Dandy Designs title-4/11


One of the most interesting animals in the sea is the hammerhead shark. Why should such an awkward looking head be present on a fish that depends on eating other fish for its survival? Those opposed to the notion that God has designed living things have long ridiculed this odd shape as being a proof that there is no intelligent design in living things maintaining that it was not a good shape for swimming rapidly through the water. It is almost a universal truth that when you see something in an animal in nature that does not make sense, it is because you do not have a full awareness of all of the factors that are involved in the animal’s survival. This certainly has been shown to be true in the hammerhead’s situation.

Dr. Jayne Gardiner at the University of South Florida has headed up a study to learn more about how the hammerhead functions. It turns out that the nostrils of the shark are located at the ends of the flat areas of the shark’s head. That means that when the odor of a food source comes to the shark it will come to the nostrils at different times. If the right nostril gets the smell a half second before the left nostril, the shark will turn to the right towards the source of the smell. If there is no delay or a very long delay between when the two nostrils get the smell, the shark will not change its direction. You might call it “stereo smelling.”

The use of smell instead of sight or motion vibrations should be obvious. Muddy water, waves crashing, or any number of other distractions will not interfere with the hammerhead finding its food. It is an eloquently designed system with great sensitivity that involves not only the sensory organs at the ends of the hammer head section of the shark’s body, but also the brain to interpret and direct the use of the information the sensory organs give.

Source: National Wildlife, October/November 2010, page 10.

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