The Amazing Structure of Birds’ Feathers

The Amazing Structure of Birds’ Feathers

By Truth Seeker Staff

feathersThe most important difference that distinguishes birds from other creatures is surely their ability to fly. Birds can fly thanks to their feathers, which in fact have a very special structure.

A bird’s feather is a light structure that has lift force and can easily regain its original shape. If we examine a bird’s feather under a microscope, we see a marvelous design. In the middle part of the feather is a hard central shaft having a vane of paired branches called barbs on either side. These barbs, whose lengths and softness vary, enable the bird to fly in the air.

As we examine in further detail, we encounter even more interesting structures. From each barb minute hairs called “barbules” project. Barbules cannot be seen with the naked eye. On these barbules are little hooks. The barbules are interlocked by these hooks like a zipper.

The hooks are clamped together like the two rows of a zipper. The barbules held together by hooks are so close to each other that even smoke cannot escape through them. If these hooks are somehow unlocked, it is enough for the bird to shake itself or to put its feathers in order with its beak, to make the feathers return to their previous state.

In order to survive, birds should always keep their feathers clean, neat and ready for use. For the care of their feathers, they use the oil sacs that are at the bottom of their tails. They take some oil with their beak, and then clean and polish their feathers. In swimming birds, this oil prevents water from reaching their skin when they are in the water or in the rain.

In addition, birds can prevent loss of body heat by ruffling their feathers in cold weather. In hot weather, on the other hand, they keep their body cool by smoothing their feathers.

Each group of feathers in a particular part of the body has particular functions. For example, the down feathers and the feathers that lie along the wings and tail have different structures. Large tail feathers are used for steering as well as for braking. As the wing feathers are spread wide while flying, the surface area is expanded and lift force increased. When the bird flaps its wing downwards, these feathers come closer and prevent air passing through. As the wings move up, the feathers open wide and permit air to pass through them. In order to maintain their ability to fly, birds molt their feathers at certain times of the year. Large torn or worn out feathers that do not function properly anymore are renewed quickly.

This detailed structure exists in the feathers of every bird. All of them have the features that enable birds to fly. One who reflects on what is explained here and uses his intellect will notice the design in birds and will understand that this design is Allah’s creation. Even thinking about this attribute of birds alone is enough to understand how mighty Allah is.

It is related in the Qur’an that believers reflect on the creation of Allah:

“The kingdom of the heavens and earth belongs to Allah. Allah has power over all things. In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are Signs for people with intelligence: those who remember Allah, standing, sitting and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth (and say): ‘Our Lord, You have not created this for nothing. Glory be to You! So safeguard us from the punishment of the Fire.” (Aal `Imran: 189-191)

A Note by the Editor:

Allah the Almighty says in the Ever-Glorious Qur’an what means,

“Say: ‘Who is the Lord of the heavens and the earth?’ Say: ‘Allah.’ Say: ‘So why have you taken protectors apart from Him who possess no power to help or harm themselves?’ Say: ‘Are the blind and seeing equal? Or are darkness and light the same? Or have they assigned partners to Allah Who create as He creates so that all creating seems the same to them?’ Say: ‘Allah is the Creator of everything. He is the One, the All-Conquering.’” (Al-Ra`d: 16)

And,

“He [Allah] hath created the heavens without supports that ye can see and hath cast into the earth firm hills, so that it quake not with you; and He hath dispersed therein all kinds of beasts. And We send down water from the sky and We cause (plants) of every goodly kind to grow therein. This is the Creation of Allah. Now show me that which those (ye worship) beside Him have created. Nay, but the wrongdoers are in error manifest!” (Luqman 31: 10-11)

And,

“We shall show them Our portents on the horizons and within themselves until it will be manifest unto them that it is the Truth. Doth not thy Lord suffice since He is Witness over all things? How! Are they still in doubt about the meeting with their Lord? Lo! Is not He surrounding all things?” (Fussilat 41: 53-54)

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from Wonderful Creations by H. Y.

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What Darwin Never Knew


I watched a show from Nova on PBS called “What Darwin Never Knew.“ It went into the life of Darwin and what he did not know even though he came up with this “amazing theory of evolution.”

While I enjoyed the videography of the film, the script was, if I can use my British partner’s term, “total rubbish.” Pushing evolution every chance they had, it just made me angry how many people are getting indoctrinated with the ideas of evolution. The show went into how modern-day genetics has found undiscovered switches that are able to turn genes on and off. Then they jumped to the total illogical conclusion that these “switches” are responsible for the evolutionary history of man from fish.

Don’t get me wrong: what genetics is producing these days is absolutely amazing. The fact that we can go into the genome and find out what genes are responsible for what character traits is absolutely fascinating. Finding out which genes are turned off that really should be turned on to take away a mutation is very exciting. For someone who loves science and loves building, the idea of engineering biological life is fascinating, to say the least.

 

Back to the film …

What amazed me even more is the idea that they are still pushing the idea of embryology as proof of evolution.  Here is an excerpt from the description:

Breakthroughs in a brand-new science — nicknamed “evo devo” — are linking the enigmas of evolution to another of nature’s great mysteries, the development of the embryo.

Sure enough, throughout the film the idea of the human embryo going through the stages of evolution is overstated to say the least. No matter what, they were determined to make this evidence fit their theory! According to the film, sequencing the human genome was something Darwin could never have known was going to give so much evidence for evolution. I guess when you cherry-pick the information you want to use, sure, evolution fits no problem. The “researchers” were studying the supposed one percent of differences between humans and chimps, despite the fact that we have now discovered that the chimp genome is 12 percent longer than the human genome. How can there be only one percent difference when the chimp genome is 12 percent longer? It just doesn’t make sense.

The fact that chimp DNA is similar to human DNA is not a proof of evolution. We could just as easily claim that it is proof of creation, because we would expect things designed by the same designer to have similarities. Therefore, we should never worry about claims of homology or DNA similarities. The use of DNA similarity as a “proof” of evolution is an example of the logical fallacy known as “affirmation of the consequent.”

Now, while the film had some amazing science, it is obvious that the intent of the film is indoctrination.

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Courtesy www.creationtoday.org with slight modifications.

 

 

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Is There Any Proof for Darwinian Evolution?

Is There Any Proof for Darwinian Evolution?

Darwinian Evolution

anyone give us one example of observable evidence of the change of kinds? We do not want something to be accepted by faith, we want it to be observable.

“Live science” says of Darwinian evolution it can turn dinosaurs into birds, apes into humans and amphibious mammals into whales. But the scientific method is based on “the collection of data through observation and extermination” Science daily.

We are condemned to live only for few decades and that is too slow, too small time scales to see evolution going on.” Richard Dawkins.

We see nothing of these slow changes in progress until the hand of time has marked the lapse of ages …” Charles Darwin

So the question rises here is that: Can anyone give us one example of observable evidence of the change of kinds? We do not want something to be accepted by faith, we want it to be observable.

Watch this short video to know how atheists responded to this question.

 

httpv://youtu.be/xqYHtKau8do

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Evolution Debate, Jan. 2013: Sh. Yasir Qadhi vs. Usama Hasan

Evolution Debate, Jan. 2013: Sh. Yasir Qadhi vs. Usama Hasan

In this video, Sheikh Yasir Qadhi refutes Usama Hasan’s claim that Adam (as) was born to non-human parents. Yasir Qadhi is of the view that there is nothing Islamically objectionable to the theory that animals and species evolved. HOWEVER, this cannot be true for Adam (as) and humans as there are explicit and unambiguous texts from the Qur’an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) informing us that Adam (as) was created directly by God and without any parents.

Join us in to see how Sheikh Yasir Qadhi refutes the claims of evolution as regards with the creation of mankind as attested to by the Ever-Glorious Qur’an.

 


 

 

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Meet the Smartest Bird in Our Blue Planet

Meet the Smartest Bird in Our Blue Planet

By Sahar El-Nadi

The experiments show that ravens were able to test possibilities in their minds in record time, select the most effective solution, and apply it correctly the first time they tried it, something that most intelligent creatures, cannot match.

The experiments show that ravens were able to test possibilities in their minds in record time, select the most effective solution, and apply it correctly the first time they tried it, something that most intelligent creatures, cannot match.

Birds are not generally perceived to be smart animals, in fact, it’s demeaning to call someone “bird-brained”. But one day, I was reading a verse of the Qur’an involving a bird teaching early humans an important practice, which made me stop and think of the significance of the verse and the qualities of this specific bird, leading me to an interesting learning experience. Here is the verse which is part of the story of the sons of Adam, Cane and Able:

“The (selfish) soul of the other led him to the murder of his brother: he murdered him, and became (himself) one of the lost ones. Then Allah sent a raven, who scratched the ground, to show him how to hide the shame of his brother. “Woe is me!” said he; “Was I not even able to be as this raven, and to hide the shame of my brother?” then he became full of regrets-“ (Al-Ma’idah 5:30-31).

My experience with the Qur’an is that when it singles out a creature, it means it literally and specifically, not broadly. It gives us a hint to look closer and study it deeper for a well of untapped knowledge. So I assumed this should be the case with ravens since the verse clearly appoints this bird as a mentor for humans, and clearly shows that humans would be humbled by the solutions found by ravens for some of their critical problems.

As a result, I wondered: which animal is the most intelligent after human beings? Like many people, I thought of the dolphins for that honor, but after a very enjoyable online search, I was in for a big surprise.

Unexpected Candidate

Latest research shows a very unexpected candidate for the top position in animal intelligence, the black bird, which many cultures consider as a harbinger of ill fate and death (maybe because of its solemn role of burial in the story above?), this super intelligent bird is the raven!

The Scientific American magazine published research results of scientists Bernd Heinrich and Thomas Bugnyar – Vermont University, Canada and St Andrews University, Scotland – which show the exceptional mental abilities of the ravens. ‘These birds use logic to solve problems and some of their abilities even surpass those of the great apes,’ they say.

In these experiments, ravens were given very complex tasks which they have never encountered before and they’re not programmed for doing naturally, yet they managed to succeed every time, finding creative, logical solutions to the tasks. More surprisingly, they did it right the first time, every time, with no trial and error process whatsoever!

The experiments show that ravens were able to test possibilities in their minds in record time, select the most effective solution, and apply it correctly the first time they tried it, something that most intelligent creatures, cannot match.

Some experiments show that ravens are cunning enough to make other animals work for them to make their food scavenging easier, and to secure more than 90% of the prey others have hunted for them. Some have even learnt and taught others to make hunting tools.

Lessons to Learn

In one experiment, a raven fashioned a hook out of a piece of straight wire to fish the food out with it. In another experiment, where the food inside the tube is floating on a small amount of water at the bottom of the long tube, the raven first measures the tube using its beak, then drops the exact number of small pebbles in the tube needed to raise the water level enough for its beak to reach the food.

Seeing a video of the above experiments, I decided to try my own little experiment – on humans: I played the video where the raven uses the pebbles to a number of people of different ages, and stopped it right before it showed the raven’s brilliant solution, and then asked my audience what they would do if they were in its place? the unanimous answer was “tip the tube, spill the water with the food, and grab the food” but they were amazed and humbled (exactly like the son of Adam in the Qur’anic verse) when they saw that the raven didn’t take the easy way out of spilling the water; but made sure that it got its food without disturbing or damaging the environment where it found it; a precious lesson that many humans need to learn..

Another incredible video shows the ravens in Japan which have been caught on CCTV cameras. First, they learnt to throw hard-shelled nuts -that were too tough for them to crack- from high trees to the streets to crack them open and eat them, then they developed the process into throwing the nutshells in the path of speeding cars to crack them faster, and to avoid the risk of getting run over by heavy traffic, they refined their technique even more, learning to wait for the traffic lights to turn red keeping the cars at bay, then diving down quickly from treetops to snatch their food, all the while keeping an eye on the lights, and flying away safely as soon as the lights changed.

Social Clever Crows

Ravens are also capable of teaming up to trap and kill a prey: two of the ravens would fly to the ground to block its escape route, while the others attacked it. This behavior suggests that they know what each other and the lizard are thinking, which is known as a ‘theory of mind’, say the scientists at Tel Aviv University of the Zionist occupier state. Crows would even team up to solve problems set for them during experiments, and would recognize themselves when they looked in a mirror.

Another sign of their high intelligence is that they adapt to very different terrain, from deserts to mountains. They learn to find food even in the harshest conditions, and they know how and when to use other animals to help them get a meal they couldn’t otherwise reach. “Ravens are cognitively equal to a two-year-old child,” says biologist Thomas Bugnyar.

Crows are very social species and live in large extended family groups, yet their few fights within a family are usually short and involve only a few pecks, they would only fight to death enemies endangering their families. Compare that with the behavior of the son of Adam who killed his own brother!

As they watch ravens pass test after difficult test, the researchers are wondering what purpose all this cleverness serves, since other birds get through life just fine with far less intelligence? Well, perhaps ravens have a higher purpose in nature than their simple bird life?

The Qur’an opens a great door of learning by showing the raven as a mentor to man. Ravens seem to be good teachers of logical thinking, creative problem solving, team work, strategic planning, and effective resource management – all while showing utmost respect to the environment. So, perhaps this is the right time for us to learn from these intelligent creatures, as we seem to need their brain power the most to bring us back to our senses as peaceful guardians of planet Earth.

 

References

  • Discover the Brain Power of the Bird in Black.” Nature. Accessed 3 Jan. 2010
  • McKie, Robin. “Clever Raven Prove that it’s no Bird Brain.” Guardian. 29 Apr. 2007. Accessed 3 Jan. 2010.
  • Walker , Matt .“Clever Ravens Cooperatively Hunt.” BBC. 1 Dec. 2009. Accessed 3 Jan. 2010
  • Dworschak, Manfred. “Clever Ravens: Masters of Deceit.” Speigel International. 4 Oct. 2007. Accessed 3 Jan. 2010

Videos:

  • Clever Crows.” Google Videos. Accessed 3 Jan. 2010
  • Video: Aesop’s Fable – or fact? Meet the world’s cleverest bird.” Times. 7 Aug. 2009. Accessed 3 Jan. 2010
  • Clever Crows.” Google Videos. Accessed 3 Jan. 2010

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Courtesy onislam.net with slight editorial modifications.

Sahar El-Nadi is an Egyptian freelance journalist who traveled to 25 countries around the world and currently based in Cairo. Sahar also worked in many people-related careers in parallel, including presenting public events and TV programs; instructing training courses in communication skills; cross cultural issues; image consulting for public speakers; orientation for first-time visitors to the Middle East; and localization consulting for international educational projects. She can be reached on her website www.SaharElnadi.com

 

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Duality in Creation

Duality in Creation

By Truth Seeker Staff

Botanists only discovered that there is a gender distinction in plants some 100 years ago. Yet, the fact that plants are created in pairs was revealed in the following verses of the Qur'an 1,400 years ago.

Botanists only discovered that there is a gender distinction in plants some 100 years ago. Yet, the fact that plants are created in pairs was revealed in the following verses of the Qur’an 1,400 years ago.

“Glory be to Him Who created all the pairs: from what the earth produces and from themselves and from things unknown to them.” (Ya-Sin 36:36)

While “male and female” is equivalent to the concept of “pair,” “things unknown to them,” as expressed in the Qur’an, bears a broader meaning. Indeed, we encounter one of the meanings pointed to in the verse in the present day. The British physicist Paul Dirac, who discovered that matter was created in pairs, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933. This finding, known as “parity,” revealed the duality known as matter and anti-matter. Anti-matter bears the opposite characteristics to matter. For instance, contrary to matter, anti-matter electrons are positive and protons negative.

There are antimatter equivalents of all the basic particles in the universe. Antimatters possess the same mass but carry opposite charges. For that reason, when matter and antimatter make contact they disappear by turning into energy. This fact is expressed in a scientific source as follows:

… every particle has its antiparticle of opposite charge… [T]he uncertainty relation tells us that pair creation and pair annihilation happen in the vacuum at all times, in all places.(1)

Another example of duality in creation is plants. Botanists only discovered that there is a gender distinction in plants some 100 years ago.(2) Yet, the fact that plants are created in pairs was revealed in the following verses of the Qur’an 1,400 years ago:

“It is Allah Who created the heavens with no support-you can see them-and cast firmly embedded mountains on the earth so that it would not move under you, and scattered about in it creatures of every kind. And We send down water from the sky and make every generous plant grow in it, in pairs.” (Luqman 31:10)

“It is He Who made the earth a cradle for you and threaded pathways for you through it and sent down water from the sky by which We have brought forth diverse pairs of plants.” (Ta-Ha 20:53)

 

Footnotes:

(1) Henning Genz, “Nothingness: The Science of Empty Space,” 205, www.2think.org/nothingness.shtml

(2) The Revival 5, Issue 2, “Wanna C A Miracle: Quran: The Living Miracle,” www.therevival.co.uk/Revival_issue/vol5_iss2_quran_miracle.htm.

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Taken with slight editorial modifications from miracles of the Qur’an website.

 

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