Eyes on the Sides: Nature's Fancy or Necessity?

Have you ever wondered why some animals have eyes on the sides of their head and how they would look if their sockets were in front? We have answers to both questions!
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Eyes on the Sides: Nature's Fancy or Necessity?
Ready to see some animals staring right at you with both their eyes? Here they are: 

Deer with eyes in the front
Pigeon with eyes in the front
Rabbit with eyes in the front
A bit of curiosity satisfied. Now let's pass on to more realistic details. 
Nature is wise. It has never created anything just because. All things have their purpose, even if it is not so obvious for us, humans.
When it comes to eye placement, there is a choice nature has to make. What do all of the animals above have in common? That's right, they look a little cross-eyed. We've exaggerated this feature a tad but this is actually what happens when both eyes are located in the front part of the skull - two fields of vision overlap, thus giving a slightly different perspective of the scene in front and adding depth to it. But all of the above-featured creatures do not need to see a voluminous picture. What they need is to see a wide perspective because all of them are prey animals and they need to see predators approaching from all sides including the back. Peripheral vision comes in especially handy when they are feeding.

Predators, on the contrary, have forward-facing eyes - they give them an ability to see and judge depth, which they use when tracking and pursuing prey. Certainly, not all predators have eyes in the front but those who do are mostly nocturnal - this structure of the skull lets them take in more light and see better. Primates have forward-facing eyes for yet another reason - they need to judge depths to make precise measurements and jump accurately to stay in the trees, otherwise, they would injure themselves or fall prey to other proud owner or forward-facing eyes.
So, if you would like a quick memo on who has eyes where memorize this:
"Eyes on the side, the animal hides. Eyes in the front, the animal hunts."
Now, why not take an Animals Quiz?
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