January 21, 2011

Ever wonder how the hammerhead shark can see where it’s going when its eyes are on the sides of its head? Marine biologist Dr. Michelle McComb of Florida Atlantic University has been studying hammerheads and she found that these strange-looking creatures have incredibly good binocular vision. “Binocular vision” simply means that you use both of your eyes at the same time and see one image. We humans have good binocular vision, too, at least straight in front of us. But hammerheads, with their widely spaced eyes, have clear binocular vision above, below and even behind themselves! That is very useful when your diet depends on catching fast-moving prey, and it is probably why the species evolved in this way.

Ironically, the only place that hammerheads don’t have great vision is straight in front of them. However, they have nostrils near each of their eyes, and Dr. McComb says they use “enhanced stereo smell” to make up for that blind spot.

Image: SharkDiving.us

Posted by: Seymour Simon

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