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Did hammerhead sharks begin with one freakish mutant?

Hammerhead sharks are among the strangest creatures on Earth, with seemingly misshapen heads that actually give them 360-degree vision. But what evolutionary path could lead to such bizarre features? As this video suggests, it might be a single freak mutation.

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This clip from BBC Earth offers the only slightly crazy theory that hammerhead sharks are descended from a mutant shark that lived about 14 million years ago. This particular shark was the one-in-a-million extreme mutation whose strange hammerhead features were actually viable, giving it a chance to found an entirely new species. Obviously, this isn't terribly likely - and recent research into hammerhead vision suggests its anatomy would be an advantageous adaptation after all, potentially making such an unlikely origin unnecessary.

Still, on a planet this big and this ancient, it's not impossible for a species every once in a very great while to arise from an extreme mutation, and the hammerhead sharks seems as good a candidate as any. If nothing else, it's a truly awesome idea to consider.

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Via Deep Sea News.

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DISCUSSION

sidestepper
sidestepper - the fist of fate

Actually, I've seen pics of other sharks, that we don't see as often, that have head shapes between a hammerhead and a normal shark. So, I'd be of the opinion that it was a gradual adaptation.