Scientists say whale sharks have teeth on their eyeballs

Scientists say whale sharks have teeth on their eyeballs

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They are harmless to humans, but still … Teeth on eyeballs are quite metallic.

SCOTT TUASON / AFP via Getty Images

Sharks are terrible creatures In the Best times and the whale shark, though harmless to humans, is the tallest of them all as it can grow up to 32 feet in length. But scientists have just discovered a whole new layer of amazement (and possibly terror) about the largest fish in the sea.

Your eyes are covered with teeth.

The technical term is “dermal denticle”.

Dermal denticles are essentially tiny structures that look and feel like dandruff, but are actually teeth. Shark skin with its rough, sandpaper-like texture also consists of dermal denticles. These dermal denticles actually help reduce friction in the water so sharks can swim faster.

But despite the fact that sharks are covered in them, dermal denticles are on literal eyeballs is pretty unique. Scientists at the Okinawa Churashima Research Center in Japan, who wrote the study, say it is a “novel mechanism of eye protection in vertebrates”. The teeth are slightly different from those on shark skin because they are designed for “abrasion resistance”. Essentially, these teeth are meant to protect the whale shark’s eyeballs.

In addition to the whole thing “teeth on their eyeballs”, whale sharks also have what the Okinawan researchers describe as “a strong ability to pull the eyeball back into the eye socket”.

Both the retraction strategy and the whole thing with the teeth on eyeballs make sense when you consider that whale sharks actually have no eyelids. According to the research report, this adjustment is most likely only seen in whale sharks.

Quite sure that whale sharks have officially become one of the most metallic fish in the sea.

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