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The Giant Anteater

Picture of design itemOne of the lessons that mankind has had a hard time comprehending is that in nature there has to be a balance between plant-eating animals and the rest of the ecosystem. In our area of southern Michigan we are seeing this played out as our deer population is out of control because of the lack of predators. The result is that the deer are wiping out their food supply and that means that not only are they invading our yards and gardens, but they are not healthy animals.

There is probably no area more important to mankind than the balance of insects and the rest of the environment. Insects are important to the survival of life systems on the earth. They pollinate, get rid of waste, process earth materials, prune plants and produce materials useful to man. Too many insects however, would wipe out life on planet earth. The phylum Arthropoda is numerically the biggest phylum on the earth as it is, and animals like the giant anteater are vital for the ecosystem to stay in balance.

The giant anteater is found in South and Central America. It has a body about the size of a German shepherd, a brain the size of a pea, a body temperature of less than 90 degrees, and a curved tubular snout with a tiny puckered mouth and no teeth. Its tongue is two feet long and it can thrust it into an ant nest at 160 times per minute sucking out thousands of ants in the process — usually about 30,000 ants at one sitting. It has massive salivary glands that produce a glue-like saliva which neutralizes the sting of fire ants and prepares the stomach to digest the ants.

Providing a balance in nature is always of utmost importance, and sometimes we find an animal that is so ideally designed to control one population that it cannot survive anywhere except where that population is dominant. The giant anteater is a classic example of this, with no capacity to eat anything but insects and no equipment to adapt to other environments. Designs such as this show the intelligence and purpose that God has in all he creates. Source: National Wildlife, June/July 2003, page 34.

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