Hammer Time!

This fish looks funny. Why oh why is there such a peculiar protrusion sticking out from its head with an eyeball at each end? Obviously it has an advantage in head butting competitions outside the Friday night local but other than that, what could that head possibly be good for?

Many variations for the use of the ‘hammer’ have been dreamt up over the last few hundred years ranging from aerodynamics, hunting techniques and prey manipulation to improved eyesight. Well actually all these are quite sensible suggestions it turns out, and all have some degree of credibility. The Hammer on the head is officially called a Cephalofoil.  Indeed the unique shape of the head provides lift and improves swimming abilities making them surprisingly agile. For many years the main plausible explanation for this obscure growth is that it aids in electroreception where the large area of the sharks’ head improves the speed and efficiency of locating and catching prey.

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