Rock hard skeletons resist climate change, according to articles in Rutgers University News 8 April 2021, SciTech Daily 18 April 2021 and, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 24 February 2021, doi: 10.1098/rsif.2020.0859.
Coral reefs are formed as coral animals lay down a hard rock-like material that consists of the mineral aragonite, a type of calcium carbonate, along with various organic molecules including proteins, lipids and sugars. The process of making this combination of minerals and organic molecules is called biomineralization. Scientists at Rutgers University carried out detailed studies of proteins in the mineralised skeleton of a coral named Stylophora pistillata and found they were not just a random mix in a mineral matrix. They found over 20 different proteins forming a highly organised intricate network, consisting of a framework built by collagens, fibronectin and laminin that supports calcium binding proteins that form the aragonite crystals.
They concluded: “These spatial arrangements clearly show that protein–protein interactions in coral skeletons are highly coordinated and are key to understanding the formation and persistence of coral skeletons through time”.
Manjula Mummadisetti, who led the study, explained “It’s important to understand the mechanisms of coral biomineralization and how these invaluable animals persist during the era of anthropogenic climate change”.
Another scientist in the study, Paul Falkowski, commented: “Our findings suggest that corals will withstand climate change caused by human activities, based on the precision, robustness and resilience of their impressive process for forming rock-hard skeletons.”
Links: Rutgers, SciTech Daily
Editorial Comment: The process of forming coral skeletons is certainly impressive. The minerals give them hardness, fibrous proteins such as collagen which give them resilience, but these must be organised in a way that make best use of the properties of both. We have long known that mineralised organic structures, such as shells and our own bones, get their strength from the way the components are organised as much as from the substances they are made from. The result is a structure that is hard and rigidly holds its shape, but resists being cracked and broken by strong forces acting on it. It is no surprise that coral skeletons have the same highly organised robust structure as they live in an environment of where they are constantly exposed to strong forces from moving water. Anyone caught in a rip or knocked over by a wave in the surf knows what a powerful force moving water can be. This is why coral skeletons and fossil corals resist erosion and weathering long after death.
It seems that to get anything reported in the popular media these days it has to be linked with climate change. The original scientific report has a passing reference to climate change in the introduction, but nothing in the results or conclusion, which concentrate on describing the brilliant organisation of the coral skeleton proteins. However, the news released all revolve around climate change, with the inevitable claim that it is caused by human activity.
In their obsession with climate change these researchers and media reporters are missing the real point – an intricately organised structure needs an organiser. The Creator who made the first coral animals programmed into their DNA the information for making the proteins and the control functions for laying them down in the right spatial arrangement to give the mineralised skeletons the strength and resilience needed to live in the environment He placed them in. Coral reefs, living and fossil, are more rock-solid evidence of creative design.
Creation Research News 21 April 2021
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