Lizard sponge described in article in ScienceNOW 17 Aug 2007. Some desert dwelling lizards are able to soak up water into their skin from any damp surface, as well as from rain. It was once thought that they were able to absorb water through their skin, but reptile skin does not allow water to pass directly through it, so they must transport it to their mouths and drink it in. Scientists at James Cook University, Queensland, Australia have carried out a microscopic study of lizard skin to see how they do this. They found that water harvesting lizards, such as the Australian thorny devil and Texas horned lizard, had a network of tiny tubular channels in the "scale hinges" between their scales. The channels were the width of one or two human hairs - a good size for promoting water flow by capillary action. Lizards that don't harvest water did not have these channels in their skin. The scientists are unsure how the lizards keep the water flowing in the right direction, but suggest it is with repetitive tongue movements that suck the water into their mouths.

Editorial Comment: Such capillary plumbing would be an ideal way for collecting water in the original good world that is described in Genesis where we are told that the earth was watered by a mist rising up each morning. Lizards with such capillary plumbing could simply stand out in the air and collect water. After Noah's flood when the climate degraded and deserts started to appear, this sophisticated system for collecting water would be an ideal pre-adaptation for living in deserts. The lizard can survive in such an inhospitable environment because it already had the necessary features. This is a good example of natural selection but not an example of evolution. (Ref. design, climate, reptiles)

Evidence News 10 October 2007


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