Thursday, 7 December 2017

The Freaky Secret Hiding Inside a Scallop's 200 Glittering Eyes


By Rafi Letzter, Staff Writer | December 2, 2017 09:10am ET

Gaze into the fleshy maw of the scallop, and lo, the scallop will gaze back — its up to 200 eyes glittering and alien, giving no sign as to what they think of you in their endless hunt for particles of floating food.

Scientists have known since at least the 1960s that scallops use mirrors at the backs of their eyes to reflect light forward and project images onto their double retinas. That was the work of Michael Land, a pioneer in researching animal vision. But Land could never figure out what those mirrors were made of, or how they worked; he guessed that crystalline guanine was involved, but all the microscopic techniques of the era dehydrated the mirrored tissue, destroying his samples before he could study them.


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