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Why Are Your Eyes on the Front of Your Face?

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Kids tend to be a fountain of probing questions that are difficult to answer. For example, why are your eyes on the front of your face? After all, alligators have eyes positioned on the tops of their heads. Most fish have eyes on the sides of their heads. It is all about biology. Eye placement plays an important role in how and what a creature sees.

Some people accept the ideas of the Big Bang and evolution. Others attribute the many complexities of nature to a creator. Regardless of your position, it is undeniable that eye placement is different among the many creatures that roam the Earth, fly in the air, and swim in the sea.

Predation Plays a Role

It is interesting to note that most of the animals we know as predators have forward-facing eyes. This makes sense when you stop and think about how predation works. Predators often have to chase down their prey. And even those that don’t chase still hunt. Forward-facing eyes are a necessity for successful hunting.

The downside is that forward-facing eyes don’t tend to be spectacular in terms of peripheral vision. If you are curious about it, you can run an experiment on yourself. Look straight ahead and, without moving your eyes, take a brief second to consider what you can see off to the sides. You’ll discover that without moving your eyes or head, your peripheral vision isn’t all that good. And even if you move your eyes as far to one side or the other as possible, you don’t gain much.

Alligator and Crocodile Eyes

Two exceptions to the predator rule are alligators and crocodiles. Their eyes are on the tops of their heads but facing sideways. That’s why these creatures look at other animals from a slightly sideways view. They do not look straight on because their forward vision is lacking.

One advantage alligators and crocodiles have is the ability to look up without moving their heads. They can move stealthily under the water and still see what’s floating on the surface or standing at the shore. This allows them to get close enough to strike without being detected.

Personification and Eyesight

Knowing what we know about animals and eye placement, it is rather interesting to observe what we humans do in our attempt to personify animals. If you need an example, use your favorite search engine to look for images of animals wearing sunglasses. You will see illustrations of all sorts of creatures, including alligators.

An alligator wearing a pair of front-facing sunglasses absolutely looks cool. But in reality, such sunglasses wouldn’t do the gator any good. Protecting its eyes would require a pair of sunglasses that wrapped around the head so that lenses were placed on the sides.

Personifying anything that is not human is an attempt to make it more like us. We do this a lot with animals to make them appear more friendly to kids. There is nothing wrong with it, by the way. The only point here is that sometimes our personifications don’t match up with science.

Speaking of sunglasses, we can protect our own eyes with sunglasses that offer UV protection. Salt Lake City’s wholesale sunglasses distributor Olympic Eyewear recommends a rating of UV 400. That’s the highest rating you can get, and it represents 100% protection against all UV rays.

As for why your eyes are on the front of your face, the question cannot really be answered. Regardless of whether you believe evolution or creation, there is no proof one way or the other. All we can do is observe and speculate.