By Larry Ray Hafley
(From Seventy Years On The Frontier, by Alexander Majors, we seize this selection.) The beaver “is an animal possessed of great intelligence, as the amount and kind of work accomplished by it show. It is a natural-born engineer, as connected with water; it can build dams across small streams that…hold the water equal, if not superior, to the very best dams that can be constructed by skilled engineers.
“… the higher up the stream they go, their dams are built correspondingly higher; hence a dam built at an altitude of 1,000 feet would not be built as high as one built at an altitude of 3,000 feet, in order to overcome the deeper freezing at that point, for in constructing these dams they must be of sufficient height to give plenty of room to get their food in the water under the ice .. .
“The beaver, considered as an engineer, is a remarkable animal. He can run a tunnel as direct as the best engineer could do with his instruments to guide him. I have seen where they have built a dam across a stream, and not having a sufficient head of water to keep their pond full, they would cross to a stream higher up the side of the mountain, and cut a ditch from the upper stream and connect it with the pond of the lower, and do it as neatly as an engineer with his tools could possible do it. I have often said the buck beaver in the Rocky Mountains had more engineering skill than the entire corps of engineers who were connected with General Grant’s army when he besieged Vicksburg on the banks of the Mississippi. The beaver would never have attempted (as Grant did LRH) to turn the Mississippi into a canal to change its channel without first making a dam across the channel below the point of starting the canal. The beaver, as I have said, rivals and sometimes even excels the ingenuity of man.
“Another of the peculiarities of the beaver is the great sharpness of its teeth, remaining for many years as sharp as the best edged tool. The mechanic with the finest steel can not make a tool that will not in a short time become so blunt and so dulled as to require renewed sharpening, and this, with the beaver, would have to be repeated hundreds of times in order to do” its work during its lifetime of ten to fifteen years. The tools of men need sharpening, but the beaver’s teeth do not.
To use the language of Jehovah’s questions to Job, “Who taught the beaver and who instructed him in the lore of engineering? And who gave him his teeth such as cannot be eaasily duplicated by the tools of men? Who put the gauge of mountain altitude into the beaver’s heart and taught him to build dams corresponding to the depth of winter’s ice? Who gave the beaver his paddle-formed tail?” Do our atheist friends hear the echoing answer to these questions, “God”?
Majors says, “The beaver’s feet are webbed for the purpose of swimming, and there are nails on his feet, so that he can scratch the earth almost the equal of the badger.” The beaver is adapted for swimming, logging, and digging tunnels. His design signifies his Designer! Indeed, “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God” (Psa. 53:1).
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: No. 22, p. 7
November 16, 1995