Hammerhead Shark Facts and Information
by: Davis Yancy Clegg
One common statement you will hear among those unfamiliar with any number of shark species is, “I can’t tell the difference.” Well, when it comes to identifying our next shark on the break, its’ frequent spells of laying in the shallows just off the shoreline have people everywhere savvy on what a hammerhead shark appears like. Quite obviously, their species name is derived from their hammer-shaped head. This tool-shaped head is also known – scientifically – as a cephalofoil.
Several of the hammerheads successful tasking is a direct result of the seemingly deformed head of the shark. Tasks such as wielding sensory perception, pursuant maneuvering, along with the stalking and manipulation of prey. Not unlike weary husbands, hammerhead sharks are well known to be among their fellow sharks in schools during the daylight hours. However, they find themselves more content to patrol the deep alone in the darkest hours. Many of the larger schools of hammerheads can most likely be spotted in Costa Rica.
Developments in science have come leaps and bounds from the olden days when we had little more than brushes and nothing but a prayer to bring the wind to life, revealing fossils and ancient relics. In an era that would eventually produce good fortune. Even with methods advancing in the field of excavation, there was still a major issue hindering top field scientists from collecting fossils of ancient sharks. The explanation – as it turns out – is quite a simple one. Sharks just are not equipped with mineralized bones and thus, they very rarely fossilize. If it weren’t for the dense and bone composite teeth, which the sharks depend so heavily upon, there would be little, possibly no evidence of the hammerhead sharks’ primal existence before the likes modern technology.
These sharks, unlike many others, have their eyes place quite far apart on either side of their hammer. While separation of the eyes in humans can prove to be a significant ailment, the hammerhead shark’s vision is – you guessed it – enhanced quite a bit. The outer edge eye placement gives the shark a solid 360-degrees of vision on the vertical plane, meaning their eyesight both above and below is keen at all times. While these sharks are given an exceptional amount of guidance by the shape of their head. The shape of the hammerhead’s head was originally thought to aid in the routines of hunting for food, aiding in those close corners where maneuverability means the difference between hunger and thriving. After many trial studies, scientists uncovered a phantom truth about the vertebrae of hammerheads. Not only does the sharks’ vertebrae aid in close-quarters during predator-mode maneuvers, it also aids in vertical movement. The vertebrae will shift a certain way and provide lift to bring the shark towards surface depths.
Many don’t understand the complexity of the vast number of organisms beneath the mysterious blue. Just like all their distant shark relatives, the all-intimidating hammerhead clan has electroreceptor sensory pores. Meaning, they are extremely sensitive to the tiniest changes in their surroundings, and even more keen on determining exactly what it is that is surrounding them, and whether it’s a viable threat. By casting out the signals of these receptors over a very broad area beneath, like a sky-towering radio antenna, hammerheads can emit their natural “sonar” sensory perception to sweep for prey, and doing so far more effectively.
Next week, we will be taking an in depth look the tiger shark. Be ‘whale’ friends!
Exploring the wild is exciting for young and old! Come join us and check out different species around Amelia Island. (more…)