There the Coot Goes, on Weird Lobed Toes!

THERE THE COOT GOES,  ON WEIRD LOBED TOES!

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

AmericanCoot-LobedFeet.Audubon-2018photo-award-KevinMalo

AMERICAN COOT lobed toes (Audubon 2018 photo award: Kevin Malo)

And yet again there was war at Gath, where was a man of great stature, whose fingers and toes were four and twenty, six on each hand, and six on each foot and he also was the son of the giant.   (1st Chronicles 20:6)

Weird toes are not limited to birds.  In the Philistine territory of Gath there once was a giant both of whose feet had 6 toes thereon (as well as 6 fingers on both of his hands).  But, in the case of the American Coot, the “weird toes” are not a genetic birth defect  —  in fact, the American Coot’s toes are designed to be weird, yet wonderful at the same time.

The AMERICAN COOT (Fulica americana) has been featured on the blog more than once.  [ See, e.g., “Crazy as a Coot!”  at   https://leesbird.com/2018/08/08/crazy-as-a-coot/  —   see also, e.g., “‘C’ is for Coot and Corvids:  ‘C’ Birds, Part 2”  at  https://leesbird.com/2016/05/20/c-is-for-coot-and-corvids-c-birds-part-2/ .]

In particular, Coot feet (which are truly amazing!) have previously been highlighted on this blog.  [See, e.g., Lee Dusing’s post for October 17th of AD2016, captioned “Feet”, citing Psalm 40.:2.]

And more recently, a creation science article elaborates on just how special those feet are.  Specifically, Dr. Glen W. Wolfrom has authored a succinct study titled “Amazing ‘Feats'”, in the column All by Design, CREATION MATTERS, 23(6):12 (November-December 2018), parts of which are quoted hereinbelow.

AmericanCoot-lobedFeet.WikiC

AMERICAN COOT lobe-toed feet (WikiC image credit)

“The American Coot  [referring to Fulica americana]  has feet that are so odd-looking that Shweta Karikehalli  , the author of an online Audubon article [Karikehalli’s “Better Know a Bird:  The American Coot and its Wonderfully Weird Feet”, AUDUBON, August 13, 2018, posted at   https://www.audubon.org/news/better-know-bird-american-coot-and-its-wonderfully-weird-feet ], described the bird’s appearance as ‘wacky’.  Each of its oversized toes has two or three greenish-to-yellowish ‘fleshy lobes’ that are connected to its long legs.  When in water, these [toe] lobes function much like the webbing on ducks’ feet.  But on land, walking is assisted by the lobes’ folding out of the way.  According to Karikehalli, the coot’s uniquely-designed foot thus makes the bird more adept than most other waterfowl at getting around on both land and water.  A few other water birds (some grebes and phalaropes) also have lobed toes, but none have lobes that are as large as those of the coot.

The coot also uses it lobed feet for other purposes.  They assist the bird in becoming airborne — which requires the bird to run across the water’s surface [for surface-to-air ‘takeoff’].”

[Quoting Glen W. Wolfrom, “Amazing ‘Feats'”, CREATION MATTERS, 23(6):12 (November-December 2018).]

AmericanCoot-water-takeoff.AudubonFieldGuide

AMERICAN COOT take-off from water surface (Audubon Field Guide)

So, what can we learn from this clever bioengineering design (of the coot’s lobed toes), and its habitat-friendly performance in the wild?

Dr. Wolfrom provides a clear answer — these coots exhibit God’s super-intelligent design, being fitted for His providential purposes:

“Here is an example of a unique design for birds’ feet that, unlike those of ducks, render coots capable of efficient transportation, whether on land or water.  Unless the lobes appeared suddenly [i.e., invented as an all-or-nothing packaged physiological system], fully formed and retractable, their [imagined] evolution in stages would have offered no [survival] advantage.  We maintain that the ‘sudden appearance’ occurred at creation [i.e., on Day #5 of Creation Week — see Genesis 1:20-22].”

[Quoting Glen W. Wolfrom, “Amazing ‘Feats'”, CREATION MATTERS, 23(6):12 (November-December 2018).]

God’s innovative body plan for the American Coot, with all of  its providentially purposeful details, is irrefutably magnificent.

In a word, quite a feat!  ><> JJSJ                                            profjjsj@aol.com

AmericanCoot-ID-notes-pic.Birdzilla

AMERICAN COOT with field ID notes (Birdzilla)


 

5 thoughts on “There the Coot Goes, on Weird Lobed Toes!

  1. Thanks James remarkable observations. We have the similar Eurasian Coot in great numbers here, introduced of course, and they have a similar foot structure. They are always a sight to see running on water. Happy and blessed Christmas to you and thanks for your most interesting posts throughout the year.

    Liked by 1 person

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