Harun Yahya - The Chameleon Tongue Is Faster Than a Fighter Jet

The Chameleon Tongue Is Faster Than a Fighter Jet


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" the tongue?
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? (2)

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, http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2004/308/1
2 Brad Harrub, "The Chameleon's Incredible (Tongue) Acceleration!", http://www.apologeticspress.org/inthenews/2004/itn-04-08.htm