Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | February 25, 2010

16. Silk

Silkworms eating mulberry leaves

What is silk? Where does it originate?

Silk comes from moths. Silk is a natural protein fiber produced by the silkworm (Bombyx mori – Latin for mulberry silkworm).

The silkworm is not a worm but an insect. It is the caterpillar (larva) stage of a moth.

Silkworms produce silken cocoons which are harvested to make silk thread. Both caterpillar (silkworm) and moth are white.

Silkworm cocoons

The wild silkmoth, from which the domesticated one was derived, is native to northern India, northern China, Japan, Korea, and eastern Russia. Worldwide there are 1,000 domesticated varieties of silkworms.

It is thought that human use of silk originated 4,000 years ago in China. It is unknown where in China domestication began.

Chinese legend says silk was discovered by Empress Xi Ling-Shi, wife of Emperor Huang-ti. A silk cocoon fell from a mulberry tree into her hot tea and began uncoiling. She wound up the strong silky thread, eventually finding the caterpillar which she realized was the source of the thread. She experimented with raising silkworms and weaving the thread into fabric.

Silk was a closely guarded Chinese secret for thousands of years because it was so important to the economy. China traded silk cloth to the rest of the world. The Silk Road was an overland trade route through the deserts of Asia to the West. Sericulture (silk farming) reached Korea about 200 BC and Japan and India in the third century AD.

Read the prequels in this series on Monarch Butterflies and their significance for the creation/evolution controversy:
1. Insect GPS
2. Monarch Butterflies
3. Caterpillar or Butterfly—Which Was First?
4. Monarch Caterpillars
5. Morphing Monarchs
6. Changing Chrysalis
7. Emerging Monarchs
8. Butterfly vs. Caterpillar
9. Migrating Monarchs
10. Navigating Monarchs
11. Monarchs on Noah’s Ark?
12. Monarch or Viceroy?
13. Butterfly Evolution?
14. Butterfly or Moth?
15. Mexican Jumping Beans

Read the sequel:
17. Silkworms

Soli Deo Gloria.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Thursday February 25, 2010 A.D.

Read my February 2010 Bible-Science column
Manhood and Monogamy.

And Yahweh made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and Yahweh saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:25)

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