“And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also.”
Ever since Old Testament times, midwives have been helping mothers during the birthing process. They are especially valuable should there be difficulties since they not only offer an extra set of hands, but experience in dealing with common problems. Some of the scientists who were studying amoeba behavior observed some very strange behavior which suggests that some amoebas, too, employ midwives.
The scientists were studying an amoeba that lives in the digestive tract of reptiles. As all amoebas, they reproduce by splitting in half. Scientists noted, however, that this particular species is not very good at it. Up to a third of the time, the amoebas fail to split. They begin the process but never manage to complete it. When that happens, the amoeba is doomed to exist as long as it can with two sets of genetic information. But as scientists watched, when an amoeba had difficulty dividing, other amoebas would move in on it and help the division process, thereby serving as a midwife. Further study revealed that the amoeba having difficulty dividing releases a chemical which apparently summons help to finish the process. The midwife amoeba have been seen traveling up to 40 times their own length to help in the birthing of a new generation.
The Bible teaches us that God cares for all of His creatures. Here we see that He provides even for the needs of the lowly amoeba. How much more does He love us and provide for our needs!
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the helping professions. Help me to see where I can help someone else. Amen.
Author: Paul A. Bartz
REF.: “Distressed amoebas can call for help,” Science News, V. 159, 3/31/01, p. 200. Photo: “Amoeba Proteus, an animal consisting of a single naked cell. (PD)
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