A team of scientists recently took a closer look at the fossils of a reptile. This is how they discovered that it actually didn’t have only two eyes, but four. The name of this unusual izard is Saniwa ensidens, and experts discovered its remains about 150 years ago in southwestern Wyoming. However, according to a study which the journal Current Biology recently published, experts only now discovered its unusual trait, thanks to a computed tomography scanner. This creature is the only jawed vertebrate with four eyes that ever roamed the Earth.
According to Bhart-Anjan Bhullar, the co-author of the study, this discovery reveals how easy it is to assemble a new organ under specific circumstances. The general idea is that eyes are very complex structures. In reality, the brain can create more of them at all times. Researchers are now suggesting that these four eyes actually prove that lizards evolved in a completely different way than other vertebrates like fish and frogs. According to the study, that fourth eye only confirms that the third eye is actually a parapineal derivative.
The mysterious and fascinating four-eyed lizard
— Live Science (@LiveScience) April 2, 2018
Jawed vertebrates usually have a pineal organ. Its other name is ‘the third eye” and acts as an internal clock. According to lead author Krister Smith, this lizard’s third eye evolved from the organ called parapineal. In this lizard’s case, both the pineal and parapineal formed on top of its head. This means that it’s third eye is something completely different than other vertebrates’ third eye.
The tests through which the team reached this conclusion helped them understand that the pineal and parapineal eyes are not a pair of organs. Now, their plan is to conduct further research in order to find out how did that third eye develop. It’s an interesting discovery, and one that came completely out of nowhere.
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