Seed germination problem solved reports New Scientist 12 June 2004, p17.

Scientists who have been trying to propagate the Javan ash tree, a rare rainforest tree from northern Australia and southeast Asia, have found the secret of success – a cassowary’s digestive system.

Cassowaries are large flightless birds that live in the rainforests where they eat Javan fruit. Seeds from the fruit pass through the birds’ digestive systems and are deposited a few hours later in their droppings. Ian Woodrow and Bruce Webber of the University of Melbourne fed Javan fruit to cassowaries and compared germination rates of seeds retrieved from cassowary droppings with seeds from uneaten fruit. Seeds from fruit eaten by cassowaries had a 90% germination rate. Seeds from uneaten fruit had only 4% success rate.

Editorial Comment: This is a good example of the close, and sometimes complex interactions between plants and animals that keeps the living world functioning. It reminds us that not only do individual living things show clear evidence of design, but so do ecosystems (communities of living things).

It also reminds us that the six days described in Genesis and Exodus could not have been millions of years. Plants were created on the third day and animals and birds on the fifth and sixth days. Plants would not have survived for millions of years without their pollinators and seed dispersers. Therefore, it no wonder that once people ceased to believe in six days they ceased believing the rest of Genesis 1 and eventually the rest of Scripture.

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