If you listed off your top three favorite animals, chances are pretty good the duckbilled platypus wouldn’t make the cut. In fact, it might not even make the top fifty. Despite its lack of popularity, the duckbilled platypus is a pretty incredible animal. Here’s why:
- How It Eats. A duckbilled platypus enjoys tasty meals like worms, insect larvae, and shrimp. It finds this food by rummaging around underwater on the riverbed. The problem is, the platypus doesn’t have any teeth. This makes the duckbilled platypus the only mammal on earth that hunts for substantial food but doesn’t have teeth (Anteaters and Pangolins don’t need teeth since they only eat ants and small insects). While it is rummaging around underwater, it will scoop up some gravel and dirt in its mouth. When it finds food, it will tuck it in its cheek, rise to the surface, and use the gravel and dirt as makeshift teeth to help “chew” the food (Live Science). Once it swallows the food, it becomes even more unique. The duckbilled platypus doesn’t have a stomach. Its esophagus connects directly to the intestines (ListVerse.com). Somehow it is still able to eat, digest, and survive. If this wasn’t already tricky enough, the duckbilled platypus does all of this at night while its eyes, ears, and nose are closed (J.E. Gregory, “Receptors in the Bill of the Platypus”). So how in the world does it find the food?
- Its Bill. The duckbilled platypus closes off its eyes, ears, and nose to keep water out. One would think this would make finding food impossible, but it isn’t thanks to its bill. On the skin of the bill are electroreceptors (John D. Pettigrew, “The Sensory World of the Platypus”). These receptors detect tiny electrical currents given off by the muscle contractions in its prey. So, when a little worm or shrimp moves, the duckbilled platypus will know which direction it came from, will zero in on it, and enjoy some dinner. Not only does it have electroreceptors to find the food, its brain is perfectly designed to receive and understand these electrical signals.
Without a doubt the duckbilled platypus is an amazing animal. It is another creature that points to design, order, and a supreme Creator. So much of this animal is unique. Even today scientists are left without answers as to how something like this could have evolved. They speculate about why it no longer has a stomach, what animals it could have come from, and how it came to evolve such special abilities. In the end, many scientists have admitted to a lack of understanding and had to rely on theories as answers. All that really remains is a lack of observable evidence, a lack of fossil evidence, and a lack of explanation of how the platypus could have evolved into the way it is today.
When something is designed, orderly, and perfectly functioning, it had to come from a Designer. In the case of the duckbilled platypus, this designer is God. Like so much on the earth, the Lord has displayed His “eternal power and divine nature” through His creation (Romans 1:20). He is the Creator. He is God. Let’s praise and honor Him!