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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: The Flatfish's Wandering Eye
25 June 2012 3:07 pm
Halibut, sole, and flounder may be renowned in culinary circles, but they're also famous among evolutionary biologists. Unlike most vertebrates, the flatfish is profoundly asymmetrical, with both eyes on one side of its head. Scientists think the asymmetry arose as an adaptation to living on the sea floor, with one side of the body constantly exposed to potential predators. But how it happened has stumped researchers for decades. Did a single severe mutation misplace an eye, or did one eye migrate gradually over time? The answer may lie with Heteronectes, a 50-million-year-old fossilized flatfish (inset) whose discovery is reported online today in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Heteronectes has one eye on one side of its head (right), and the other near the top of its skull on the other side (left). Along with Amphistium, a contemporary of Heteronectes with a similar intermediately placed eye, Heteronectes seems to represent a transitional stage between symmetry and the lopsidedness of the modern flatfish. And that suggests that the flatfish's eye wandered over time.
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