- News Home
5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
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.
See more ScienceShots.