The heat detection system in snakes

1. Cerabellum
2. Optic Tectum
3. Brain

4. Stranges of Trigeminal Nerve
5. Menbrane

6. Outer chamber
7.Inner Chamber

These illustrations show the anatomy of the boa constrictor's heat detectors. Behind the scales on the upper and lower jaw is a detailed nerve network, which constitutes a two-part system. When it encounters an infra-red stimulus, it sends a trigeminal signal to the brain—where a reaction has been recorded only 35 milliseconds after the snake's detecting a small level of infra-red radiation.

The facial cavities on the front of the rattlesnake's head contains heat sensors that the snake uses to detect infrared rays given off in the form of body heat by warm-blooded birds and mammals nearby. Those sensors are so sensitive that they can identify an environmental temperature rise of 1/300th of a degree, in just 35/000th of a second. The rattler can follow prey that has moved away from it simply by detecting the heat given off by its footprints.

Nor does its sensitive heat-detection system serve only to find prey. The snake is a cold-blooded reptile that can maintain its vital functions only when the ambient temperature is higher than 30 degrees. For that reason, its heat sensors are a great help in finding warm caves or tree trunks where the snake can hibernate over the winter. Of the fourteen species of snake only two have heat sensors, and there are differences in the sensors between these two species. Vipers, for example, bear their sensors on the front of the head under their eyes.

Each cavity is a few millimeters in diameter and up to 5 mm (0.1 inch) deep. Its interior is divided in half by a membrane, forming what's called the inner and outer chambers. In the snake's skull are two trigeminal nerve branches that terminate towards the membrane. The heat given off by the prey's body is turned into electrical signals, and the trigeminal nerve serves to transmit these signals to the part of the brain known as the terminus.

As the nerve branch nears this region, it begins to lose its special sheath. At the end, it takes on a wide, dispersed structure ending in tiny cell-like entities called mitochondria. When the heat stimulus reaches them, it undergoes a structural change, thanks to which the snake detects its prey. It is not yet fully understood how this detection system actually works, though scientists commonly view that it takes place through a very special complex process. (The Infrared receptors of snakes", R. Igor Gamow and John F. Harris, May 1973, Animal Engineering, pp. 68-69)

The snake's heat detection system operates independently of its own body heat. It is activated as soon as the signal is received, but does not react afterwards. This feature alone is enough to show that rattlesnakes' system is the product of a specially designed plan. If these sensors reacted to the heat given off by the snakes own body, they would constantly emit signals obscuring those from outside heat sources, and the system would be useless.

But this does not occur, because God created rattlesnakes together with their sophisticated infra-red detection.

Every single detail in this sensory system, unique to snakes, is flawless. Every stage has been perfectly designed, right down to the finest detail.

It is obvious that chance can never come up with such a system in a great number of stages. No other power than God can create such perfect systems, especially not in all the other members of the species. Let's demonstrate this manifest truth once again by examining some other systems in snakes.

2016-09-04 22:49:11

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