Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Scientists Document How Hammerhead Sharks Get Their Hammer


Researchers at the University of Florida have documented how Hammerhead sharks go about getting their distinctive hammer.

The scientists released a series of stunning pictures that show how the embryonic shark distorts its skull during development to end up with its hammer-shaped head.

A baby hammerhead during development with a nascent hammerhead snout. (Image credit: Gareth Fraser)
A baby hammerhead during development with a nascent hammerhead snout. (Image credit: Gareth Fraser)

The work was conducted on bonnethead hammerhead sharks and involved studying them at various stages through their two-month gestation. The researchers discovered that around halfway through the gestation, the sharks suddenly push out their skulls to start creating the hammer.

Eventually, by the end of the gestation, the front of the hammer rounds off, creating the sharks unique head shape.

According to University of Florida Professor of Biology Gareth Fraser:

“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.”

You can find the original research here.

Sam Helmy
Sam Helmy
Sam Helmy is a TDI/SDI Instructor Trainer, and PADI Staff and Trimix Instructor. Diving for 28 years, a dive pro for 14, I have traveled extensively chasing my passion for diving. I am passionate about everything diving, with a keen interest in exploration, Sharks and big stuff, Photography and Decompression theory. Diving is definitely the one and only passion that has stayed with me my whole life! Sam is a Staff Writer for