Scientists Document How Hammerhead Sharks Get Their Hammer
University of Florida researchers have described how hammerhead sharks get their recognizable hammer.
The researchers published a collection of breathtaking images demonstrating how the shark’s embryonic skull gets distorted during development to give rise to its hammer-shaped head.
The research includes examining bonnethead hammerhead sharks during their two-month gestation period at different stages. The scientists found that the sharks abruptly stretch their heads out to begin developing the hammer roughly halfway through the gestation.
The front of the hammer eventually rounds off by the time of gestation, giving the shark its distinctive head form.
According to biology professor Gareth Fraser of the University of Florida:
“This is a look at how monsters form. This is an insight into the development of a wonder of nature that we haven’t seen before and may not be able to see again.”
Graduate student Steven Byrum, who led the work involved documenting the development of the bonnetheads, added:
“It’s the perfect qualities of the bonnethead that allowed us do it with this species. This was a unique opportunity we may not be able to get for very much longer with bonnetheads and may not be able to get in any other species of hammerhead.”
The original study is available here.
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