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Discovery Magazine 8/1/2009

Marine Mammals

There are so many kinds of animals on Earth. And while they have many similarities, they have endless differences. All that variation points to the Grand Designer, the God of the Bible. It does not point to mindless evolution. One category of mammals is those that live in water, which includes whales, dolphins, seals, and others—some 90 species of animals. Wow! And they are amazing!

Take, for instance, the dolphin. There are 31 species of true dolphins—about 21 of these species are found in the waters around Australia. Dolphins are actually small whales. Most have the usual streamlined shape with a pointed beak—perfectly designed to move through the water. The prominent dorsal fin on the back gives stability, the flippers assist in balance and direction, and the tail flukes provide driving power—all evidence of intelligent design. God equipped the dolphin with a blowhole that has to be deliberately opened by muscles when the dolphin surfaces to catch its breath. It gives a small puff of air just before it surfaces in order to clear the water away before it takes another breath. It can exchange most of its lungs’ contents during a single breath—very efficient for living in water. What’s more, God made sure that dolphins can see well both in and out of the water. Dolphins use sounds to communicate with each other, which scientists think is a complex form of language. Each dolphin has its own personal whistle that distinguishes it from others. Dolphins can hear sounds as high as 150 kilohertz (that’s high!). They use “echo location,” a kind of sonar, to plot their movement through the water, making clicking noises with the blow hole and then receiving echoes. Every part of the dolphin was superbly designed on purpose by God!

Then there is the manatee—a grayish-brown, walrus-like animal that weighs between 800-1,200 pounds! Manatees have a round, flattened tail, and two front flippers. The flippers are used in steering while swimming, as well as for holding food. Their specially-designed tails and flippers make manatees expert swimmers, enabling them to cover over 520 miles, each way, during their migrations. One manatee swam 143 miles in only four days! While underwater, flaps close over their nostrils, to prevent water from interfering with breathing. God, not evolution, designed that feature, too!

Have you ever heard of a dugong [DOO-gawng]? What an amazing mammal! Since God made them to graze on a wide range of sea grasses, some people call them “sea cows.” We could even think of them as the lawnmowers of the sea! God specially designed the mouth of the dugong to point downward to allow it to feed off the sea bottom even when its body is in a horizontal position. Its paddle-like forelimbs help it to swim, while its fluked tail allows locomotion through vertical movement. Dugongs have most of their babies when sea grass is abundant. New babies soon start munching on the sea grass even while they suckle. Since dugongs have very few natural predators, God made them to swim at a very slow pace (a little over three miles per hour). They have short hair, which allows them to easily sense their environment by touch. Dugongs experience pachyostosis, which means their ribs and other long bones are very solid and contain little or no marrow. Among the densest in the animal kingdom, these heavy bones are thought to act as a ballast (weight) to help keep dugongs suspended slightly below the water’s surface. God’s designs in His creatures are amazing! And guess what? One version of the Bible actually refers to the dugong! It is called the “sea cow” in Exodus 25:5; 26:14; and Numbers 4:6ff. (NIV).

These and all the other water mammals on Earth have ingenious body parts that make them perfectly designed to live life as a water mammal. Evolutionists want us to believe that millions of years ago, a small fox-like land animal began spending time in shallow water catching fish. They claim that in time, its offspring preferred water, sprouted flippers, developed a fluke tail, and voila!, a water mammal! But such thinking is silly and foolish. The Bible tells us what really happened:

Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures….” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind…. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas” (Genesis 1:20-22).

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