Do Whale Sharks Really Have Bad Vision? Destiny The Nearsighted Animal Makes Her Debut In 'Finding Dory'
It's an odd fact of life that people wear glasses left and right, and yet we never think about vision problems other animals might be facing. Have a cat that's always running into walls, or a dog that always bangs his head? It's funny, sure, but it might be the result of an actual problem with these animals' sight. This is, essentially, the hardship that befalls Destiny, Dory's whale shark friend in Finding Dory . Destiny is an old pal of Dory's (though Dory doesn't remember her) and she has a habit of bumping into walls because she's nearsighted. Destiny vision problems, though don't keep her from teaming up with Dory and helping her on her journey to find her parents, but they might make you wonder if whale sharks really do have bad vision.
It turns out that Destiny's nearsightedness isn't just a funny plot device. Whale sharks, which can grow up to 65-feet in length and are known as the largest fish on Earth, have tiny eyes relative to their enormous size. There's a lot scientists don't know about whale sharks and their vision, but a blog post on the National Geographic website notes that a whale shark like Destiny has the ability to "close its eyes, rotate them, and even draw them back into its head for protection." They also come equipped with a "mirror behind the retina" that helps them see in the dark. That said, their eyes are so small (about the size of a golf ball) that scientists are unsure how much whale sharks rely on their sense of sight.
Luckily, Destiny's small eyes don't keep her from recognizing Dory when they cross paths at the Marine Life Institute in Finding Dory. Like her real life counterparts, Destiny is a pretty friendly and tranquil fish, and she recognizes Dory not as food, but as her childhood friend. Voiced by It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia's Kaitlin Olson, Destiny shares most of her scenes with Dory and Bailey, a beluga whale who also lives at the Institute. "We totally get on each other's nerves. I like to think I'm a shark, but Bailey calls me a whale, and I make fun of his head because it's gigantic," Olson told Entertainment Weekly of the duo's love-hate relationship.
Well, at least we know Destiny's nearsightedness also doesn't affect her ability to perceive the size of Bailey's head!.
Images: Walt Disney/Pixar; Giphy