One of the most beautiful, colorful denizens of the shallow sea is the royal starfish. This beautiful brilliant blue member of the echinoderm family has some very unique characteristics for starfish that make it very intriguing for zoologists as well as pointing towards creation. Like many other undersea creatures, they have been largely neglected in the context of origins but they are highly interesting and display hallmarks of design.
The royal star is a shallow water creature, living mostly on the eastern seaboard of the United States and rarely venturing below one hundred feet. Their arms get about four inches in length and, like most traditional starfish, they have five arms. The arms are brilliant purple on the aboral, or top side and are bordered by a continuous strip of orange. Small white spines are found all the way around the edge of the legs. The oral, or bottom side, is covered in specialized tube feet. The reason the term “oral” is applied to the underside of a sea star is that is where its mouth is located. The royal star is a voracious eater that swallows its prey whole. In fact, it has been known to overeat to the point that its disk explodes, killing it.
The royal star is known scientifically as Astropecten articulatus. It shares a genus with over one hundred other sea stars characterized by small white spines on the legs, and the size and shape of the arms and oral disk. Many species are very similar in appearance and since no genetic testing has been done, it is possible that there are many fewer species within genus Astropecten than is currently believed. That is, assuming species actually exist in nature and aren’t simply inventions of the human mind. The genus also has several extinct members, believed to have been alive several hundred million years ago.
As an organism that eats a lot, the royal sea star has a specialized stomach that secretes specialized enzymes to deal with the food. It is very intriguing that the royal star has a high level of the enzyme -glucosidase. This enzyme is mostly used to break down plant material. This would seem to indicate that the royal sea star consumes a high amount of plants so its role as a predator of mollusks may have been overestimated. Scientists have done tests on these royal stars to determine how they choose their meal. They have a tendency to select high-quality food options when given a choice. Further, when presented with meals of equal quality of different sizes, the royal sea star selects the smaller one. It does this presumably because a smaller meal takes less time to digest and therefore allows the nutrients to be absorbed faster. Further, when seeking a meal, the royal sea star will actively seek out areas where prey are at the highest concentration. This indicates it can do basic computational math and determine where it needs to go to find the most food. Not bad at all for an organism that completely lacks a centralized brain, though it does have a complex nervous system.
While all of this background information is very interesting, it does not tie into Biblical authority, at least as yet. However, consider the perspective. The royal star produces a high quantity of -glucoside, which is meant for plants. In the pre-fall world, there would have been no death of animals that were alive. Now, most sea invertebrates do not fit that description and could have died prior to the fall, but it is very intriguing that such high levels of -glucoside are found in an organism believed to be nearly exclusively carnivorous. It is possible that this enzyme hearkens back to a pre-fall vegetarian state where this sea star, and potentially its whole genus, were vegetarian.
Like most other sea creatures, there has been little work done focusing on the baraminology of the royal sea stars. Aquatic organisms are in dire need of a thorough examination to determine what the level of the baramin approximates to in them. Due to less of them being wiped out during the Flood, it is possible the same rules of baraminology that apply broadly to Hopefully, I will be able to do so in the near future. For now, my only comment on the Royal Star is that the other members of the genus are likely in the same baramin.
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