Underwater Pollinators?

by Ken Ham on August 8, 2022
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God’s creation is astounding—and the more we study it, the more marvelous we realize that it is! And I was reminded of this recently when I saw a news item highlighting a research paper that announced the discovery of “bees of the sea”: small crustaceans (Idotea balthica) that can pollinate red seaweed (a type of algae)—that’s right, underwater pollinators!

As the tiny crustaceans move about the alga, they transfer spermatia (the algae version of sperm) from one seaweed to the next, like a bee transfers pollen between flowers. In return, the crustaceans enjoy a safe place to hide and a food source of single-celled alga that grow in the seaweed. This is the first time animal pollination in seaweeds has been documented.

Of course, the researchers attribute this to evolution over millions of years. The most common story for the evolution of pollination is that it evolved when plants “moved ashore 450 million years ago.” But red algae are believed to be a whopping 800 million years old, so this raises the question to evolutionists of which came first: marine or terrestrial pollination.

The findings . . . add to a small but growing body of evidence that raises questions about whether animal-mediated pollination may have first evolved underwater, instead of on land. It’s also possible that pollination evolved in separate instances, underwater and on land.

“Until recently, fertilization with the help of animals was believed to have emerged among plants when they moved ashore 450 million years ago . . . Red algae arose over 800 million years ago and their fertilization via animal intermediaries may long predate the origin of pollination on land. However, we cannot rule out that different animal-mediated fertilization mechanisms evolved independently and repeatedly in terrestrial and marine environments.”

This raises a chicken-and-egg question for the evolutionist—which came first?

But the complex process of pollination didn’t evolve once, let alone “independently and repeatedly.” While we don’t yet know how vital pollination from crustaceans is for this red alga, we do know that many plants cannot be pollinated without a specific pollinator. This raises a chicken-and-egg question for the evolutionist: Which came first? Now they would say plants, so how did the plants manage to survive and reproduce while they waited for their pollinators to evolve?

No, pollination was designed by God from the very beginning so that plants—and seaweeds!—could be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth with more of their kind. (You can learn more about the creation of pollinators, and how post-flood adaptations may be responsible for certain pollinator relationships, in this article from Dr. Gordon Wilson).

From the large to the very, very tiny (like these little crustaceans), God’s creation is astounding, and we’re constantly realizing how little we really know. How wonderful it is to worship the God who not only created all of this but knows everything there is to know (infinite knowledge), including how many hairs are on your head this moment (Luke 12:7). What a mighty God we serve! No wonder God’s Word tells us that those who don’t believe are “without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

Get More Answers on Answers News

This item was discussed today on Answers News with cohosts Dr. Kaia Kloster, Patricia Engler, and Tim Chaffey. Answers News is our weekly news program filmed live before a studio audience and broadcast on my Facebook page and the Answers in Genesis Facebook page. We also covered the following topics:

  • Was a mammal ancestor a “chubby lizard”?
  • Were there European pandas?
  • Will your daughter’s college roommate be a man someday?
  • And more!

Watch the entire episode of Answers News for August 8, 2022.

Be sure to join us each Monday at 2 p.m. (ET) on my Facebook page or the Answers in Genesis Facebook page for Answers News. You won’t want to miss this unique news program that gives science and culture news from a distinctly biblical and Christian perspective.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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