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axolotl

Over lunch today, Zac told us about a funky freshwater creature. Axolotls, members of the salamander family, live exclusively in Lake Xochimilco in Mexico. How very posh.  The one above looks like the model for Toothless, the dragon of “How to Train Your Dragon”, no?

“Axolotls keep on living, even if you cut off their arms and legs.  As long as the core remains intact, the limbs will grow back”, Zac informed us.

I got excited.  I know starfish can regrow limbs, but I didn’t know of any other creature with that capability. After we finished our meal, he pulled up information about axolotl on the interwebs.

Random Wikipedia quote:  The axolotl is carnivorous, consuming small prey such as worms, insects, and small fish in the wild. Axolotls locate food by smell, and will “snap” at any potential meal, sucking the food into their stomachs with vacuum force. Translation:  They, uh, suck on a regular basis.

The fact that axolotls never go through an awkward puberty intrigues me.  Suddenly, poof!  They’re adults.  No swelling of the hips, increased muscle mass or facial hair.  They achieve instant adulthood, no painful transition necessary.

Wikipedia also says:  The feature of the salamander that attracts most attention is its healing ability: the axolotl does not heal by scarring and is capable of the regeneration of entire lost appendages in a period of months, and, in certain cases, more vital structures. Some have indeed been found restoring the less vital parts of their brains. They can also readily accept transplants from other individuals, including eyes and parts of the brain—restoring these alien organs to full functionality. In some cases, axolotls have been known to repair a damaged limb, as well as regenerating an additional one, ending up with an extra appendage that makes them attractive to pet owners as a novelty. In metamorphosed (chemically altered) individuals, however, the ability to regenerate is greatly diminished. The axolotl is therefore used as a model for the development of limbs in vertebrates.

This, to me, is the most interesting feature of the axolotl. Sever their limbs, perhaps by accident or deadly predator intent, and they continue to live. The will to survive is strong with this one. Restoring “alien organs” to total health.  Wow.  Brains whole again. Generating *extra* appendages?  Bring it.  It’s almost like the axolotl has the elixir of life running through its amphibious veins.

As Christians, we possess new life within us.  We can regenerate.  Oh, our arms and legs don’t grow back.  And, unfortunately, we have a gangly “teenage maturity” phase that can last for years as we’re changed from glory to glory.  But our hearts mend, even after catastrophic damage.  Our minds can be renewed through spending time with God and His word. We have eternal life through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. If you’ve ever felt like anything good and worthwhile in your life has been decimated, hang on. Remember for us Homo sapiens, there is only one Re-generator, only one who can make us whole again:  Jesus.

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