“All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.”
What animal is the world’s best smeller? Scientists now think it’s the African bush elephant. As we’ve mentioned on previous Creation Moments programs, elephants possess a versatile trunk that can toss logs, grasp food, spray water and even pick up branches to use as tools. But new research reported in Genome Research and Science News has found that these magnificent creatures carry about 2,000 genes for olfactory receptors. That’s about five times more olfactory genes than we have. It’s also a lot more than renowned sniffers like rats, which have only 1,200 olfactory receptor genes. Dogs have even fewer – about 800.
Just how well can an African bush elephant smell? They are actually able to distinguish between the Maasai, an ethnic Kenyan group that hunts elephants, from the Kamba, who are farmers. Smelling the difference between these two groups causes the elephant to respond accordingly.
As can be expected, the research team attributed the elephant’s superior sense of smell to evolution. They said that the original smell-sensing gene duplicated in elephants as mammal species diverged from one another.
But we see no evidence whatsoever that the elephant’s sense of smell has anything to do with evolution. A far more reasonable explanation is that they were given this gift by their Creator who knew exactly what they would need to survive. Yes, that same Creator who has given us what we need to survive the punishment that we deserve when Jesus was crucified!
Oh Lord, I am filled with awe and wonder when I think about the creatures You have made. From the mighty elephant to the lowly worm, they were all made by You! Amen.
Y. Niimura, A. Matsui, and K. Touhara. Extreme expansion of the olfactory receptor gene repertoire in African elephants and evolutionary dynamics of orthologous gene groups in 13 placental mammals. Genome Research. Published online: July 22, 2014. doi: 10.1101/gr.169532.113. “Elephant’s big nose wins most sensitive sniffer,” Science News, 7-22-14. Photo: Male African bush elephant. Courtesy of Ikiwaner. Licensed under the GNU Free Documentation 1.2 License.