How to Engineer a Better Turtle
Genesis 1:21: “And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”
Leatherback turtles make use of far more of the sea than most creatures. They can dive to depths of over 4,000 feet. They prefer cold, open ocean waters but lay their eggs on tropical beaches. Not only are they found all over the world, but the same individual may be found all over the world. In 1970, a turtle that was tagged off the South American coast also turned up just off the West African coast, almost 4,000 miles away.
Leatherbacks are uniquely designed, inside and out, to travel the world’s seas. Their bodies are teardrop shaped. This gives them nearly ideal efficiency traveling through water. In addition, they have seven ridges along the length of their upper shell, further increasing the efficiency of water flow around them. Their bodies, including the shell, are covered with a very smooth, leathery skin. Studies of leatherback hatchlings show that they use 20 percent less energy to swim through the water than any other turtle hatchling.
Leatherbacks live their entire lives in the open sea, except for a trip to shore to lay eggs every few years. They almost never stop moving. Scientists who attached radio monitors to leatherbacks were astonished to find that they swim and dive day and night, never stopping to sleep. Their front flippers are more than half the length of the entire body. They are driven by powerful pectoral muscles that can make up as much as 30 percent of the turtle’s weight.
The leatherback turtle is a marvelously designed creature whose very existence glorifies our Creator.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You for the excellence You put into everything that You have made. Help my every effort that it might be my best and most excellent offering to You in thanksgiving for Your goodness to me. Amen.
Notes: Eckert, Scott A. 1992. “Bound for deep water.” Natural History, Mar., p. 29.
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