Zoology text books explain that the ballistic tongue of the
chameleon is reinforced by an accelerator muscle. This muscle lengthens
as it squeezes down on the tongue bone, which is a stiff cartilage in
the centre of the tongue, that it wraps. However, in a study accepted
for publication by the journal the Proceedings of the Royal Society
of London (Series B), two morphologists who studied the feeding habits
of the chameleon discovered other factors concerning the rapid movement
of the animal's tongue. (1)
The two Dutch researchers, Jurriaan de Groot of Leiden University and
Johan van Leeuwen of Wageningen University, shot high-speed x-ray videos,
at a rate of 500 frames a second, in order to investigate how the chameleon
tongue works when seizing prey. The videos revealed that the tip of the
chameleon's tongue accelerated at 50 g (g = gravity constant). This
acceleration is five times greater than that which can be achieved by
a fighter jet.
The researchers dissected the tongue tissues and discovered that the
accelerator muscle was nowhere near powerful enough to produce the force
necessary for this on its own. Examining chameleon tongues, they discovered
the presence of at least 10 hitherto unknown slippery sheaths between
the accelerator muscle and the tongue bone. These sheaths, attached to
the tongue bone at the end closest to the mouth, were observed to contain
spirally wound protein fibres. These fibres are compacted and change shape
when the accelerator muscle contracts and store energy like a tightened
rubber band. When these tightened and lengthened sheaths reach the rounded
end of the tongue bone they simultaneously slip off and contract with
force and propel the tongue. As soon as the fibres slide from the tongue
bone, the sheaths separate from one another like the tubes of a telescope,
and the tongue thus attains maximum stretch. Van Leeuwen says, "it's
a telescopic catapult."
This catapult has another very striking feature. The tip of the tongue
assumes a vacuum form at the moment it strikes the prey. While throwing,
this tongue can stretch six times its length at rest inside the mouth,
and twice the length of the chameleon's own body.
It is clear that these interconnected sheaths in the chameleon tongue
can never be explained in terms of evolution. Dr. Brad Harrub, a proponent
of creationism, asks in his article the following questions, each of which
causes impasse for the evolutionists.
1) How did each one of these sheaths evolve into the right position?
2) How did the tongue grow to this length?
3) How did the accelerator muscle emerge?
4) How did the sheaths coordinate their actions making the tongue to reach
its maximum length?
5) How did the sheaths grow the ability to "fall apart like tubes
of a telescope";
6) How did the animal reunite all of these components after "launching"
7) If this tongue was acquired as an evolutional advantage, then why did
not this advantage evolve in other animals and why did not other animals
possess similar hunting methods?
8) How did the chameleon (or its supposed transitional ancestor) manage
to survive while all these complex systems allegedly gradually evolved?
An evolutionist will have no reply to give to these questions. The picture
on the left, a schematic representation of a cross-section of the chameleon
tongue, reveals that this perfect system depends on a very special creation.
Muscle groups with different properties flawlessly propel the tongue,
accelerate it, cause the tongue to assume a sucker form when it strikes
its prey and then quickly withdraw it. These muscle groups in no way hinder
one another's functioning, but work in a co-ordinated manner in striking
the prey and withdrawing the tongue back into the mouth in less than a
second. Additionally, thanks to the way the visual system works together
with the brain, the position of the prey is calculated and the order for
the ballistic tongue to "fire!" is given by neuron signalling
inside the brain.
The chameleon could not, of course, have thought of and designed such
a complex design by itself. This creation reveals the existence of God,
the Omniscient and Almighty. There can be no doubt that it is God, the
Almighty, Omniscient and All-Wise, Who created the chameleon.
1. Menno Schilthuizen,
"Slip of the Chameleon's Tongue," Science Now, 8 March 2004,
2 Brad Harrub, "The Chameleon's Incredible (Tongue) Acceleration!",