While I often talk about the platypus as being a conundrum for evolutionists due to its odd combination of features, another lesser-known animal kind poses just as many questions for the evolutionary community—the tenrecs!
We now have one named Tansy at the Creation Museum’s Eden Animal Experience. She’s a “lesser hedgehog tenrec” and will act as an animal ambassador in our daily live animal zoo program to teach guests about God’s unique design in animals.
I asked one of our very talented animal presenters to tell me about tenrecs. She wrote:
The ~30 species of tenrecs from Africa and its island of Madagascar may resemble hedgehogs, moles, opossums, rodents, or shrews, but they are not in the same created kind as any of those animals. Tenrecs are also similar to platypuses in that they have cloacae and very low body temperatures (86–95°F), but they’re not related to them either.
Five tenrec species (including Tansy’s) have spines, some with barbs like New World porcupines, but they’re not related to porcupines. There is evidence that Tansy’s species can echolocate like bats or cetaceans—but she’s certainly not a bat or cetacean (whale, dolphin, porpoise).
The lowland streaked tenrecs are the only mammals known to stridulate, which is the act of producing sound by rubbing together anatomical structures. Stridulation is mostly seen in arthropods (think crickets) and venomous snakes—but tenrecs clearly aren’t snakes or insects!
It’s difficult to explain tenrecs within an evolutionary worldview. However, the Bible gives us a perfect explanation for their design!
With this hodgepodge of odd features, it’s difficult to explain tenrecs within an evolutionary worldview. However, the Bible gives us a perfect explanation for their design! While our research is unclear as to whether all tenrecs are in the same created kind due to the drastic differences between each species, we do know they are land animals and would therefore have been created on day six of creation week (Genesis 1:24–25).
They also would have qualified to board Noah’s ark under God’s instructions in Genesis 6 and 7. After the flood, tenrecs likely spread to Africa and rafted to Madagascar, where they now fill almost every biome and ecological niche. This phenomenon is called adaptive radiation, where organisms diversify rapidly from an ancestral form (the kinds coming off the ark) to a variety of new species occupying different environmental niches.
Tenrecs can be arboreal, terrestrial, fossorial (living underground), and even aquatic. Adaptive radiation is often used as “proof” of molecules-to-man evolution. However, this would require the gain of new genetic traits and one kind turning into another. But the adaptive radiation we observe simply manifests genetic possibilities that were already within the genetics of the kinds created by God. The tenrecs are still tenrecs—they haven’t turned into anything else.
Fascinating creatures, aren’t they?
We hope you’ll attend one of our live animal programs at the Creation Museum during your visit so you can meet Tansy in person!
Live animal programs are conducted most days at our two attractions, the Creation Museum and, 45 minutes away, the Ark Encounter. Check the daily schedule when you arrive (and check it ahead of time on the websites).
You can learn more about some of the most fascinating animals God created in Awesome Facts About Animals, a book for children seven and up written by two AiG zookeepers and filled with animal facts and biblical worldview teaching about animals and animal kinds.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.