These animals lack external ear flaps and are incapable of turning their hind-flippers forward, which makes them more cumbersome on land. This has been met with controversy and debate. Walruses are known to nurse their young while at sea. [127] Lactation in otariids may last 6–11 months; in the Galápagos fur seal it can last as long as 3 years. The Elephant seal is unaware that a Leopard seal is hunting. [176], Some species have become so numerous that they conflict with local people. [160] Seals have been kept in captivity since at least Ancient Rome and their trainability was noticed by Pliny the Elder. Females are generally slightly larger than the males on average. "Pinniped evolution", pp. They kill their prey with their long tusks and eat their blubber and skin. Leopard seals are the third largest seal in the world. [173], As of 2019, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recognizes 36 pinniped species. [105] Walruses, despite being specialized for feeding on bottom-dwelling invertebrates, occasionally prey on Arctic seals. [181] Wildlife officials have unsuccessfully attempted to ward off the sea lions using bombs, rubber bullets and bean bags. [166], Commercial sealing was historically just as important an industry as whaling. [50], On land, pinnipeds are near-sighted in dim light. Ringed seals build dens underneath fast ice for protection. While they are often food for sharks, they are also deadly predators, especially in the cold climates like Antarctica. [64] Blind ringed seals have even been observed successfully hunting on their own in Lake Saimaa, likely relying on their vibrissae to gain sensory information and catch prey. In mid February the most dreaded predators arrive: orcas. [163] Organizations like PETA believe that such operations put the animals in danger. [12] Phocids have thickened mastoids, enlarged entotympanic bones, everted pelvic bones and massive ankle bones. Prey that is too large or awkward is taken to the surface to be torn apart. In addition, the walrus lacks external ear flaps. Crabeater weddell leopard. Otariids rely on the movements of their heads and necks more than their hind-flippers during terrestrial locomotion. Odobenids further diversified in the middle and late Miocene. [26] A closer relative of extant pinnipeds was Pteronarctos, which lived in Oregon 19–15 mya. The leopard seal is known to prey on numerous other species, especially the crabeater seal. [177][178] Sea lions also conflict with fisherman since both depend on the same fish stocks. [156] One of the earliest Ancient Greek coins depicts the head of a seal, and the animals were mentioned by Homer and Aristotle. Visual displays also occur: Weddell seals will make an S-shaped posture when patrolling under the ice, and Ross seals will display the stripes on their chests and teeth when approached. [102] Some species are capable of inflicting damaging wounds on their attackers with their sharp canines—an adult walrus is capable of killing polar bears. [127] For most species, birthing takes place in the spring and summer months. [2] The common name "seal" originates from the Old English word seolh, which is in turn derived from the Proto-Germanic *selkhaz. The shark can take more damage, and deal more damage. [33][34] Despite a correlation between size dimorphism and the degree of polygyny, some evidence suggests that size differences between the sexes originated due to ecological differences and prior to the development of polygyny. Seals produce a number of vocalizations, notably the barks of California sea lions, the gong-like calls of walruses and the complex songs of Weddell seals. Photo taken at Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary (California), February 26, 2004. They were also trapped in nets. The Greeks associated them with both the sea and sun and were considered to be under the protection of the gods Poseidon and Apollo. Pups are more commonly taken by orcas, but adults can be targeted as well. [183] Critics like the Humane Society object to the killing of the sea lions, claiming that hydroelectric dams pose a greater threat to the salmon. In the 1980s and 1990s, South African politicians and fisherman demanded that the fur seals be culled, believing that the animals competed with commercial fisheries. [89], Pinnipeds may dive during foraging or to avoid predators. Its only natural predator is the killer whale. [120] Grey seal males usually claim a location among a cluster of females whose members may change over time,[121] while males of some walrus populations try to monopolize access to female herds. Their bodies are long and slender, and their heads appear to be almost too large for their serpent-like bodies. In this publication, he traced the history of names, gave keys to families and genera, described North American species and provided synopses of species in other parts of the world. [107] Species that breed on land are usually polygynous, as females gather in large aggregations and males are able to mate with them as well as defend them from rivals. In the mid-nineteenth century, the species was thought to have gone extinct until a small colony was found near the Yucatán Peninsula in 1886. [76], The main adaptations of the pinniped circulatory system for diving are the enlargement and increased complexity of veins to increase their capacity. They also lack supraorbital processes on the frontal and have underdeveloped calcaneal tubers. [113][119] In some species, including elephant seals and grey seals, males will try to lay claim to the desired females and defend them from rivals. Some anthropologists argue that the term "subsistence" should also apply to these cash-based exchanges as long as they take place within local production and consumption. [27], The lineages of Otariidae and Odobenidae split almost 28 Mya. The milk of these species consist of up to 60% fat, allowing the young to grow fairly quickly. 1005–1011 in Perrin, Würsig and, Lavigne, D. M. "Harp seal", pp. [127] The female rests at the surface with its head held up, and the young suckle upside down. [76] The heart of a seal is moderately flattened to allow the lungs to deflate. Although pinnipeds are widespread, most species prefer the colder waters of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. These primitive walruses had much shorter canines and lived on a fish diet rather than a specialized mollusk diet like the modern walrus. Seeks to relieve pressure on the side, but has a flattened center where refraction is nearly equal in water! 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