Apologetics, Bible, Creation, Main, z35
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Why animals became carnivores: Vampire finches

When it isn't eating nuts and berries, this Finch transforms into a vampire. Photo: Vampire Finch/Peter Wilton/Wikipedia

When it isn’t eating nuts and berries, this Finch transforms into a vampire. Photo: Vampire Finch/Peter Wilton/Wikipedia

In my earlier post, I wrote on Dr. Joel Berger’s study that showed a prey’s natural fear of predators is not instinctive but rather a learned behaviour. If there are no carnivores around, the animals had little fear of predators compared to those existing in areas with many natural enemies.

The prophet Isaiah spoke of a day when the lion would lie with the lamb (Isaiah 11:6-9). The lamb would have no fear of the lion because it eats vegetation. Since Isaiah saw this as part of the new heaven and new earth (Isaiah 65: 17, 25), many have concluded that at creation, animals were not created as carnivores.  It was also a learned behaviour.

So what happened to change the natural order of life as God intended it?

The Apostle Paul explains it this way:

“For the creation was subject to futility, not willingly, 
but because of Him who subjected it in hope
That the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. (Romans 8:20-22 NASV)

Due to man’s fall into sin, all creation was subject to a futile, meaningless existence. Paul adds that animals did not take part in this existence willingly, it was forced upon them.

In Isaiah 24:6, the prophet says a curse devours the earth — a curse God put on the earth as a direct result of Adam’s sin.

When God cursed the earth, the earth turned against man in a sense becoming his enemy.

“Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you” (Genesis 3: 17b, 18a NASV)

This same curse affected all animal life. The world became a hard place. Instead of bounty, there would drought and famine.

This would put animals, birds and reptiles under intense pressure forcing them into unnatural lifestyles just to survive.

The vampire finches

Perhaps one of the most curious stories I have read on the effects of this curse involves the “vampire finches.”

Many of us are familiar with finches which use their hard beaks to break open tough seeds for food. However, in an edition of Creation magazine, David Catchpoole writes about finches that suck the blood of other creatures in order to survive.

On Wolfe Island, a group of ground finches use their beaks to break the skin of the Masked Booby bird to consume its blood.

The finches primarily attack the young of the Booby bird, often killing them, but they will also attack adult ones. And in a scene out of Alfred Hitchcock’s horror movie, The Birds, the Finches at times attack in swarms.

The island which is part of the Galapagos Archipelago is very dry. When the rains come there is usually enough seeds for the finches to survive. However, during the frequent drought periods, these finches must find other food and fluid sources.

The droughts do not affect the Booby bird which is a fish eater.

In 2006, a film team from ABC’s Natural History unit recorded this disturbing phenomenon.

A finch landed on the tale of the Masked Booby, broke open its skin and started sipping the blood. Other finches then lined up behind the first bird, waiting their turn at the gruesome feast.

Lions lying with Oryx

We have seen evidence prey don’t have a natural fear of predators, but could predators look at prey as anything but the next meal?

A story from the Samburu National Park in Kenya says yes.

On Christmas day 2001, Park Wardens noticed a lioness attack a mother Oryx (African antelope) and her calf. The mother fled and the lioness carried the calf away in its mouth.

This was nature at its evolutionary best — survival of the fittest. The calf was destined to be the lion’s next meal. But then an incredible thing happened. Instead of killing the calf the lioness began to nuzzle it and actually started to care for it.

At first, the wardens though the lioness — who they named Larsens — had mistaken the calf for a cub, but they dumped that theory when the lioness allowed the calf to return to its mother to nurse.

Apparently, Larsens realized it was different species and she could not feed the calf.

The young Oryx followed the lioness through the savannah and curling up beside Larsens, sleeping exactly as Isaiah prophesied (11:6b) testifying of the natural instinct God put in them at creation.

However, another lion eventually killed the calf as Larsens slept. The wardens said when she awoke Larsens circled the lion that killed the calf roaring repeatedly.

The wardens also noticed Larsens never killed Oryx, only eating warthogs when she was hungry.

On Valentines Day 2002, the park wardens saw Larsens had adopted another Oryx calf. This time, however, she was more protective driving away other lions that came too close.

Despite the massive upheaval in nature due to man’s sin we can still see remnants of how creation was originally intended to function.


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