Why does the hammerhead shark have such a strange head shape?

Why does the hammerhead shark have such a strange head shape?

Categories: Animals | Science

The hammerhead shark is one of the most recognizable marine inhabitants. The predator owes its fame to the shape of its head, which is how it got its name. It is known that in nature nothing happens for nothing and every detail matters. The hammerhead shark is no exception and its appearance is the result of millions of years of evolution, which worked to adapt the fish as much as possible to its environment and lifestyle.

Why does the hammerhead shark have such a strange head shape?

The skull of a hammerhead shark looks as if it was grabbed by the eye sockets and stretched to the sides. Because of this, the fish's head became like a hammer, and its body resembled a handle. The distance between the eyes of these sea creatures is impressive. In 6-meter individuals it can reach 1 meter!

Why does the hammerhead shark have such a strange head shape?

For centuries, people could not explain the meaning of such a bizarre structure of the skull. But today, science has determined why a shark needs a hammer-shaped head. The director of the shark research program at the University of Florida (USA), Gavin Naylor, in an article for The Conversation magazine, described three advantages that this anatomical feature gives the fish.

Why does the hammerhead shark have such a strange head shape?

First of all, the hammerhead provides the shark with an incredibly wide viewing angle, reaching 360 degrees. The predator sees everything that happens in front, behind, above and below. Nothing escapes her gaze and this makes the fish an excellent hunter, and also ensures its safety.

The second advantage of a wide head is more space for the so-called “ampoules of Lorenzini”. These are special sensory organs that sharks and rays have. They are similar to deep thin channels in the head of a fish, with the help of which it is able to sense electric fields. This “radar” helps the shark find prey hidden from its eyes. For example, she feels a fish buried in the sand. In the hammerhead shark, the ampoules are located on the underside of the head and, due to its width, the area of action of the organ increases.

Why does the hammerhead shark have such a strange head shape?

The special shape of the head makes the hammerhead shark an exceptionally agile swimmer. She seems to push the viscous water environment apart with her skull and is able to make sharp maneuvers while maintaining balance. There is another assumption, not yet confirmed by research. Some scientists believe that the strange shape of the head helps the shark sense the earth's magnetic field. These fish often migrate long distances and such a compass is very useful.

Nature has created many living creatures that look like guests from another planet.

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