Also Available in:
This article is from
Creation 14(2):24, March 1992

Browse our latest digital issue Subscribe
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 and Further Reading below.

Discovering the dolphin’s secret


Dolphins are among the most intelligent creatures on earth. They are members of the cetacea (sea mammals), which evolutionists believe evolved from terrestrial mammals. There is no fossil evidence for the major structural changes which would have been necessary to accomplish this. However, the purpose of this article is to highlight another aspect of the dolphin’s design which evolution cannot explain.


Dolphins are very stream-lined, and travel through the water at up to 40 kilometres (25 miles) an hour. In 1936, a Cambridge scientist, Professor James Gray, performed tests with rigid models of a dolphin and discovered that it was theoretically impossible for the dolphin to attain such speeds, as the energy required was 10 times what its muscles could produce.

Gray theorized that there were two possible solutions to this ‘problem’: either the dolphin’s muscles were able to generate much more energy than the muscles of other animals—very unlikely—or the dolphins possessed some means of reducing the friction drag of the water as it passed over their bodies. The world’s air forces and navies were keen to learn the dolphin’s secret. Professor Gray commented: ‘Nature’s design for a dolphin is much more efficient than any submarine or torpedo yet produced by man’.

In 1938, a German researcher, Max O. Kramer, patented a ‘Device for the Reduction of Friction Drag’, which involved a method of reducing the turbulence caused by the flow of water over a battleship or air over a missile. His work was halted by the Second World War, but after the war he went to the USA, and during the sea-crossing saw dolphins for the first time.

Kramer was fascinated, and decided to learn more about these swift, graceful swimmers. In 1955, he was able to examine a piece of dolphin skin under the microscope - and the dolphin’s secret was out. The outer skin is not waterproof, but consists of a soft, waterlogged coating on a hard, fatty inner skin. The outer coating - only 1.5 mm (1/16 inch) thick-is made up of a diaphragm resting on thousands of tiny pillars, with waterlogged, spongy material between them. Therefore, every tiny oscillation in the water on any part of the dolphin’s body surface is automatically adjusted for. Kramer announced that he had discovered ‘a highly refined realization of the basic idea’ of his 1938 patent. Tests with simulated models proved that this design reduced surface drag by as much as 60 per cent!

It seems incredible that some people believe that dolphins evolved from land mammals. But to believe that this amazing device for reducing surface drag has also evolved by chance stretches credulity to breaking point. Even some of the world’s most brilliant scientists could not invent anything as efficient, and when they discovered the dolphin’s secret, they tried to copy it! Such an ingenious design owes its origin to God, the Master Designer. The real patent belongs to Him!

Helpful Resources