Hammerhead shark closely investigates scuba diver as it swims near

Hammerhead sharks are beautiful animals with one of the most unique appearances in all of the ocean's animals. Immediately recognizable by their elongated and flattened head, hammerheads stand out and can be differentiated from other sharks easily, even from a distance. Scientists and biologists believe that the hammerhead's design has evolved for several different reasons. The wedge shaped head allows the hammerhead to manipulate prey, specifically stingrays, a popular food for these sharks. They are able to lift the wings of the stingray and bite them while avoiding the ferocious stinging tail at the same time. It is also possible that the head contains sensory receptors that allow the hammerheads to locate and capture prey. Having eyes located on the sides of the elongated head provides the shark with superior binocular vision and depth perception, an ability that is crucial for capturing swiftly moving prey. These scuba divers ventured to the outer reaches of the Galapagos Islands near Darwin and Wolf Island to see the amazing and awe inspiring creatures that live around these structures. Created 4,000,000 years ago by volcanic eruptions, towers of hardened lava have provided structure in an area where three underwater currents converge. The combined currents create an upwelling of nutrients and food that attracts smaller fish and marine animals, which in turn, attract whale sharks, hammerhead sharks, and Galapagos sharks. Divers sit on rock ledges at a depth of 20m (60 feet) to watch the current carry the marine animals past in what can be described as the world's largest and most spectacular iMax theatre. Hammerheads are also curious animals and they will often venture close to divers to investigate them and to look for opportunities to feed on the fish that also congregate near the humans. Hammerheads are fearsome beasts with a reputation as being aggressive and dangerous sharks, but the truth is that there have been only 17 documented, unprovoked attacks on humans in almost 500 years. Not a single one of these incidents has been fatal. People are well advised to respect all animal life, including sharks, and to remember that we are the guests in this underwater domain. With proper behaviour, the risk is very small.

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