You May Also Like ...

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Creature With Three Eyes

Tuatara are unusual reptiles that live in the waters around New Zealand and can be found nowhere else in the world. Scientists call this species a sphenodon. The Tuatara, closely relative to lizards and snakes, are the most primitive of reptiles. The color of the Tuatara ranges from olive green to brown. The male Tuatara is bigger than the female and has a more prominent crest of spines along its back which he can fan out to attract females or when fighting with other males. These creatures have many interesting features, such as the pattern of their teeth. They have lower teeth that fit into a "channel" between two rows of upper teeth this is quite unique among all living species. Another interesting feature is that they have no eardrum or ear-hole, but they can hear through a middle ear cavity which is filled with loose tissue.

The most unusual feature about these creatures is that they have three eyes. They have two normal eyes and a third eye located at the top centre of the skull, which is covered with opaque scales and pigment. It is only visible in hatchlings, which have a translucent patch. Scientist’s don´t understand it´s function very well but they believe that it may help the Tuatara determine light and dark cycles. This eye is known as a parietal eye. It’s possible that the third eye of the Tuatara was inherited from ancestors that lived 200 million years ago, so the Tuatara is really a living fossil.

The Tuatara has been classified as an endangered species since 1895. These creatures, like many other New Zealand native animals, are threatened by habitat loss and the introduction of Polynesian Rat. Tuatara are amazing creatures, if we protect them they will survive and not become extinct. The name of this extraordinary creature is derived from the Maori language, which means "spiny back".

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...