One of the most interesting situations in nature is that in which two enemies tolerate each other, bringing benefits to both of them. In National Wildlife magazine (April/May 2008, page 18) is a story about two enemies “that seem to have an agreement” not to damage each other. This is an example of what is called a mutualism relationship, a situation where two animals benefit each other and protect each other.

The two animals are a tarantula and narrow-mouthed toad. Normally tarantulas eat toads, but in this case the toad will move into the tarantula’s humid burrow which is ideal for the toad. Any animal that would eat the toad will not invade the burrow, because the tarantula will attack it. What the toad does for the tarantula is to eat the ants and other pests that will eat the tarantula’s eggs. When researchers offered other species of toads to the tarantulas, they ate them. In the middle of such offerings, when a narrow mouth toad was offered it was spared.

Another example in fresh water lakes is the relationship between a minnow called a golden shiner and a bowfin or dogfish. The bowfin feeds on this minnow normally, but during the spawning season the minnows seem to have immunity from bowfin attacks. The bowfin builds a nest and the minnows dart in and out of the nest, providing oxygen and keeping bacteria out. The minnows lay their own eggs in the nests of the bowfin and not only do not have to go to the trouble of building the nest, but have a built-in protector to keep the eggs from being eaten by predators. There are as many as 35 minnow species that have similar associations with their predators.

The question is how such mutualism develops. It seems as though the animals involved think through what will be to their advantage and avoid normal food patterns, but no one believes that to be the case. Instead there seems to be a genetically programmed response that is highly sophisticated so that it works at certain times of the year with certain species. We would suggest that an Intelligence has created a beautifully designed system of mutualism which promotes the development and diversification of life. That Intelligence is God.

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, NovDec09.