January 27th, 2011

Antarctic Fish with Antifreeze!

 

Think of how many times we have said, “It sure is cold this winter.  Global warming nothing — it isn’t happening here!”  Sometimes it would seem our blood is ready to freeze in our veins.  So we crank up the heat in the house and head for the auto store to get extra antifreeze for the car.  We throw extra blankets on the bed and snuggle in with a good issue of Think & Believe for comfort! Bears hibernate in their dens and other animals put on thicker fur coats, but what do the fish do to cope with the frigid Antarctic water?  We might think they are cold-blooded and since the water isn’t going to freeze, they won’t.  However, they are in saltwater that is actually colder than normal freezing temperature.  So how do they survive without the water in their blood freezing?

             

National Geographic (June, 1995) had a short article by Boris Weintraub about antifreeze in Antarctic fish.  He stated:

The fish that thrive off the Antarctic coast in frigid 28◦F water survive the same way a car does in a North Dakota winter; with antifreeze.  But a little fish antifreeze could keep your motor purring for a long time.  It’s 300 times as effective per molecule as the ethylene glycol in a car radiator.

…there are almost a hundred species of fish called notothenioids, ranging from six-inch zooplankton feeders to six-foot toothfish. They swim at all depths, from the 3,200 – foot-deep bottom to the surface.  Notothenioids produce their antifreeze, a glycoprotein, in the liver.  They secrete it into the bloodstream, where it fills spaces around cells…Although seawater with ice crystals gets into the fish’s blood, the antifreeze stops the ice from growing, and eventually it is filtered out.             

This is better antifreeze than we use in our most cherished autos.  It sounds like an ingeniously designed system reflecting the creative talent of our God.  To an evolutionist, millions of years of gradual changes operating with natural selection produced the perfect blend of antifreeze.  Which appears more logical?

 

By Dave Nutting

 

Originally published in the January/February 1997 issue of Think and Believe

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