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Creation 29(2):42–43, March 2007

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From a frog to a … frog!

by Adrian Bates

stock.xchng frog

Never mind about a frog to a prince—doesn’t a frog show evolution happening within its own life cycle? From a fish-like tadpole (complete with gills) the ‘frog baby’ rapidly ‘morphs’ its way to a brand new life-style! The mouth widens, the tail dissolves, the fly-catching ‘bungy’ tongue develops, nostrils form, and bulging eyes migrate around the head. Lastly, when the lungs mature and four legs have grown, the graduating tadpole celebrates by hopping right out of the water and living on land.

This amazing transformation (metamorphosis) is a lot more than skin deep. Virtually every organ and body system is radically reworked.1,2 For instance, the nervous system has to be completely rewired to operate the new or reprogrammed models of eyes, ears, legs, tongue, etc. The same revamp applies to the frog’s biochemistry. The hemoglobin in the blood changes,3 as does the photo-pigment in the eyes,4 besides a host of other transformations. Even the waste disposal system is altered to suit the creature’s new living conditions.5

Biologists shake their heads at the mega-complexity of this pond-based ‘rebirth’. The frog basking on the lily pad is the surprising result of one tadpole plus a multitude of changes, all occurring in an astounding cascade of precise sequence and order. In fact, the choreography required makes an Olympic opening ceremony pale by comparison. For example, life obviously gets tricky for a tadpole if its tail disappears before the legs kick in. The same applies for all its internal organs, bones, nerves, biochemistry, etc. Anything out of step is likely to cause the whole grand redevelopment process to grind to a halt … with (from the tadpole’s point of view) regrettable results!

photolibrary.com frogdevelopment

Highly sophisticated computer coding

The fantastically complex DNA information coding which changes a tadpole into a frog points clearly to a vastly superior intelligence for its design. Such coding cannot arise naturally—it demonstrates a deliberately designed end-result.

Each step needs another

Years of research has uncovered multiple layers upon layers of processes all mobilised to complete this ‘change in life’.1 For example, tail removal involves a highly programmed operation of micro-logistics. First, the tadpole puts the brakes on the production of tail muscle cells. Next, it manufactures a number of highly specified cell-dissolving enzymes. 

Then at the right moment these mini ‘hit men’ are matched and injected into all the different types of tail cells. Lastly, roaming macrophages home in on these terminated tail cells for a microscopic ‘feeding frenzy’, dismantling and collecting the remaining structures and nutrients for re-use as building materials and energy elsewhere in the body. (I.e. the tail is absorbed by the body; it is not discarded.)

‘Change’ does not mean ‘evolve’

So just how does that original ‘evolution in action’ claim stack up? Is the metamorphosis of a tadpole to a frog a clear example of evolution?

Nothing could be further from the truth. The tadpole may superficially look ‘fishy’ but it is totally frog from day one. Everything needed to reinvent itself (all the genetic information, plans and recipes) is already enshrined in the master DNA code implanted in the nucleus of the tadpole’s cells. At this profoundly miniaturised level we discover not only a complete froggy blueprint, but also a fully functioning factory with all the machinery and equipment to translate the plan into reality.

A fish does not have the information in its genes to transform itself into an amphibian.

This embedded information is the key difference between the evolutionist’s fairy story (fish evolved into amphibians) and the real world (a tadpole becoming a frog). The tadpole, from the day it was spawned, comes equipped with a complete set of DIY (‘Do-It-Yourself’) plans labelled ‘how to turn into a frog’. In contrast, fish have only the genetic plans to make … fish! A fish does not have the information in its genes to transform itself into an amphibian and it has no way of obtaining such information. In fact, it is doubtful if there has been even one unequivocal example of new information added to any creature’s genetic plan by evolutionary mechanisms.

So the tadpole’s metamorphosis offers no evidence for evolution—rather it is another clear evidence of the handiwork of Creator God.6

References and notes

  1. Shankland, M., Metamorphosis, sbs.utexas.edu, accessed October 2004; accessed 2007. Return to text.
  2. Gilbert, S.F., Metamorphosis: The Hormonal Reactivation of Development, ncbi.nlm.nig.gov, accessed January 2005. Return to text.
  3. Tadpole hemoglobin changes to adult hemoglobin which binds oxygen more slowly and releases it more rapidly. Ref. 2. Return to text.
  4. The major retinal photo pigment changes from porphyropsin to rhodopsin. Ref. 2. Return to text.
  5. Tadpoles (like most fish) excrete ammonia, whereas adult frogs change to a urea-based system that uses less water. Ref. 2. Return to text.
  6. Weston, P., Frogs—Jeremiah was not a bullfrog, Creation 22(2):28–32, 2000. Return to text.

Readers’ comments

A. W.
I believe in creation, but your article could be interpreted for evolution ... in other words an ape-like creature could have within it the necessary DNA and embedded information to become a man. Not in one lifetime as we understand time of course. A frog's lifetime is shorter and faster in those terms.
Warren Nunn
You say "could have" but, of course, in Genesis God tells us what he did do. On Day 6, after creating the land animals, He made Adam. That means that before Adam was created, creatures such as the frog kind and the ape kind had already been created complete with their DNA so they could reproduce after their kind.
Genesis 1:24-26: And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
John B.
Once again, evolution is made to be seen for the nonsense that it is! Metamorphosis is incredibly complex and another prime example of it is seen in the butterfly. From egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly! How does that soup that was caterpillar turn into an incredibly beautiful butterfly inside that chrysalis? How does it know how to rearrange itself, all those billions of molecules? Who programmed this miracle of every day nature we take for granted? Our God is truly amazing! To give evolution the credit is incredibly naive and an utterly total cop out! Why can't they see it??!
Hugh O.
Another great article that is well studied and presented in a manner layman can easily understand. Understanding is another example of a our creator, He desires us to know Him. His creation is understandable at all levels, a young child or other person amazed at the complexity of a flower, butterfly, etc to the scientist who specializes in discovery at the microscopic, or telescopic level. Thank you for all your great articles.
Carolinna M.

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