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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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The Milk Bypass

The Milk Bypass

 Was It Designed?

The Milk Bypass

▪ If you have ever watched a sheep, a goat, or a cow giving birth, you have probably marveled at how quickly the newborn gets to its feet and finds its way to the udder for milk. All mammals feed their young on milk. But in the case of young ruminants, such as lambs, kids, and calves, there is another, unseen marvel.

Consider: Cows have a four-chambered stomach for the multiple processes needed to digest grass and forage. But newborns feed only on milk, which does not need all those processes for digestion. So when the newborn suckles, a special bypass tunnel opens to allow the milk to go directly to the last chamber.

If milk were to find its way into the first chamber, called the rumen, the calf would suffer because the rumen is where hard-to-digest food is broken down by bacterial fermentation. Fermenting milk produces gas that newborns cannot eliminate. However, when young ruminants drink milk, whether from a nipple or a bucket, a reflex action snaps shut the entryway to the rumen.

Remarkably, something different happens when a newborn drinks water. It needs plenty of water in its rumen so that bacteria and microbes there can multiply, ready for when the youngster begins to live on forage. Although milk goes directly to the stomach’s final chamber, plain water enters the rumen. The calf’s amazing bypass is for milk only!

What do you think? Did the milk bypass come about by chance? Or is it the work of an intelligent Creator?

[Diagram/​Picture on page 13]

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Milk bypasses the first three chambers of the calf’s stomach


Bypass tunnel

1 Rumen

2 Reticulum

3 Omasum

4 Abomasum (last stomach chamber)