A simple mollusk appears to use hundreds of eye-like structures made of a calcium carbonate crystal to scope out potential predators and to protect itself against being eaten.
The “eyes” of the three-inch-long mollusks, called chitons, have lenses made of aragonite, a type of rock.
It’s the first time scientists have found an animal that makes eye lenses from aragonite and not the rock’s close cousin, calcite.
“It’s surprising how these creatures make their eyes from rocks,” says Sönke Johnsen, associate professor of biology at Duke University.
“Most animals make their eyes from cells with proteins and chitin. But it seems like an easy way to evolve eyes by using what you’ve already got.”
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