Gypsy moth caterpillars can rapidly strip every leaf from a large number of trees. Since trees are rooted to the ground and cannot escape, it would appear that trees are helpless against such hungry insects. Yet seldom is an entire grove of trees destroyed. Scientists have wondered why individual trees, rather than whole groves, are usually affected. Perhaps the trees are not as defenseless as we thought.

Botanists have discovered that when facing a threat, even trees can begin to defend themselves. A variety of trees–including beech, poplar, sugar maple, and red oak–communicate with each other by releasing chemicals called pheromones into the air. Before insects attacking one tree move on, the second tree can already begin to defend itself. When notified by other trees of the attack, many trees begin to manufacture an array of poisons. Some of the poisons make their leaves impossible to digest, while others kill insects on contact. Some trees can make as many as eight poisons at once, and many can change the types of poison that are made from year to year.

It is difficult to believe that all of these defense mechanisms could have simply evolved. Isn't it far more logical to attribute such design to an intelligent Designer who created specific defense systems so that organisms could survive in our fallen world?

From A Closer Look at the Evidence by Kleiss, September 5.

Please feel free to share...Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn