Why Hammerhead Sharks Have Hammer Heads

Why do hammerhead sharks have, well, hammer-shaped heads? The mystery may now be solved: it's all about binocular vision.

[Michelle McComb and Timothy Tricas] then placed sensors on the shark's skin to measure its brain activity, specifically testing whether the animal would react to beams of light shone from different locations around the tank.

By doing so, they could measure each shark's field of vision.

"This study confirmed that hammerhead sharks have anterior binocular vision," says Dr McComb.

That means they can see directly ahead while swimming and can accurately judge distance, particularly to any prey they hunt. What's more, the researchers show that the degree of overlap between the two eyes increases with head width.


Previously on Neatorama: Stop! Hammerhead Time

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See, now, I always assumed that the "hammer" evolved as a way to keep its eyes away from its mouth, because the hammerhead's a bottom feeder, and among its prey are skates and rays, with those nasty stingers in their tails. They also eat squid, and probably some spiny creatures that they wouldn't want to get poked in the eye with.
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