Take Some, Leave Some
Birds, grasshoppers and other insects may actually be doing a good deed when they feed on crops in the field. This appears to be another one of the give-and-take relationships in the world around us.
The key to this delicate balance is a hormone in the saliva of many birds, insects and mammals, including humans. It is called EGF (epidermal growth factor) and is known to stimulate cell growth, speed protein and DNA production, and even help in the healing of wounds. So each time a bird pecks at an ear of corn it pays back a handsome bonus to the plant in the traces of EGF it leaves behind.
Dr. Melvin Dyer, a zoologist, has been experimenting with EGF for about ten years. He noticed that ripening ears of corn injected with doses of the hormone grew bigger and produced more protein than those without the injection. The problem, however, is in knowing exactly how much of the hormone to inject. “Too little EGF has no effect whatsoever, and too much can actually stunt plant growth,” he says. The right amount turns out to be one twenty-millionth of an ounce—just what a grasshopper leaves behind each time it dines on an ear of corn.
What accounts for it? Creation is the only answer that satisfies.