Paddlefish Have a Third Eye

Paddlefish Have a Third Eye

North American waters are home to a most interesting fish known as the spoonbill or paddlefish (Polydon spathula). These fish have an enormous bill, which is actually an antenna studded with thousands of sensory cells to detect electrical signals produced by the plankton on which they feed. The 12—to 15-inch long bill gets so much attention that people overlook another oddity: these paddlefish have a third eye.

Paddlefish have an opening between the bones of the skull called a foramen. It is located at the base of the bill between the eyes and covered by a thin skin and cartilage layer. The foramen allows light to pass through onto a nerve that goes directly to the paddlefish’s brain. It serves as a third eye, allowing the paddlefish to experience changes in light direction and seasonal changes. The third eye cannot form detailed images, but it influences biological changes in body temperature and hormone production in the fish.

As biologists study various life forms, they find common threads that run through all living things. Researchers have found barely visible vestiges of similar structures in frogs, lizards, and some sharks. Since paddlefish have a third eye, they must have a use for it, but the last detailed study of it was in 1896.

There are many things that science does not yet know about living things, but diverse features allow animals to live in Earth’s wide-ranging environments. Evolutionists assume that all life originated from a single cell in the distant past through an unguided chance process. The paddlefish bill with its sensory cells and third eye is difficult to explain by that process. God used the best plan in creating life, and part of that is the capacity to change as the environment changes. Romans 1:20 tells us that “we can know there is a God through the things He has made.”

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Reference: “Third Eye of a Spoonbill” in In-Fisherman magazine for May 2024, pages 8-9.