Tuesday, January 07, 2014
Hibernation, Migration and the Ark
A report of a year-long hibernation in a tiny marsupial raises a subject worth revisiting.
by Carl Wieland
Published: 12 December 2007(GMT+10)
A recent [November 2007] news item caused a flurry of interest among creationists. It was based on an article in the German journal Naturwissenschaften (Natural Sciences), about a marsupial able to hibernate for more than a year. 1 Several people wrote in alerting us to the report. They were presumably keen for us to use it as evidence that ‘animals could have hibernated during the year of the Flood’.
It’s worth exploring just how this does or does not add to the apologetic arguments about the feasibility of the Flood account. First, some more detail on the report.
The animal concerned was the pygmy possum, Cercartetus nanus, a marsupial. This is an ‘opportunistic non-seasonal hibernator’. In the right circumstances, it is able to put on substantial fat reserves which enable it to go into prolonged torpor. The research in this instance was directed to seeing whether the pygmy possum, given the right conditions, would be able to prolong its hibernation, existing only on its own body fat, well beyond winter.
The outcome was impressive—the prolonged hibernation lasted 310 days on average in various of the creatures, with one reaching 367 days.