Evolution Encyclopedia Vol. 3 

Chapter 24


Billions of fish In thousands of species swim In the oceans, rivers, and lakes of the world. Yet their lives point to the Creator who made them. Come, let us consider the fish. They have an Important lesson to teach us:

 FISHY DESIGNS Scientists have tried to figure out the shape of the fish. It is obvious that a fish is shaped in such a streamlined fashion that it will glide through the water with the least effort. But, in addition, it has been discovered that the mouth is located exactly where water, with its oxygen, will be most easily taken in through the mouth. After the gills extract the oxygen from it, this water is then expelled behind the gill flaps at the point where outward pressure will be the greatest to pull the water out of the fish, with the least effort on the fish's part. The eyes are located at exactly that point where water pressure while swimming is zero. This is important, for water pressure on the eye would distort the fish's vision differently at different speeds. The heart is located in a point where outward pressure is strong, so that, after each heart beat (each heart contraction), the heart can easily re-expand before the next heart beat.

 MOVING EYES There are fish which swim horizontally, while the longest sides of their bodies are vertical (sea horses); there are fish which swim horizontally with their longest sides to the right and left (sardines, tuna, salmon, etc.); there are fish which are more roundish (bass); there are also fish with net, pancake bodies -some of which remain vertical all their lives (sunfish), while others later change to a horizontally net position (soles).

Many of the fish which have horizontally flat bodies undergo a strange transformation during their life. They change into true "flat fish," with horizontally flat bodies.

At first, this type of fish will swim and look just like a regular vertical fish. But then one of its eyes will begin migrating to the other side of its head! Imagine the involved process required to do that! Beneath the skin of every fish, reptile, and mammal, there are many muscles, nerves, blood vessels, tones, and other structures. In the midst of all that maze, how can an eye move to the other side of the head? The optic nerve connects that eye directly to a certain point in the brain. How can the eye move halfway around the skull, without its optic nerve being sliced in two by muscles, tendons, and other obstacles it meets?

All of the Pleuronectidae (fish that swim on their sides), undergo this unusual change. After being born, at first they swim around as do other fish, but after a month one eye begins to move. Meanwhile the body slowly flattens sideways and the small fish, originally a surface swimmer, begins to sink slowly towards the bottom. By six weeks the eye has reached the top of the head, and a week later it is almost next to the other eye! By now the young fish has sunk to the bottom and is lying on what was once its side. That side will turn white and the two eyes will be on the top side.

With plaice, soles, dabs, flounders, and halibuts, it is always the left side that goes down and the left eye that moves; these are called "dexteral fish." But other species (such as the turbot and brill) are called "sinistral fish," and in those fish the right eye travels toward the left eye and away from the right side on which they eventually lie.

Many of these fish have a very special ability to change color in accordance with the sand or mud they are on. If the sand is white with brown and black specks, the fish will look just the same as that sand, and will have the same size, texture and color of markings!  

DEEP-SEA FISH Some deep sea fish have telescopic eyes, set on long stalks. Others are equipped with headlights like a car. These lights are placed in front of curved, glistening reflectors near the eyes and are projected as two beams of light.

Two kinds of fish (photblepharon and anomalops) carry lanterns which are luminous plants with tiny bacteria in them. Just below the eyes are the receptacles for holding the lanterns. There is even a mechanism for turning the lights on and off.

Constellation fish have five horizontal rows of illuminated spots, one above the other. The great gulper eel (Saccopharynx harisonl), 55 inches [140 cm] long, has a flaming red light organ near the tip of its tail.

Some fish have illuminated circles around their eyes and mouths, others glow all over. Then there is the fish that carries a lantern at the end of a long rod above and in front of it.  

PORCUPINE FISH This is a little tropical fish which goes about minding its own business until an enemy , arid then it goes into action with a surprising defense technique. Suddenly through its gills it takes in large amounts of air very rapidly, and as it does so it blows up like a balloon! It has changed from a regular fish to a round balloon fish. Because it has small spines protruding outward all oust its body, when it expands these spines sticking out of the large ball make it a positive menace to any fish that might consider biting in.  


  CODFISH The codfish feeds 80-240 feet [183732 dm] deep at the cold bottom of the North Atlantic. There is a whisker under its chin that is made of skin, which smells food. As the fish swims it brushes that feeler along the bottom, searching for small crabs and other creatures.

The codfish knows that it must not lay its eggs where it lives, so it goes to the warmer surface and always lays them amid rich areas of plankton, so the babies will have food to eat. Each codfish lays 4-6 million eggs at a time. Only 1,000 will grow to adulthood, but that will be enough to keep this fish in the ocean, since many of the adults will be eaten before laying eggs.

The codfish is the second most abundant food fish in the world.

  STICKLEBACK The stickleback looks like many other fish in streams and ponds, but it is different in a special way. The male stickleback makes a nest of leaves and twigs, mates with the female, and then remains to guard the eggs till they hatch.

He begins by nosing out a depression in the sand and carrying sand away by the mouthful. Next he digs a tunnel by wriggling under the pile of nest materials, made of twigs and leaves. With the nest ready, he waits for a female. When she arrives, he dances, zigzags, stands on his tail, and turns and swims rapidly toward the nest while she demurely follows. Then he shows her the tunnel, which she enters. He prods her to lay eggs, and then chases her away, lest she remain and eat the eggs.

Facing those eggs, the male then fans his front fins in reverse. To hold still, he swims forward with his tail. The bubbly current brings fresh air to the eggs and helps them hatch rapidly.

As soon as they hatch, the babies are interested in seeing the world, so they start swimming toward the sunlit surface. Immediately, he chases after, and catches them in his mouth. Returning to the nest he spits them one by one back into the safety of the nest. Later, when they are able to care for themselves he leaves.

  DECOY FISH Off the coast of Oahu, Hawaii, lives the care decoy fish. The dorsal fin is the one at the top front of a fish. But this particular fish has a dorsal fin -that looks like a small fish! The fin is shaped like a fish head, with a dot where the eye should be, The fin membrane is notched between the 1st and 2nd spine and resembles the mouth of a fish. The fin has the color of a fish, but the horizontal bottom of the fin is transparent, so it will not appear to be attached to the decoy fish below it.

When the decoy fish sees possible food swimming near, it goes through a special routine to attract it to draw near: (1) The decoys fish's dorsal fin goes up and displays the shape of a smaller fish. (2) Immediately upon raising the lure to view, the fish stops its gill movements, and slows its breathing. (3) The fin lure changes to a deep red color, and a small horizontal area at the base of that fin changes to a transparent see-through band. (4) While the decoy fish remains motionless, it now moves the decoy fin from side to side, and causes that slit (the "mouth") to open arid shut! (5) The other fish draws near, curious to see that inviting small fish. (6) Then, suddenly, the decoy fish snaps its prey in one quick movement. (7) The fin color fades away and the fin is folded down onto the back of the decoy fish.

How could "natural selection" do all of that?

  PIPEFISH This little creature is somewhat like a seahorse, but it is shaped like a tiny vertical pipe. one‑fourth of an inch wide and 6 inches [15.24 cm] long, the pipe fish can change color from brown to glean to match the grass it is in.

It has special cells which send a signal to the brain, which then studies the message to determine the exact color of green, etc. Then a signal is sent to the pigment glands in the skin. The dark green pigment gland squirts out some dark green pigment. Or several glands will squirt out a combination of colors to provide an exact color-match to the background! That entire process takes about 20 seconds. Many other fish, as well as some reptiles and amphibians, can do it also.

Ocean currents move and sway the eel grass, so the little pipe fish must move and sway with it also. Sensitive to grass movements, the fish sways back and forth with the grass.

Because the eel grass is vertical, the pipefish swims vertically also, but if it wants to do so, it can just as easily swim horizontally. Only the pipe. fish and the sea horse routinely swim vertically.

Like the sea horse, the pipe fish cannot open its mouth. It only has a small hole opening, so it must suck in its food.

When mating time arrives, the female swims up to the male and lays her eggs in a pouch on his stomach. He carries the eggs till they hatch. The same process occurs with sea horses.

In the case of the sea horse, the female inserts eggs in the pouch of the male, where they are then fertilized, sealed and nourished for six weeks on his blood. The pregnant male then enters labor and 200-300 baby seahorses are born alive. We seemingly have have an almost exact opposite of normal mating among animals!

  NILE EEL FISH The Nile eel fish (Gymnarchus nllotkus) lives in the Nile River in Egypt. This is a fish that is shaped somewhat like an eel. It stores electricity in its stubby tail, and discharges it into the water in controlled bursts.

It is true that there are some marine creatures which use electricity as a means of defense, but the Nile eel fish uses its electricity for a surprisingly different purpose: it sends out quick bursts of electricity as a radar instead! When the echoes come back, it can tell what is ahead, just as a bat does!

This fish sends out these impulses and as they bounce back from solid object, the electromagnetic energy is used as a form of underwater radar. It somehow interprets the reflected signals accurately in its brain, just as bats do with airborne waves, in time to alter its course and so avoid running into things.

One might ask, why does it need this ability when other fish manage not to "run into things"? The Nile eel fish uses its radar signals at night when it is darting backwards) For some reason, it likes to do that frequently, and since it has no eyes in its tail it uses radar in their place.

  PLAICE The plaice fish is so good at camouflage that, if it is placed on a checkered background, it can reproduce a checkered dark-and-light pattern of squares on its back. It will match the exact coloring of the background also. 

GRUNION Grunions live in the deep sea and are only seen about once a year when they appear in great numbers. Here is their amazing story:

The female grunions lay their eggs in the sand on southern California beaches exactly 15 minutes after high tide on the night after the month's highest tide. These eggs have to be fertilized by the males within 30 seconds.

As each wave runs back, grunions flop on the wet sand, helpless as fish out of water. There they lay eggs at the edge of the farthest reach of the sea, burying them in sand out of sight of hungry shore birds. The eggs are in no danger of washing away because the tides will not be so high again for another month. They receive warmth from the sun and fresh air through the grains of sand.

When the next high tide comes in, the waters lap up and over these eggs, -and they suddenly hatch out when touched by the salt water. Scientists watching it, say it is almost explosive how the tiny fish instantly hatch and come out onto the surface. The young immediately know that they must get to the sea quickly! The new-born fry are washed back into the sea. No grunions will be seen again for a full year.

Who taught the grunions all this? Who fixed the incubation period to exactly coincide with the monthly highest tide on southern California beaches? Who did this and a million, million other miracles in our works?

  TRIGGER FISH The trigger fish feeds on crabs which swing out with their claws when attacked. But the eyes on this fish are located quite some distance above its mouth, so the claws will not injure them when it goes after a crab. But every so often a larger fish chases after the trigger fish. Then it uses a different means of self-protection. This fish has the ability to trigger its first dorsal fin (its top front fin), which is shaped like a long sharp spike. When danger draws near, this fish raises the sharp spike to an upright position and locks it in place. Seeing that sharp, raised spike, the larger fish gives up and leaves. Then the trigger fish releases a smaller spine on its back, which in turn is connected by a tendon to that trigger spine; this lowers the spine.

 SURGEON FISH The surgeon fish lives far away in South Pacific reefs, and has a device that is quite similar to that of the trigger fish. This is a sharp, movable spike which, like a switchblade, can suddenly shoot out-out from the side of the surgeon fish. If the enemy fish does not leave quickly enough, the surgeon fish jumps at him and, moving its body and tail in quick jerks, slashes the enemy on the side, cutting him deeply. When the spike is retracted, it returns into a deep recess within the body and surrounded by a protective sheath.

  TILAPIA FISH The male tilapia fish hatches eggs in its mouth and allows the hatched young to use his mouth as a refuge when enemies draw near. Several other mouth-breeder fish care for their young in the same manner.

This 3-inch [7.62 cm] fish fives in the rivers of Africa. The female scoops a hole with her mouth in the gravel on the river bottom, and then lays about 80 eggs in this nest. The male drops sperm on the eggs, and then darts head-first toward the nest, scooping up a few more eggs with each plunge, until he finally has them all in his mouth. If he misses a few, the female slaps him with her tail, so he will get back to work.

Finally they are all in, and now, crammed with eggs, his mouth bulges. They hatch in about 5 days, but he keeps them in his mouth for about 6 more days. Then they are large enough to take care of themselves. For the first time in nearly two weeks, he is able to eat a meal.

  ANGLER FISH In some species Of angler fish, the female catches the food and feeds it to the male who never eats. The male is much smaller than the female and the two attach themselves together. Then, by a special organ, she feeds him intravenously.

  LUNG FISH This type of fish is indeed a strange one. In South America and Africa are to be found several different lung fish. They live in stagnant pools which dry up in the rainless season. Normally, fish in such pools would die, but not the lung fish. Instead, it simply burrows down into the mud, places a sort of mucilage cocoon around itself, and goes to sleep. Soon it is enclosed in clay that is baked dry and hard as rock! The fish gets its air through a hole which extends to the surface of the ground.

The lungfish has skin glands that produce a varnish during the dry season when the fish is buried in the mud. This varnish exudes out and covers the entire surface of the skin. The varnish protects the fish from drying out-and losing the water inside it. Months later, the rains fall again and the lung fish comes back to life, as it were, and again swims around in its pool of water.

There is no possible way that, at some earlier time, a fish could have evolved this ability! As soon as one tried to crawl into the drying mud, ft would die. Yet evolutionists tell us that this is how all land creatures began: a fish one day crawled out of the water and began walking around with only air to breath. And then it quickly grew legs and other equipment needed to eat, protect itself, and survive on land. Then it passed all these acquired characteristics on to its children.  

KNIFE FISH The black ghost knife fish of South America has the ability to re-grow its backbone, if it becomes severed! This includes the spinal cord within the backbone as well as the supporting muscle structure.

  CLOWNFISH  The clownfish Is a very attractive fish that is colored rich cream with rose markings. It is so beautiful that ft is easily seen by predators. But the clownfish is not worried, for it feeds near the dangerous sea anemone, whose tentacles paralyze fish touching it. When a fish chases after the clownfish, ft dives into the midst of the sea anemone's tentacles without harm! The pursuing fish is caught, and the clownfish darts back out. Thus, each of these very different ocean creatures help one another.

  MORE ON THE CLOWN FISH  Every clown fish begins life as a male. Then, if it becomes largest fish in its group, it becomes a female! She is mated by the next largest fish. If that fish is removed, the next largest becomes the dominant male in the group.  

AMAZON LEAF FISH This fish floats down the Amazon River and looks like a dead leaf floating along. When ft sees the food it is looking for, the leaf fish quickly swims after it. Then it begins floating again.

SAND SHARK The Sand Shark has a totally unique way of raising its young. The female will have a hundred or so eggs stored in the oviduct. The first two that hatch will slowly eat all the other eggs inside the female! Then those two will emerge about a year later, being born alive. At birth, they are fully developed, although still quite small.

RAYS Some rays are oviparous and lay eggs which later hatch by themselves. But there are other rays which are viviparous and become embryos and grow inside the mother's placenta. About 20 will be born in this way at a time. Some mother rays even produce mother's milk for them (even though they are not mammals), in addition to providing them with egg yolk desserts.

ANGEL FISH The angel fish (the type you See in aquariums) makes a little concave depression in the sand and there lays its eggs. Both mother and father help watch over the eggs. When they hatch, the parents remain close, and when the little ones wander out of the nest, one of the parents will draw near, suck it into its mouth, then spit it back into the nest!

DISCUS FISH The discus fish of the Amazon basin, is a majestic circular fish which looks like a vertical pancake. When its babies emerge from eggs, they come to the parents, both of which extrude a type of milk through the sides of their bodies which the young eat.

SHARK AND PILOT FISH The Shark is the terror of the oceans, at least as far as fish are concerned. There are few creatures able to resist him. A pilot fish is a small brightly-colored fish which accompanies the shark and most often precedes him, as though smelling out the way. The shark obediently follows the movements of his little scout. He never attacks or hurts the pilot fish. So close is this association that the pilot fish will jump into the air after a captured shark when it is being pulled out of the water.

  JOURNEY OF THE EELS Some crabs migrate up to 150 miles [241 km] on the ocean floor. Salmon leave the streams where they were born and years later return to ft same streams to lay their eggs. But consider the eels: Eels from rivers in Europe and eels from rivers in North America leave their rivers and travel out to the Atlantic Ocean. Then they swim south and in the Sargasso Sea lay their eggs and die. The Sargasso Sea lies in the Atlantic near the equator, and is relatively free of strong ocean currents. It is ideal for the eggs to hatch and an abundance of floating vegetation is there to shield baby creatures the are growing to maturity.

Now comes the amazing part: When Those eels mature, they head north. No one ever taught them what to do; they automatically have thousand of miles of geography in their tiny minds!

Going west, they get into the Gulf Current that passes near North America, and it carries them up adjacent to the northeastern U.S. At this point, half of tire eels leave the others, and head up American rivers and some into the Great Lakes. These are the eels hatched from parents which came from those same lakes and rivers that spring!

The other half of the eels continue swimming with the Gulf Current- and it takes them to Europe, where they go up European rivers into the same streams their parents came from!

None of these eels had ever been there before. Their parents had died down south about the time they were born. This was their first trip up the Guff Current and into those U.S. or European rivers and streams. How could they do know ?


MEDITERRANEAN GOAT FISH This fish has two barbell-little feelers-under its chin. There are millions of receptor nerve cells in each one. The barbels help the fish feel and smell. Swimming in shallow waters, and on sandy reefs, it drags the barbell on the bottom. In this way it can smell and feel tiny sea worms which it then eats.

But other tiny worms try to kill the goat fish! They attach to its skin and begin burrowing in. Now the goat fish is in trouble and needs help right away. So it swims rapidly over to the nearest cleaning station--and this normally gold-brown fish then turns bright reds

The angel fish at the cleaning station recognize this signal, and they swim over to it and immediately set to work digging out the worm attached to its skin. Then they eat the worm, which is their pay for doing the goat fish that service.

The goat fish is able to rapidly change color from a golden brown, to orange, gold, and then bright yellow, as well as to red. For this reason, the ancient Romans would catch and put them in ponds or jars so they could watch them.

EAR STONES In a cavity on each side of a fish's skull are two chambers, each containing a small stone. These are the ear stones, or otoliths, used by the fish to help them hear sound. But how these strange "ears" work, no one knows. This method of hearing sound is quite different than the one found in land dwelling creatures. How did those stones get inside their ears?

ICE FISH The ice fish has antifreeze in its blood. This fish lives among the ice floes near the continent of Antarctica. R does fine in water which would chili other fish to death. The water it swims around in normally remains at a temperature of 2C (35.8F], which Is only slightly above the freezing temperature of water.

No hemoglobin Is to be found in the blood of the ice fish; instead there is a chemical compound which acts as an equivalent to the antifreeze in your car's radiator in the winter.

GLOBE FISH This fish will every so often suck in air from its gills and blow itself up like a balloon until it is almost round. This action frightens away enemies, and at the same time it causes the little ash to rapidly rile to the surface, where it bounces along on the surface, propelled by the wind. That is one way to get away from your enemies!

BUBBLE NEST BUILDERS The Osphronemidae family of fish can breath through their gills, but they can also obtain oxygen directly from the air. Gulping in air from the water's surface, the male blows bubbles, coating each one with a sticky secretion from his mouth. Blowing them up into a pile, he gradually makes a nest of bubbles. Soon the little raft or floating nest is ready. The female comes and lays eggs, which he catches as they fall and blows into the nest. Two or three days later they hatch while he continues to guard them. 

Fish in this family include the paradise ash and the Siamese fighting fish.  

SOUND FISH The trumpet fish toots like a horn; the booming whale lines a variety of songs which can be heard for miles; the taps of the drum fish can be heard 80 feet (18 m] away; the croaking gourami occasionally makes a purring noise; the singing catfish emits deep and penetrating sounds.

ANGLER FISH Among fish that live deep in the ocean (1,500 feet or deeper), are a variety of "angler fish." These are fish with fishing rods sticking out of the upper front of their heads. A "light bulb" is on the end of some of these rods, while others have no lighting but only a round knob as an end-lure. Molt are broad, soft-bodied, and have a very large mouth.

Some varieties of angler fish live in shallow water near the shore. The shallow angler is a small tropical fish which displays what appears to be a wiggling worm at the end of the pole. Other types of anglerfish display different forms of "bait," such as apparent shrimp or small fish.

The angler fish displaying a  'shrimp' will move it backward in quick, darting movements --just as a real shrimp would do. One with a "fish" will impart a rippling motion to it, as though it were moving through the water on its own.

Occasionally the lure works too well and is nipped off by a fish before the angler fish can swallow him! In such instances, a new lure grows back within 2 weeks.

In recent years a deep-sea angler fish was discovered with the lure hanging from the roof of its mouth! The lure is a light bulb. The fish swims about with its mouth open and small fish enter to examine the light.

ARCHER FISH This is an attractive fish with most of its body pointed in the shape of a triangle. Many research studies have been made on this fish because it can fairly easily be kept in an aquarium.

Slowly the archer fish will come up to the surface of the water, and then poke the tip of his pointed mouth out of the war. Suddenly a spurt of water shoots out of his mouth and hits a fly resting on a nearby leaf or branch. It falls into the water, and the archer fish swallows it.

It is an astonishing performance. Some complicated equipment was needed in order to do it:

The archer fish has a special mouth which has a groove along its root. When the tongue is pressed up against the back of its mouth, the groove becomes a pea shooter extending from the back of the mouth straight forward.

The gills operate as a pump, while the tip of the tongue is a valve, swiftly opening and shutting, measuring out water bullets rapidly one by one. The pea shooter is not seen, since it does not extend beyond the mouth. The tip of the mouth breaks the surface, and only its puckery lips are observed. Everything else is underwater, including the eyes. Almost motionless, the fish moves into final position, and then the gills clap and the water drops shoot out.

Wait a minute! Any physicist will recognize that there is something wrong here! How can the little fish hit anything if its eyes are under the surface of the water? To understand this better, take a pencil in your hand and as you watch, push it diagonally beneath the surface of several inches of water. You will see the pencil apparently "bend" as it enters the water. Place a marble on the bottom of a tub of water, and then reach down for it. You will probably miss it at first. The problem here is that sight is passing through two different mediums: air and water, and the defraction from each is different. The archer fish has the same problem. How can he shoot with accuracy when his eyes are underwater? No one knows, but he does it anyway.

The archer fish never misses a little insect within a range of 4 feet [122 cm], and can score hits up to a distance of as much as 12 feet [366 cm]!

We would ask the evolutionists: For how many thousands of years did .archer fish waste their time spitting, trying to perfect their equipment and techniques, while the other fish were having good meals? How could this contribute to their "survival" as the "fittest"? They should have become extinct within a generation a two.

PADDLE FISH This one could have been called the "scooper fish." The paddle fish has a long, flat bony nose which is 1 /3 of its total length. Using its snout as a shovel, ft goes along scooping up mud and gravel in search of food.

SQUID The squid can distinguish polarized light, which we cannot see. in addition, ft has a finer detail structure on Its retinas. This would indicate that ft can almost certainly see far better than we can. How can the squid see better than we can, when, according to the theory of evolutionists, ft is supposed to be one of the earliest creatures to have evolved?

CLIMBING PERCH The climbing perch of Burma often leaves the water, travels inland, and climbs trees!

On each side of its head there is a built-in storage tank. Before leaving the water, the little perch fills these two tanks with water. They are used to keep its gills wet. This water is aerated as it travels overland, so it can stay out of water for a time. But if ft does not find another pool to jump into, then it will limb trees in search of pools of water in the crotches of tree trunks. It needs to replenish ft water in its two storage tanks!

How did this creature ever think up all this, and then make the proper equipment to walk around and climb trees? Why does it even attempt to leave the safety of the water for the dangers of overland travel?

As ft climbs a tree, it will cling to the bark with its gill covers and will use its spiney fins to help ft climb.

Any normal fish that tried to do this would die quickly, so there is no way one could "evolve" into a land-walking, tree-climbing perch!

  CLEANER FISH There are several species Of cleaner fish, as well as a number of species of tiny, beautifully decorated cleaner shrimp which remove the parasites from other fish. In fact, several dozen cleaner relationships have been observed in tropical waters.

A wide variety of parasites get on the fish and eat into their sides and fins. They even get into their mouths. So they go to the "cleaner stations" for help.

Arriving there, the distressed fish give certain signals indicating that they want help. If they do not give these signals, the cleaner fish or shrimp may not venture forth, since normally bigger fish travel around looking for smaller ones to eat.

These signals include color change, an attitude of rest with gills and fins flared, or standing upright -vertically in the water with head up and fins flapping.

Then the cleaner fish or shrimp goes up to these large fish and begins cleaning along their bodies, and will even enter their mouth. Each parasite they find is eaten as their reward for the help given. Meanwhile, other fish in need of cleaning will actually line up awaiting their turn.

One researcher removed all the cleaner shrimp from two coral heads. Within two weeks he found that there were fewer fish at these coral heads than elsewhere, and those still present showed frayed fins and ulcerated sores.

Scientists are at a loss to figure out how such a symbiotic process could have begun.

SALMON The tiny salmon is born in a stream somewhere in the Northwest or along the coast running up into Alaska. Its tummy still has part of the yolk sac, and this will provide it with food until it can eat regular food. It hides under pebbles and slowly grows.

Then the small salmon leaves the shallow brook where it was born and swims down into the larger rivers. But that little brook is imprinted on its brain. Its parents were born there; its grandparents, and ancestors all began their lives in that quiet place.

Some scientists think that part of the solution is that each brook has its own odor, and the salmon traces its way back by means of a faint smell emitted by the brook. But even such an answer only adds to the mystery, for the flow of water from a thousand streams should provide only a confusion of intermingled odors, farther down the river systems.

From the shallow stream, the salmon travels till ft reaches a lake and there ft grows big and strong.  

When it is 8 inches [20.3 cm], it knows to leave the lake and swim down one river into another and finally to the Pacific Ocean.

Arriving there, it pauses and gets used to a total change: from fresh water to salt water! For a time it swims around in the brackish (half sea and half fresh water) of the bay, and then out it goes into the broad Pacific.

Far and wide it travels in every direction. Time passes. Surely it will never remember how to locate that entrance bay again, much less the tiny stream it was born in. Schools of sockeye salmon are known to travel 9,000 miles [145 m] while in the Pacific Ocean. Always swimming, always searching for food, on and on they go.

While still 9-10 inches [22.8-25.4 cm] in length, our salmon feeds on plankton, which are tiny sea life. As it grows larger, it begins to eat shrimp. Doing so turns its flesh pinkish, although its skin will remain silvery in color.

How long it is in the Pacific varies with different types of salmon. Pacific sockeye remain 4 years before reentering the freshwater rivers.

Our salmon is now quite large. It is 6-7 pounds [2.72-3.18 kg] and 20 inches [50.8 cm] long. Far out in the ocean, the urge comes, and it turns and heads homeward. Of the hundreds of outlets into the Pacific, it heads to exactly the right one. Then it pauses in the brackish water for a few days to adjust to fresh water again. (Which itself is amazing; most fish never can make such an adjustment.)

Scientists think that the salmon locates that entrance river by the sun. It is thought that they can tell direction by the sun even on a cloudy day. Entering the fresh water river, our salmon smells the odor of one tiny creek, its home. Even though thousands of creeks lead into the rivers, and hundreds of rivers lead into still larger ones, our salmon is thought to be able to identity the right one by a tiny chemical odor in the water that registers in its brain -after four years away from that creek. Millions of odors, but the salmon recognizes the correct one. There are special smell detectors in its nostrils, and scientists tell us that the salmon can identify one odor out of a billion other odors! One part in a billion! And it has not smelled that odor since it was a tiny infant!

Up the rivers it goes; from one into another, and then into lakes with many rivers feeding into them. The young salmon selects the right one and goes on. Past the dams erected by modern man it goes, hurling itself time after time up rapids, white water, over boulders, small waterfalls, and manmade "fish-ladders." On and on it swims.

During the entire trip upstream our salmon eats nothing. It lives on body tissue and fat. As a result of not eating, its skin changes from silver to an orangish red. The carotene from the shrimp it earlier ate is now tinting the thinner skin.

Nothing but bears, eagles, and people stop it. On it goes over every barrier. With a good swimming start, ft can clear 10-foot [30 dm] waterfalls, even though ft might take 8 or 9 tries to do it.

Up rivers, lakes, into more, and finally Re-enters its own little stream, the stream where it was born. It has arrived at ft same little creek, the same pebbles and gravel.

Now the large fish is tired. The females lay eggs and the males fertilize thin with milt. The 10,000 mile [1,6093 km] journey that began 4 years earlier is complete. Exhausted, our salmon floats downstream and dies. It lived a full life and accomplished its task.

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Chapter 24: The Creator's Handiwork: THE FISH

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