Seeing the Glory of God in Scallop Eyes

by Sarah Eshleman on January 25, 2018

In 2019, a telescope will launch into orbit, using mirrors to gather light from far away galaxies. Though this model was developed in the 1980s, scientists only recently discovered a similar design already in use in the eye of the scallop. So soon we’ll be able to see distant galaxies the way a scallop might see them.

You or your parents might have eaten a scallop at a seafood restaurant. But the part of the scallop served on your plate is only the muscle that closes and opens the scallop’s shell. If you could look closely at a live scallop, you’d see its shell frilled with tentacles and a layer of flesh on the inside rim, edged with little dots—its eyes.

Scallops Have Eyes?

Human Eye

Image reproduced from Holly Fischer, Wikipedia

Diagram of the Human Eye

Some species have up to 200 eyes, mostly neon blue ones! Humans have a lens and one retina in each eye. However, in a scallop, light passes through a lens and two retinas on top of each other before reaching a curved “mirror” in the back of the eye and reflecting back to the retinas. Rather than the lens, this “mirror” focuses the light the same way the telescopes do.

In the 1960s, a scientist discovered that the “mirror” in each eye was constructed of layered crystals, probably made of guanine, a DNA building block. However, not until recently when scientists looked at scallop eyes with newer techniques did they find that the guanine crystals are flat, square, and only a millionth of a meter wide. That’s tiny!

Scallop Eye

Diagram of a Scallop Eye

These crystals are stacked on top of each other with liquid filling the gaps between them. The distance between the crystals and their gaps allows the mirror as a whole to reflect blue-green light, the color of the scallop’s environment. This might let the scallop see a wider area for food or predators.

Guanine crystals normally grow in the shape of a prism, not flat squares. The squares indicate that the scallop forms these crystals as they grow. Scientists also discovered that the “mirror” in each eye is tilted just a bit to reflect light on each of the retinas. Scientists believe that these two retinas allow the scallop to “focus on different parts of its surrounding at once.”

Scallop Eyes

Image by Svdmolen, via Wikimedia Commons

Scallop Eyes

Sounds pretty complex, doesn’t it?

Yet Alison Sweeney, a University of Pennsylvania physicist who studies animal sight, said, “When there is an elegant physical solution, the evolutionary process is very good at finding it.”

Sadly, scientists still believe evolution is responsible for the scallop’s incredible eye. But random chance and natural processes over millions of years could not possibly be responsible for a design so precise and seamless.

We know that on Day Five of Creation Week, God created all the creatures in the sea, including the scallop kind (Pectinidae). So perhaps the most amazing part of this story is how close evolutionists come to the truth, while still missing it completely. They are looking, but they are not seeing, even though the Creator has made his existence abundantly evident.

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:19–22)

All around us in the world are testimonies to God’s glory—we only need to look.

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Creation Museum Collection: Life: Eyes