‘underwater crop circles’—as some dubbed them—
mysteriously came and went, and “appeared to be the work
of an underwater artist, carefully working with tools. ... But
who or what created them?”1
For more than a decade, this ‘Whodunnit?’ remained
a mystery. But researchers now know that the creator of
these seabed circles is a diminutive pufferfish, just 12 cm ( 5
inches) long. 2, 3 It takes 7–9 days of laborious construction
work for a male pufferfish to build one, apparently with
a goal of attracting a mate. If he succeeds, she lays her
eggs in the centre circle, where the sand is finest. Indeed,
it seems the fine-grained sand is a key ‘selling point’. When
a female approaches the male’s seabed handiwork, he
deliberately stirs up the fine sand of the central circle for
her to see.
These pufferfish constructions have three characteristics
never before seen in fish nests shaped in sand: the radially
aligned peaks and valleys; the peaks decorated with shell
fragments; and the fine sand particles gathered in the
central circle. What’s more, the total circular structure
the central circle, allowing the fine-grained particles borne
along by the current to settle there.
So these seabed circles with their fine-grained centres
are no accident—it was quite right to see them as
presenting a ‘Whodunnit?’ question needing to be solved.
But if something as relatively ‘simple’ as strategically
heaped sand ridges/circles point to their needing a creator,
how much more so the staggeringly intricate and complex
puffer fish, able to live, breathe and reproduce? Surely it
must itself be the artistry of a creator! The Bible warns us
not to overlook the fact that living things present us with
a ‘Whodunnit?’ (Romans 1: 20)—which it also solves for us
(e.g. Genesis 1, Revelation 4: 11).
References and notes
1. Japan crop circle mystery solved 2012 HD, youtu.be/ WIbdnx7Q-JU, acc.
24 April 2017.
2. Main, D., Pufferfish love explains mysterious underwater circles,
livescience.com, 2 October 2013.
3. Kawase, H., Okata, Y., and Ito, K., Role of huge geometric circular
structures in the reproduction of a marine pufferfish, Scientific Reports
3:2106, 1 July 2013, doi: 10.1038/srep02106.
Images: Yoji Okata / Minden Pictures
Seabed circles ‘Whodunnit?’