God’s Design: Echolocation – How Dolphins and Bats Navigate

Bats love to come out at night, and you can many times barely see them doing aerobatics in the dark, flying one way, and then changing direction suddenly.

We’ve all learned how bats can fly through the dark, avoiding obstacles and catching prey with high pitched sound. It’s amazing to realize this can work so effectively, but it’s true! These creatures thrive hunting at night and roosting in caves.

The way it works is the bat closes its ears while it makes it’s ultrasonic call and then instantly opens its ears to listen for the echo—all within milliseconds. Anything—even a small bug—that is close bounces a bit of the sound back, allowing the bat to follow the shape of its environment and catch its flying supper.

They can both tell which way a bug is flying and pinpoint an object’s location to the width of a human hair.

They are a marvel of amazing design!

There is another set of creatures that use this same system, but not to help them fly—the toothed whales, like orcas and dolphins. In a remarkably similar way they produce and listen to sounds that allow them to find fish and avoid obstacles even in murky water or darkness. Since they don’t use their mouths to breathe, a dolphin’s blowhole system makes the sounds they listen for, producing the “clicks” and “whistles” that we all love to hear.

Specialized versions of these sounds focused through the skull allow them to hear a fish in front of them and by slightly swinging their heads they get a sense of the fish’s size and direction.

The end result is an image similar in detail to the ultrasound pictures that new parents see of a baby growing in the womb. For those of us who believe the Bible, and accept that the same Designer is responsible for this complex ability in both creatures, the only thing left to do is worship Him for His genius and seek to better understand how these echolocators work.

But for the evolutionist, the puzzle is just beginning.

No one believes bats and dolphins share a common ancestor who could use echolocation. So, how could such VASTLY different creatures develop nearly identical systems and brain functions?

First they have to explain away how complex this system is and reduce it to a simple set of DNA mutations on the basic hearing system all mammals share. Then they have to claim this is so easily done it happened independently and just happened to affect 2 types of creatures who could actually use this ability.

It sounds an awful lot like wishful thinking to me.

I’m David Rives…Truly the heavens declare the glory of God