COVID Effect on the Natural World

COVID Effect on the Natural World
Empty Street in Miami Beach during lockdown March 2020

One interesting facet of the pandemic has been the COVID effect on the natural world. Worldwide reports have shown that animal life reacted to the reduced human activity. Here are some of the interesting cases:

1) In the Welsh village of Llandudno, a herd of Kashmiri goats descended from the Great Orme Mountain. The goats settled into the town munching on hedges and eating flowers and vegetables as there were no people around to run them off.
2) Dolphins showed up in Sardinia’s canals even though the media erroneously reported that they were in Venice’s canals.
3) Elephants invaded a Tea garden in China’s Yunnan province and became intoxicated after drinking corn wine.
4) Sparrows in San Francisco changed their song, although the reasons for this are not clear. The birds sang more softly and began hitting lower notes.
5) Raccoons shifted their activity periods from being nocturnal to operating in broad daylight.

All of this tells us that these animals have built-in systems of behavior that human activities have altered. When humans are not present, the animals return to the behavioral patterns of their ancestors. COVID reduced some of the negative aspects of human activity as well. In the spring of 2020, there was a 17% drop in carbon dioxide emissions as people reduced their driving.

God has built into the natural world a strong sense of behavior patterns, but most animals have the flexibility to adapt their behavior. Humans also can adapt to act in ways that benefit the world in which we live. We are not programmed to selfishness and to a way of life that destroys what God has given us. Now that we see the COVID effect on the natural world let us learn from this experience to become better stewards of God’s blessings.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Data from Discover magazine, January/February 2021, page 30-32.

Squid Communication by Bioluminescence

Squid Communication by Bioluminescence

Several Bible passages encourage us to look at the creation around us and know there is a God by what He has made. Romans 1:20 says, “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” We can see the power and nature of God by looking at the things in the natural world all around us. One of those things is squid communication by bioluminescence.

Humboldt squid (Dosidicus gigas) living 1500 feet (457 m) below the ocean’s surface in total darkness hunt for food in groups. These are big animals averaging six feet (1.8 m) long, but they don’t bump into each other. Recent research has shown that Humboldt squid use squid communication by bioluminescence. The squid have small light-producing organs in their muscle tissue, and they can convey information by changing the pigmentation pattern.

Scientists from Stanford University and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute say that what these squid do is similar to humans using turn signals in traffic. But even more than that, they can use changes in pigmentation patterns in a way similar to how humans arrange words in a sentence. Ben Buford of Stanford says that this is an example of a complicated form of animal communication never seen before in deep-sea creatures.

The more we learn about creation, the more we see complexity and design that speaks of a Creator who built into every animal the tools for survival. Squid communication by bioluminescence is just one more evidence of design. Indeed we can know there is a God through the things He has made.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Reference: National Wildlife magazine, February/March 2021, page 8.