According to a recent report in the journal Cell, polar bears may hold the answer to the human obesity crisis in their genes. A study of the animal’s DNA has shown that it is uniquely adapted to cope with a high fat diet that would prove fatal to a human.
Polar bears like to eat blubber-rich seals, but they also scavenge the fatty carcasses of whales. As a result, half their body weight consists of fat and their cholesterol levels are excessively high, yet they don’t seem to suffer from heart disease!
So what’s their secret?
Scientists have found that the genes in a polar bear that govern fatty acid metabolism and cardiovascular function are crucial to the bears’ adaptation to extreme conditions in the high Arctic and may explain how they avoid clogged arteries. Without those special genes, polar bears would have to go on a diet or risk extinction.
It has been suggested that at some time in the past “polar bears rapidly changed to adapt to Arctic life…genes that affected their metabolism and heart function altered”.
But as scientists will also tell you, the metabolic ‘process’ of every living creature is extremely complex. If one small bit of that process changes – as a result of a chance gene mutation, for example – the creature usually dies. Even using what they have learnt from studying the genes of polar bears, scientists know that it’s easier to change our diet than it is to change our genes. No point leaving such changes to chance!!
Was the survival of the polar bear left to chance? Or is this yet another reason to believe what the Bible says, that divine creation is true?