Sunday, 6 November 2016

Ancient 'Seal' Used Pool-Ball-Size Eyes for Deep-Sea Hunting

By Laura Geggel, Senior Writer | November 1, 2016 11:02am ET

SALT LAKE CITY — About 10 million years ago, a seal-like creature likely dove to the dark ocean floor, using its large, pool-ball-size eyeballs to spot squid and other prey, new research finds.

The ancient creature is a newly identified species of pinniped, a group that includes animals that are fin-footed and semiaquatic, such as seals and sea lions. The seal-like creature is also the youngest known member of Desmatophocidae, a prehistoric family of pinnipeds that went extinct during the Miocene epoch (23 million to 5.3 million years ago), the researchers said.

"Desmatophocids are probably the only major group of pinnipeds that have completely gone extinct," said study lead author Robert Boessenecker, an adjunct lecturer in the Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. "We think of this one as the last straggler."

The newly identified species falls into the genus Allodesmus, but the researchers have yet to give it a species name. At 8.2 feet (2.5 meters) long, the seal would have been about the same size as a modern-day Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus).

No comments:

Post a Comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails