THE SEA TURTLES

Sea turtles living in the oceans surge in crowds towards the beach when it is time for them to reproduce. This is no ordinary beach though. The beach they arrive at to reproduce has to be the one where they were born. Sometimes sea turtles have to travel as far as 800 kilometres to arrive there. But a long and tough journey does not change the situation. They arrive at the beach where they were born to give birth to their offspring, no matter what.

It is quite unaccountable how a living being can find its way back to the very same beach 20-25 years after its departure from there. It is all the more extraordinary that it can find the direction of its birthplace in the depths of the ocean where so little light penetrates, and then spot it from among numerous similar beaches.

Finally, thousands of travellers with no compass meet on the same beach at the same time. Initially a mystery, the reasons underlying this insistent meeting came as a great surprise when finally revealed. Since turtles know that their offspring cannot survive in sea conditions, they bury their eggs under the sand on the beach. But why do all of them meet on the same beach, at the same time? Would not the hatchlings survive if they did the same thing at different times and on different beaches? Those who did research on this topic were faced with a very interesting situation. Thousands of offspring under the sand have to overcome a number of formidable obstacles after breaking their eggs with the hard lump on their head. The hatchlings of an average of 31 grams cannot dig the earth layer above them on their own and they all help each other. When thousands of hatchlings on the beach start to dig the earth, they make it to the sand surface in a few days. Yet before they appear on the surface, they wait for a while for nightfall. For in the day time, there is the danger of falling a prey to predators. In addition, it would be quite difficult for them to proceed by crawling on sands scorched by the sunlight. When night falls, they go up to the surface after completing the digging process. Although it is dark, they rush to the sea and depart from the beach to return there as much as 20-25 years later.

It is impossible for these hatchlings to know that they have to dig their way up after they pop out of their eggs and wait for a while at a certain distance from the sea. It is by no means possible for them to know, when they are still buried in the earth, whether it is day or night, that predators exist outside and that they could fall a prey to them, that the sand is scorching because of the sun, that this could harm them, and that they must rush to the sea. So, how does this conscious conduct come about?

The only answer to this question is that these hatchlings have been somehow ‘programmed’ to behave in this way, which means that their Creator has inspired in them the instinct that helps them protect their lives.

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