Hammerhead Shark Eating A Stingray


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The theory has been advanced that the hammer-like shape of the head may have evolved (at least in part) to enhance the animal's vision. The positioning of the eyes, mounted on the sides of the shark's distinctive hammer head, gives the shark good 360° vision in the vertical plane, meaning they can see above and below them at all times. The shape of the head was previously thought to help the shark find food, aiding in close-quarters maneuverability and allowing sharp turning movement without losing stability. However, it has been found that the unusual structure of its vertebrae was instrumental in making the turns correctly, more often than the shape of its head, though it would also shift and provide lift. From what is known about the winghead shark, the shape of the hammer-head apparently has to do with an evolved sensory function. Like all sharks, hammerheads have electroreceptory sensory pores called ampullae of Lorenzini. By distributing the receptors over a wider area, like a larger radio antenna, hammerheads can sweep for prey more effectively.