Evolutionists love to cite carnivorous animals that obviously perform very well in the wild as an attempt to undermine creationists claims. However, as more research is done, this claim is becoming harder and harder to support. Creatures as unlikely as lions have been known to refuse meat and only eat plants. Based on a recently published paper in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B Bonnethead sharks can be added to the list of predators more than willing to eat vegetables.
Bonnethead sharks (Sphyma tiburo) are members of the hammerhead genus and are quite interesting and unique creatures. They are social fish, living in small groups of five to fifteen sharks, though schools in the thousands have been seen. They are obligate swimmers, meaning they must keep swimming or they will sink and drown. They can reach a maximum of fifty-nine inches in length but generally stay much shorter at three and a half to four feet.
There is a small amount of sexual dimorphism between male and female bonnethead sharks. The female bonnethead gives birth to anywhere from four to sixteen pups in a litter. She is viviparous, meaning she gives birth to live young. These shark pups are about a foot long at birth. Bonnetheads are close to top of the food chain predators in the wild, with only a few other sharks willing to make a meal out of them. They range from the coast of North America down into the Caribean and Ecuador.
Until very recently, bonnethead sharks were considered obligate carnivores. They were known to eat shrimp, crabs, snails and small fish. However, they have been known for years to ingest vast amounts of seagrass in their pursuit of these creatures. It was assumed that they were ingesting it as an accidental byproduct of their hunting. However, recent studies suggest that they are ingesting the seagrass deliberately to feed on it.
The study from two United States universities looked at the ability of captive bonnetheads to survive on a diet of ninety percent seagrass. The seagrass was marked with a special unique isotope of carbon that could easily be isolated from the gut of the bonnethead. The bonnetheads survived and thrived on that diet. However, to make sure, at the end of the study, the researchers dissected the stomachs of the bonnetheads. What they found shocked them. The gut of the bonnethead is very much a carnivorous gut. It seems designed to digest meat. And yet, the researchers found that the bonnethead did gain nutrition from the seagrass. In fact, they did so well, researchers estimated that bonnetheads diets are more than sixty percent seagrass. Even more remarkably, the researchers estimated that the bonnetheads were able to digest the seagrass at around fifty percent efficiency. That is phenomenal. There are herbivorous mammals that digest at significantly less efficient rates than that, including koalas, panda bears, and sloths.
Evolutionists have known for over a decade that bonnetheads ingested large amounts of seagrass. Yet it never piqued curiosity until this recent study. This is likely due to the evolutionary view of sharks as an apex predator. They are believed to have evolved to be top of the food chain, terrorizing all those beneath them. Thus no evolutionist would expect to find sharks eating seagrass.
Creationists, by contrast, would both expect and predict that sharks would be found to eat at least some plant matter. I’ve covered this issue before in numerous articles but I’ll cover it briefly here. Genesis 1:29-30 tells us all creatures were herbivores in the beginning. “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.” This vegetarian lifestyle was mandated until after the flood, over sixteen hundred years later. Thus it is no surprise that a shark might still retain aspects of its original vegetarian design. The bonnethead points back to the original perfect creation where hunting did not exist and sharks would have been content to graze on seagrass rather than schools of fish.