Evolution of Food

Summary: According to paleontologists, the first land animals were herbivores, or plant eaters, whose diet primarily consisted of eating grass and/or leaves. However, these sources of foods contain very little in the way of nutrition. Later, as fruits and vegetables began to grow in the wild, herbivores were able to obtain more nutrients from eating these kinds of foods. Since grass and leaves are not really designed as sources of food, why do some plants produce fruits or vegetable that are specifically meant to be eaten? The following arfticle examines this question.

It is taught that all life on earth began around 3.5 billion years ago when a single one-cell organism came into existence in the ocean and was able to extract the nutrients it needed to survive from the organic material found naturally in the water. Millions of years later these single-cell organisms began to cluster together thereby making multi-cell animals, which later developed into a wide variety of fish, all of which were able to sustain themselves from what nutrients were found in the ocean.

Then (as the theory goes) one day a fish crawled out of the water onto the land and over millions of years they were able to survive out of water by developing lungs that could extract oxygen from the air. According to Darwin’s theory, the vast number of different kinds of animals came about as each species was able to better survive than its predecessors. Chief among these reasons was their ability to get food.

Charles Darwin came to this conclusion after observing the finch birds on the Galapagos islands. He noticed that there were a number of different kinds of finches, each with a unique beak that was perfectly adapted to eating the particular kind of food that was available in the area in which they lived. Darwin called the process by which new species come into existence “Natural Selection,” meaning that nature naturally selects which species survive and which ones become extinct, based on how well they can adapt to their environment. This process is also known as the survival of the fittest, and what most often determines an animal’s ability to survive is its ability to find food. But where did the food come from?

When fish lived in the sea, they got their life sustaining nutrients from the organic compounds found in the water, but once animals started living on land, they needed more than air in order to survive. They had to find food that would provide them with the nutrients necessary to sustain life, but where did that food come from?

According to paleontologists, the first land animals were herbivores, or plant eaters, whose diet primarily consisted of eating grass and/or leaves. However, these sources of foods contain very little in the way of nutrition, therefore herbivores needed to eat almost continually in order to survive. Later, as fruit and vegetables began to grow in the wild, herbivores were able to obtain more nutrients from eating these kinds of foods. What we see then is that plant life holds the key to the survival and development of all land animals.

If natural selection is the process by which most animals are able to evolve into different kinds of species, based primarily on their ability to obtain food, then what is the reason that causes plant life to evolve into different kinds of species? Since all plants get their food from the same source – the ground – then their reason for evolving can’t be because they are able to get their nutrients better than another plant. But, laying that question aside, a more intriguing question is, since grass and leaves are not really designed as sources of food, why do some plants produce fruits or vegetable that are specifically meant to be eaten?

To better appreciate the complexity of answering this question, we must take a closer look at how fruits and vegetables are made in nature.

All edible food comes from a fruit-bearing flower and all flowers are actually sex organs. They have something called the stamen, which produces pollen, and they have a center part called the pistil. On the very tip of the pistil is a sticky base called the stigma, and in the center of the pistil is a thin, hollow shaft called the pollen tube, that goes from the stigma down to the base where the ovule is located.

The reason why flowers are sex organs is because we can think of pollen as sperm and the pistil as a vagina, with the pollen tube acting like a fallopian tube, and the ovule being an ovary. When pollen gets on the stigma, it is able to make its way into the pollen tube where it travels down to the ovule. When it comes in contact with an egg, fertilization occurs which then begins the process of growth that eventually becomes some sort of fruit or vegetable.

The definition of a “fruit” is the edible part of a plant that contains seeds. When an animal (including birds) eats a fruit, in most cases, everything gets digested except the seeds, which are expelled from the body and deposited on the ground where, under the right conditions, it will germinate and grow into another but similar fruit plant or tree.

But how does the pollen get to the pistil so that it can eventually fertilize the egg inside the ovule? The way this happens is by a process called cross-pollinating. As insects, come to get nectar from the flowers, they can’t help but rub against the stamen which knocks off pollen that then clings to their body. As the insect goes from flower to flower, some of the pollen on their body inadvertently falls off and has the potential of landing on the sticky stigma where it has the opportunity of entering the pollen tube and making its way to the ovule.

As most people know, bees, are essential to this process, and there are several reasons why. One is that nearly all insects have smooth, hairless bodies, which doesn’t allow pollen to cling to their skin very easily. Another reason is that not all insects pollinate flowers. Those that do include beetles, mosquitos, flies, moths, butterflies, wasps, midges, ladybugs, and ants (to a limited degree). However, very few of these particular insect help pollinate fruit-bearing flowers. Most of them only pollinate wildflowers such as magnolias, azaleas, roses, marigolds, daisies and other similar kinds of non-edible producing plants.

Certain kinds of flies do pollinate some fruit-bearing flowers, but generally only when there are no bees naturally found in that area. Male mosquitos drink the nectar from flowers but their ability to pollinate is not very efficient and therefore don’t play a significant part in pollinating fruit flowers. Ladybugs are also very poor pollinators and the only fruit-bearing flowers they visit are those that produce peas, beans, tomatoes, and honeydew. Out of the 30,000 species of wasps, only fig wasps pollinate a fruit flower, and then it is only the flowers of the fig tree.

On the other hand, bees are the only flying insects that have a hairy body and it’s because of their hair that they are able to collect large amounts of pollen and distribute it to other flowers, as well as to carry it back to their hive for food. More than this, the shape of their body, which is narrow and low to the ground, allows them to collect more pollen over a wider area of their body.

Science tells us that the reason why flowers have brightly colored petals is for the specific purpose of attracting bees and, of course, when the bees get to the flower, they find the sweet nectar they need for their hive to survive. Fruit is also sweet which entices animals to eat it, which is one of the ways that the seeds are able to be deposited on the ground far from where it would naturally fall.

This is the story we hear from biologists and evolutionists concerning where fruit comes from, but there is an important part of this story that is glossed over and left out. To understand what that is, we first have to understand how organisms operate.

Inside the center of every living cell is something called DNA, which is the instruction manual that tells the cell how to function, grow, and reproduce. We can think of DNA as the brain of a cell. Just like the human body cannot function without the brain, so also the cell cannot function without DNA.

In biology we learn that just before a cell divides, it first makes a duplicate copy of its DNA so when the cell splits in two, each cell will once again have a complete set of DNA. Biology also tells us that every so often there is an error made in the copying of the DNA which produces a change in some part of the cell’s instruction code. Most of the time these changes have a negative effect, but every so often they produce a positive change, and evolutionists say that it is these positive changes, occurring over millions of years, that is the primary reason why we see so many different kinds of plants and animals.

With this understanding, let’s go back to how flowers produce fruit.

Flowers have nectar that bees need to survive, but how does the flower know that bees need and are looking for nectar? For that matter, how do flowers know that bees can’t get nectar from any other source? The petals of a flower are brightly colored in order to attract bees, but how does the flower know what color attracts bees, and then be able to produce the right kinds of colors? Since everything about a plant is controlled by the instructions contained in its DNA, then each specific aspect of the plant, including its size, color, location of its various parts, and other features, has to first be written within the plant’s DNA.

Because pollen gets trapped in the hair of a Bee’s body it is able to carry the pollen to the stigma of another flower, but how does the DNA in the bee know to make a hairy body that will be needed in order for them to pollenate flowers? And how does the DNA in the flower know to make the stamen next to the pistil so that its pollen will stick to the body of the bee to help make the process of cross-pollinating happen more easily, unless it knows that a hairy insect will come to get the nectar and be able to transfer it to the stigma of another flower?

Then, once the flower has been fertilized, how does it know to make a sweet fruit that animals will want to eat? More importantly, how does the flower know that the seeds in its fruit won’t be digested by the animal who eats it, and that the animal will deposit the seeds on the ground where they can germinate and grow?

Biology is able to describe the process of how fruit is produced, but that doesn’t explain why nature made it. To say that random, inadvertent errors in the copying of DNA over millions of years is what just accidently happened to bring about the perfect location for the stamen and pistil, the creation of nectar in the flower, the right kinds of colors in its pedals to attract bees, the hairy body of bees and their need for nectar, and the desire of animals to eat sweet fruit, which just happens to provide greater nutrients for the animal, is to believe that if someone keeps dropping a box of printer’s type on the floor millions of times that eventually they will all fall together in such a way as to form the instruction manual for how to build a Boeing 747 airplane. Yet, that is the kind of logic evolutionists want us to believe in order to explain how all living species of both plants and animals came into existence from the instructions found within their DNA.

Evolutionists use the term “adaptation” to explain how plants and animals change over time. By this they mean that living organisms learn to modify themselves in order to fit their environment. For example, camels have learned to adapt to living in areas where there is little water, while penguins have learned how to adapt to living in extremely cold temperatures.

But exactly how do they adapt? In other words, what is the process that causes a camel to know it needs to develop a huge water storage system in its body, or a penguin knows it has to develop a very thick layer of fat to insulate itself against the cold? These are very specific and unique changes that have to be made in a very short period of time. If an animal has to wait millions of years for these changes to take place due to accidental and random changes in its DNA they will never survive until then.

Another example of adaptation that evolutionists point to concerns caterpillars, which later become butterflies. Botanists have discovered that caterpillars and butterflies eat the leaves of the milkweed plant, which most birds and other predators strongly dislike the taste of. Therefore, for this reason most birds don’t like to eat caterpillars or butterflies. However, there is one type of butterfly (the Viceroy) that doesn’t feed on milkweed and is therefore at risk of being eaten by larger birds. However, according to scientists, “they mimic the color and patterns of the distasteful milkweed butterflies to utilize this strategy for survival.”

According to evolutionists, this is a classic example of adaptation, but how does the Viceroy butterfly know it’s at risk of being eaten, how does it know that butterflies that feed off of milkweed won’t be eaten by predators, how does it know that the birds of prey identify milkweed eating butterflies by the color and pattern on their wings, and then how does the Viceroy butterfly go about producing the same color and pattern in their wings in order to fool other birds into thinking it eats milkweed?

In order to adapt to something, a living organism must be able to recognize there is a problem, then it must figure out a solution that will fix the problem, and finally it must have the means to implement that solution. But it takes intelligence to carry out this process. If all changes made in an organism are controlled by its DNA, then there has to be some sort of intelligence at work that rewrites the instructions found on that plant or animal’s DNA in order for it to quickly adapt to its environment.

We are also told by science that the earth is an ecosystem, where everything works together for the good of the whole. If one part of the system gets out of balance, it causes many other parts to also get out of balance. As we have just seen with the production of fruit, there are many things that have to work together in order for each part to survive. Flowers not only need bees to aid in their reproduction but bees need the flower’s nectar in order to feed themselves and their offspring, while animals need the flower’s fruit for food, and the flower needs the animal to help distribute its seeds.

If flowers don’t produce nectar, then bees can’t exist and if there are no bees then fruit-bearing flowers can’t reproduce. And if there is no fruit, then animals, such as humans, can’t get many of the nutrients they need to grow strong and heathy. And if animals don’t eat fruit then the fruit seeds are unable to be more widely distributed, which limits how many plants can be reproduced. Ecologists call this kind of relationship synergism or symbiotic. It is also called mutualism, where living organisms depend on each other for their mutual survival.

Non-flowering plants, such as moss, grass, and ferns are able to reproduce through the use of spores, which doesn’t require t pollinating, and regular flowers can reproduce through the process of pollination with the aid of a number of different kinds of insects, but most fruit-bearing plants can’t reproduce without the aid of bees pollinating their flowers.

Although most plants can be used for food, they are not very nutritional, nor are they easily digestible, mainly because they were not created by nature to be used as food. On the other hand, the very reason for the existence of fruit producing plants is to provide animals with easily digestible and nutrient packed source of food. Evolutionists tell us that the earliest humans were hunter/gathers, which means they hunted animals and gathered naturally occurring edible fruit. However, without the existence of fruit it is highly unlikely that humans and many other kinds of animals could exist, or at least thrive.

The closer we look at the many different things that have to all come together perfectly in order for life to exist on the earth, the harder it becomes to say that this wonderfully balanced ecosystem came about by accidental chance. And if that’s what we believe, then we would have to say there is no intelligent design to nature, which is exactly what nearly all evolutionists claim. But that would be like looking at the Hubble space telescope orbiting the earth, or the Mars land rover moving about on the surface of Mars, and wanting us to believe that there is no intelligent design in the making and operation of either of these two mechanical objects. Yet, that is what we would have to believe if we were to say that there is no intelligent design to nature and to the evolution of food.

Related articles can be found at Parting Thoughts

For a video version of this article see part 1 and part 2