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Creation 25(4):56, September 2003

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Editor’s note: As Creation magazine has been continuously published since 1978, we are publishing some of the articles from the archives for historical interest, such as this. For teaching and sharing purposes, readers are advised to supplement these historic articles with more up-to-date ones suggested in the Related Articles below.

Astonishing acrobatics—dragonflies



Dragonflies have long been known to be exquisite fliers. And recent research shows that they can track other insects with incredibly intricate manoeuvring that makes them appear stationary to their target.1 Insects’ compound eyes are good at detecting the slightest motion,2 so the flight patterns must have amazing control systems. Appearing stationary would be very useful for sneaking up on other insects or for eluding a predator.

A brief report in New Scientist said, ‘Dragonflies overshadow their enemies in complex manoeuvres that military fighter pilots can only dream of. … It demands exquisite position sensing and control.’3 The researcher, Akiko Mizutani, of the Centre for Visual Science at the Australian National University in Canberra, said, ‘This sort of performance is extremely hard to achieve without very expensive and bulky measurement systems.’3

A few weeks later, two researchers at the University of London programmed missiles in a computer war game to model the dragonflies’ motion camouflage manoeuvres. The missiles could get far closer to the target before being detected. They used a neural network computer program, and the British Ministry of Defence has expressed interest.4

What the most ingenious human designers can’t achieve with bulky systems, the dragonfly’s Maker programmed into the tiny dragonfly brain. Yet evolutionists believe that this evolved by time and chance—and in what they call the ‘oldest airborne predator’!

So how does this fit with the biblical teaching of death as the result of the Fall of Adam? First, insects are not ‘living’ in the sense of being ‘soulish’, as vertebrates are—the Bible never calls them nephesh chayyāh (נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה, Hebrew for ‘living souls/creatures’). Second, this amazing design could have a non-predation-related function of, for example, catching up to a mate. Third, this could have been a latent feature programmed into the genes by the Creator who foreknew the Fall.5

Posted on homepage: 8 February 2017

References and notes

  1. Mizutani, A. et al., Motion camouflage in dragonflies, Nature 423(6940):604, 5 June 2003. Return to text.
  2. E.g. by ingenious programming to measure optic flow—see Sarfati, J., Can it bee? Creation 25(2):44–45, 2003; after Esch, H.E. et al., Honeybee dances communicate distances measured by optic flow, Nature 411(6837):581–583, 31 May 2001. Return to text.
  3. Anon., How stealthy insects outsmart their foe, New Scientist 178(2398):26, 7 June 2003. Return to text.
  4. Graham-Rowe, D., You’ll never see it coming ... , New Scientist 178(2401):18–19, 28 June 2003. Return to text.
  5. See also Batten, D. (Ed.), Sarfati, J. and Wieland, C., The Creation Answers Book, Creation Publishers, Brisbane, Australia; Triune Press, Brisbane, Australia, 1999; and Q&A: Genesis—Curse. Return to text.