an enormous ability to calculate the speed and path in which the ball is traveling.

God designed a fish with just those talents and characteristics —the archerfish. With just a single glance, it can judge exactly where insects are going to hit the water. The archerfish is then able to position itself to make the falling insect into a noontime snack. But what is even more amazing is exactly how that insect fell into the water. For you see, God also designed the archerfish with the incredible ability to shoot a jet spray of water up into the air, knocking the insects off of branches.(Keep in mind that things look different underwater, yet the archerfish accounts for this difference when aiming at its targets.)

When an insect, butterfly, or spider unsuspectingly lands on a low branch, the archerfish will position itself underneath the creature. God designed the archerfish in such a way that it can use its tongue to form a tube inside its mouth. It fills the tube with water, eases up toward the surface of the water, and then shoots out a powerful spray of water to knock the prey off the branch and into the water. To do this once or twice would be quite an accomplishment. But to do this repeatedly with pinpoint accuracy is a remarkable trait designed by God!

Copyright © 2004 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

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