An Overlooked Role of Birds and Mammals

An Overlooked Role of Birds and Mammals

Various data sources show massive evidence of climate change. The melting of the ice sheets, the warming of the Pacific Ocean, and the increase of weather anomalies affect all of us. Some of these changes have to do with flooding and the frequency of storms. Others affect our food supply where there is an overlooked role of birds and mammals.

While the effect on human activity is pretty dramatic, the natural changes in living things in the environment are usually less noticeable. The reason is that the design of life anticipates that climate will change from time to time, even if humans have no role in that change. If a plant species faces environmental change threatening its existence, it will disperse its seeds into a different place where the environment is more suitable.

The often overlooked role of birds and mammals is that they are the primary agents for seed dispersal. The National Science Foundation helped fund a study showing that more than half of all plant species rely on animals to disperse their seeds. The NSF website said, “Plants that rely on seed dispersers can face extinction if there are too few animals to move their seeds far enough to keep pace with changing conditions.”

One of the things that plant-eating dinosaurs did was
to spread the seeds of the plants they ate. This means that pruning was not the only benefit of plant-eaters, but seed spreading was also significant. As the climate has changed in the past, animals have spread the seeds over a vast geographic area allowing the incredible diversity we see in plants today.

This kind of research has a variety of practical uses.
It reminds us of the overlooked role of birds and mammals in dispersing seeds in the environment. The study showed a 60% reduction due to the loss of seed-spreading birds and mammals.

We see evidence of God’s wisdom in designing birds and mammals with a diet that allows spreading the seeds of the plants they eat. That design helps to moderate the effect of climate change. God told Adam and Eve to take care of the Garden (Genesis 2:15), and we need to understand our responsibility in that. The fact that creation’s design allows life to survive climate changes is a testimony to God’s wisdom.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Reference: National Science Foundation website and the journal Science