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Lined Chiton, Kirt L. Onthank

Wearing Hard Lenses

This three-inch mollusk, called a chiton, has hundreds of eyes arrayed across its tank-like carapace that are made of the same rock-like calcium carbonate as the rest of its shell. Duke researchers Daniel Speiser and Sönke Johnsen figured out that the animal can see potentially threatening shapes above it with these eyes, which probably don't see well enough to read a web page, but do apparently work just as well in water as in air. Though chitons are ancient, dating back 500 million years, they only developed eyes in the last 25 million years, making these hard lenses among the most recent eyes in the animal kingdom. (Photo by Kirt L. Onthank) Read more.