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Wonders of Creation - Small Organism

There are many examples in Nature, of large organisms needing very small organisms to survive. Whales need krill, for example; yucca plants need the tiny grubs of yucca moths. Some spiny trees need ants for protection. Large flowers need small flies for pollination. Humans need microscopic bacteria in their gut to be healthy. Perhaps this balance between the large relying on the comparatively insignificant is an object lesson from God? Never overlook the value of small things.

Another case in point is the douc langurs, the world's most endangered primates in the world. Whenever they are captured and kept in the best of environments, they have always languished, or done poorly. The problem is always the same: digestive disorders, and frequent episodes of vomiting. The most likely suspect is the lack of some microbe missing from the langur's gut - a bacteria it always manages to obtain when it is in the wild.

Research to find the microbe which will cure the douc langur continues, but the whole subject of interdependency has surfaced again, in the area of parasites. There is an incredibly rich field waiting to be studied, in the area of parasitical microbial diversity and symbiosis in and around endangered species. Which parasites do plants and animals need to stay healthy? There are lice which suck blood, and tapeworms that grow inside intestines, there are millions of . . .

There are many examples in Nature, of large organisms needing very small organisms to survive. Whales need krill, for example; yucca plants need the tiny grubs of yucca moths. Some spiny trees need ants for protection. Large flowers need small flies for pollination. Humans need microscopic bacteria in their gut to be healthy. Perhaps this balance between the large relying on the comparatively insignificant is an object lesson from God? Never overlook the value of small things.

Another case in point is the douc langurs, the world's most endangered primates in the world. Whenever they are captured and kept in the best of environments, they have always languished, or done poorly. The problem is always the same: digestive disorders, and frequent episodes of vomiting. The most likely suspect is the lack of some microbe missing from the langur's gut - a bacteria it always manages to obtain when it is in the wild.

Research to find the microbe which will cure the douc langur continues, but the whole subject of interdependency has surfaced again, in the area of parasites. There is an incredibly rich field waiting to be studied, in the area of parasitical microbial diversity and symbiosis in and around endangered species. Which parasites do plants and animals need to stay healthy? There are lice which suck blood, and tapeworms that grow inside intestines, there are millions of gut bacteria which aid digestion (in humans as well as animals) and almost every creature on Earth has hundreds of such parasites, or is affected somehow by them. Many of these depend on their host for survival, and if one becomes extinct, so will the other.

When it comes to fish we find a similar story. A scientist working for the CRES (Centre for Reproduction of Endangered Species), Rod Bray said, "We used to think that roughly 50% of the parasitic flatworms in the fish we study were species specific . . . but recent DNA work is showing that there is much more specificity than we originally thought." He added, "When it comes to parasites in fish, I think it is reasonable to say that practically every species has specific parasites." (New Scientist 2004)

The word "parasite" has many unfortunate connotations. To many people it means ?a cursed thing, a blood-sucker, a disease?. The creationist point of view is more considerate. Parasites are seen to be the design of God, and part of His vast plan for the whole biosphere. Most parasites are a blessing to the environment, and an aid to their host - for example gut bacteria. Another example is the nematode worm.

Inflammatory bowel disease is rare in countries where intestinal nematode worm infections are common. In a study published in 2003 (Infection and Immunity, vol. 70, page 5931) it was suggested that the worms themselves may play a protective role by inducing an immunological response to the bowel disease. In countries where the tapeworm is eradicated, the incidence of the disease is more frequent.

Obviously, if Man removes something from the system, there will be an inevitable effect, in the micro world, or the macro world. Whatever Man does affects herbivores, carnivores, scavengers and parasites. The whole environment is sensitive to change, and this is exactly as what we would expect to find if a Creator-God designed it all to operate as a whole.

To many people the word ?bacteria? evokes a similar negative response. TV advertising commonly offers a product which, we are told "kills germs!" or "Kills 99% of all household germs!" and the sales pitch often centers around some happy woman spraying a chemical liberally all over her toilet, kitchen or furniture - as if all germs are a curse. The truth is quite the reverse. God created germs originally to be a part of His biosphere, and most of them are beneficial. Our skin even has millions of germs that defend and guard it from invasion by less helpful bacteria.

It seems ironic that after so many years of scientific investigation of the environment, it is only now that scientists are realizing how important parasites are to the well-being of the whole.

"He has made every thing beautiful in his time: also he has set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God makes from the beginning to the end." Ecclesiastes 3:11

Richard Gunther, Copyright 2006