They have a reputation for being one of the fastest fish with speeds reported of 60 miles per hour (97 km/hr). They are swordfish (Xiphias gladius), and although they resemble marlins, they are a fish that is very different from any other.
Fish are ectothermic, or “cold-blooded.” That means their surroundings control their body temperature so fish in cold water have low body temperatures. There are more than 25,000 species of fish. However, only swordfish and some sharks have special organs to heat their eyes and brains while they are in the cold depths.
Swordfish also have something that no other fish is known to have. At the base of the fish’s sword-like bill, there is a large gland discovered only recently. This gland secretes oil which is carried by capillaries to the surface of the skin. Swordfish lose their scales when they become adults. Their skin has microscopic projections, and when the oil coats these projections, it produces a water-repellent surface that reduces drag to nearly zero. That’s a clue to how the swordfish can travel through the water at such high speeds.
Trying to explain these special features of a swordfish by chance requires assumptions that are not consistent with life in the sea or with common sense. How could this special gland develop when other fish don’t have it? The specialized skin structure is also an issue. Something designed for speed is not useful in other settings, and may even be a liability. We believe this is another evidence that God designs living things so they can survive in the specialized environmental niche they will occupy.
© Roland Earnst