Wednesday, December 26, 2012

#25 New Zealand Long Finned Eel

The Longfinned Eels of New Zealand grow very slowly but eventually they reach about 6.5 feet long and 40 pounds for females. Males are smaller, only about 2.5 feet. They only mate once in their lives at the very end right before they die and in a place thousands of miles from their home. To make it even more complicated the males die much younger than the females. Males die at an average age of 23 years old, but females live to an average of 34 (usually ranging from 27 years old to 61), with one recorded as old as 106 years.

Something like this could not happen accidentally, randomly, or by natural selection. There must be a God who created this, probably for the pure fascination of His children. In all the years scientists have studied these eels, they have never located their mating grounds.

Scientists speculate various locations from the deep ocean trenches east of Tonga to the deep trenches near New Caledonia. (Some say the Coral Sea.) They do know the female eels can have millions of eggs in the ovaries, but they don’t know what the males do to fertilize them.

Each eel only mates once, after having traveled thousands of miles from their home, and then it dies. The females are usually an average of 12 years older, so there is a huge problem for this species to evolve. How could it possibly have gotten started and continued for so long? Some scientists believe they existed 65 million years ago. Others say 23 million years ago. What if the males and females don’t swim to the exact same place over thousands of miles or die en route? What if some males don’t show up for a few years and the females die off or vice versa? What if the ocean currents take the eggs out to sea and not back to New Zealand?

When the eels reach the end of their lives, their heads become much more slender and tapered, their skin turns darker, and their eyes double in size. They swim from their fresh water home to the ocean and at that time they stop eating and begin their long journey. They never eat again. They swim over 1,200 miles according to some scientists and over 3,100 miles according to others. Reaching their spawning grounds, the females lay their eggs and die.

In some unknown way the eggs are fertilized. The larvae are called leptocephalus and look nothing like an eel – they are transparent, flat, and leaf-shaped. The larvae reach New Zealand by drifting on ocean currents taking a year to as much as 18 months of floating.

Off the New Zealand coast they change into tiny little eels before going up the fresh water rivers. They are now called “glass” eels because you can see through them. They begin swimming upstream and start to change color to brown as they go along their way. Young eels (called elvers) swim upstream and spend a number of years maturing in freshwater.

They are legendary climbers and have made their way well inland in most river systems, even those with natural barriers. Remarkably they have the ability to get out of the water and travel sort distances on land when they encounter obstacles like waterfalls or dams. Elvers (young eels) swimming up river will climb waterfalls and even dams by leaving the water and wriggling over damp areas. It is not unheard of for an eel to climb a waterfall of up to 20 meters (60 feet).[1]

The theory of natural selection says there is no God and things developed randomly because of some benefit to the organisms or better adaption to the environment. The whole life cycle of the Longfinned Eel at every stage is taking the hard and complicated way, not the easy way. This is a creature that's very existence leaves you feeling a sense of awe.

There are 4 distinct phases in their life cycle. Can a reasonable mind really believe that all these stages could have developed by accident. Only a mind of faith can explain it, so people can choose either faith in a creator God as the source or have faith in some miracle of accidents and coincidences in an extraordinarily long improbable sequence.

It only makes sense that there must be God.



Long-finned Eels of Marlborough, New Zealand (YouTube video) 

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