We generally think of farming as a human enterprise, but there are cases in the natural world of animals growing crops. In most cases, the crop they are raising could not survive without the animal tending it. Some good examples are living things that eat fungi or algae.
Researchers at Kyoto University in Japan studied red algae called Polysiphonia. These algae have a symbiotic relationship with a species of damselfish (Stegastes nigricans). Red algae look like a brown carpet, and the damselfish make sure that the carpet is not disturbed. If any other species of algae shows up among the red algae, the damselfish will nip it off and take it out of the fish’s territory. If the damselfish is removed from the area, the red algae can’t survive. So it appears that the damselfish are critical to the survival of the red algae and vice versa.
There have been other studies of certain species of ants, termites, and ambrosia beetles that grow fungi for food. Some of these “farmers” even use bacteria to produce pesticides to protect their fungus crops. How do such symbiotic relationships happen? Evolutionists suggest that initially, the animal had a varied diet but becoming dependent on one thing offered such an advantage that the animal gave up any other foods.
The difficulties with the evolutionary explanation are many and quite complex. The nutritional issues are a problem because a single source of nutrition must have a balanced collection of minerals. Going from a varied diet to a single food does not seem to be an evolutionary advantage. Defending the food source is also an issue. For example, when the researchers removed the damselfish, other fish and sea urchins had eaten all of the red algae within days.
Another explanation is that symbiotic relationships are part of the design of every animal’s genome. The earliest fossil remains of many animals show that a symbiotic relationship was already in place. We suggest that animals growing crops is part of God’s design. He gave them the genetic messaging and instinctive drive necessary for them to survive.
— John N. Clayton © 2021
Reference: Original article in Science News August 12, 2006, page 102. You can find many other references on the web.