Thorny Devil Sand

Devils drink from wet sand, according to reports in New Scientist 2 November, ABC News 3 November 2016, and Journal of Experimental Biology 2016 219: 3309 doi: 10.1242/jeb.151407.

The thorny devil (Moloch horridus) is a small lizard that lives in Central Australia and is so named because its skin is covered with spike shaped scales. Previous research has shown that between the scales is a network of fine channels that convey water to the animal’s mouth where they suck it in with gulping movements.

According to the ABC “Thorny devils cannot lick water from puddles because their mouth has evolved to specifically feed on ants”. The article goes on to state: “So this lizard has evolved a bizarre alternative to drinking with its mouth: the capillary channels on its skin squeeze every last drop of moisture out of the arid landscape and push it towards the animal’s mouth”.

Philipp Comanns from RWTH Aachen University, Germany, and colleagues have studied the ways thorny devils can extract water from the environment and found the devils can efficiently take up water from puddles by simply standing in them. Within 10 seconds of being placed in a puddle of water, the animals started making the gulping movements, and researchers confirmed that the channels were fully filled with water. However, free standing water puddles do not last long in the arid sandy regions where the devils live, yet the sand can stay moist. Those animals placed on wet sand were unable to get enough water to fill the channels just from standing on it.

Previous observations had shown they had a habit of throwing wet sand over their bodies after it had rained, so the research team tried placing wet sand on a replica of the animal’s skin. They found this enabled the channels to be filled with water from the sand. They concluded: “Our results suggest that rain and moist sand seem to be ecologically likely water sources for M. horridus on a regular basis”.

ABC, JEB, New Scientist

Editorial Comment: Do you see a problem with the evolutionary story? Thorny devils evolved mouths to eat ants and therefore could not drink water with their tongues, so they evolved an elaborate and precisely structured set of capillary channels that collect water via their skin and so channel it to their mouths. So, how many half evolved thorny devils died of dehydration waiting to get the system right?

Now let’s look from a Biblical perspective. These animals were created as fully functioning creatures complete with water collecting skin.  In the beginning the earth was watered by a rising mist, so there would have always been shallow puddles of water and damp sand for them to use as sources of water. All animals were vegetarian, so these lizards could have sucked up small seeds, pollen grains and other small pieces of plant matter.

After the environment was devastated following Noah’s flood and the earth dried out, thorny devils were able to survive in the sandy arid regions of Australia, where other creatures couldn’t, because they already had water collecting skin and could eat ants if there was nothing else to eat. This is natural selection and survival at work, but it is not evolution. However, it is evidence that the real history of the world is created design followed by judgement and degeneration, as described in Genesis.

Evidence News vol. 16 No. 21
9 November 2016
Creation Research Australia

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