Chiton’s crystal eyes found, according to reports in Science (AAAS) News and ScienceDaily 19 November 2015, and Science doi: 10.1126/science.350.6263.899. Chitons are shellfish that can be seen clinging to rocks in the intertidal zone of many coastlines. They have a distinctive shell made up of a series of horizontal plates, usually eight, arranged over their body. If you look closely at the shell you may see a multitude of tiny dots. It turns out these are tiny eyes with lenses made from the same substance as the shell – a calcium mineral name aragonite. Most of the aragonite shell is opaque, because it is made up of small crystals that are arranged in an irregular fashion so they scatter light. However, the aragonite in the eyes is made of carefully aligned large crystals that transmit light.

A group of scientists from Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and MIT have examined the eyes of a chiton named Acanthopleura granulata to see how well it worked. They found they could project an image of a fish through the lens and get a somewhat fuzzy but recognisable image. Each eye has a retina of up to 100 cells below the lens to capture and process the image. It seems the chiton is able to detect the presence of a predatory fish or bird up to two metres away.

Don Ingber, Founding Director of the Wyss Institute, commented: “This study shows just how amazing nature is at solving complex problems in simple and elegant ways. By uncovering the design rules that this simple organism uses to self-assemble a multi-functional shell that simultaneously provides physical protection from the environment and an eye that can sense oncoming invaders, the team is now in a position to leverage these insights to engineer synthetic materials that could lead to entirely new solutions for both industrial and medical applications”.

Science, ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: Notice the admission: making chiton eyes requires complex problem solving and design rules. At the risk of yet another repetition, let’s hammer the point that all known design is a property of a mind, and is never result of random interactions of matter and energy. This is confirmed by the fact that it is the organisation of the aragonite crystals that makes the difference between the opaque shell and the transparent eyes, not just the substance itself.

Furthermore, the animal also has to have functioning retina cells under the lenses, and a brain programmed to interpret the images. Otherwise having transparent lenses that can make an image is of no use to the animal, and as the ‘crystal’ eye spots are more fragile than the shell, would be a potential hazard in the struggle to survive.

Once again, the evidence for design is so obvious that those who deny it are without excuse.

We also predict that the Chiton does even better, and most likely has a ‘fuzz remover program’ built in its brain that turns the fuzzy picture of birds or fish into a much better view. God sure is clever. (Ref. molluscs, optics, vision)

Evidence News vol. 15, no 25
16 December 2015
Creation Research Australia