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Friday, December 04, 2009

Why the hammerhead shark got its hammer

It's one of evolution's most eccentric creations: a head shaped like a hammer. Now, a study suggests that the hammerhead shark may have evolved its oddly shaped snout to boost the animal's vision and hunting prowess.

For over a century, scientists have speculated why hammerheads evolved such an odd shape and whether having eyes so far apart would enhance their vision. In 1942 a leading authority on sharks, Gordon Walls, suggested the position of the shark's eyes prevented it from having binocular vision. But others have argued exactly the opposite, saying the animals must have enhanced eyesight.


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