Researchers have discovered how seals and sea lions evolved to swim, findings which could have potential implications for improving the design of machines such as underwater drones and submersibles. While biologists have long known that seals and sea lions have had two different methods for swimming, the reason behind this has been a mystery. By using cutting-edge engineering alongside footage of animal behaviour, scientists can now explain the origins of efficient swimming in the animals. Seals and sea lions are fast-swimming ocean predators that use their flippers to “fly” through the water. But not all seals are the same – some use their front flippers to swim, while others propel themselves with their back feet. Fur seals and sea lions have wing-like front flippers specialised for swimming, while grey and harbour seals have stubby, clawed paws and swim with their feet. A new study led by Australia’s Monash University and including scientists from London’s Natural History Museum (NHM) has attempted to understand the evolution of these distinctive styles to finally answer the mystery. “One of the key specimens used in this study was a female grey seal that was brought to the Natural History Museum after its remains were […]


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