Monday 3 February 2020

Wild grey seal caught ‘clapping’ on camera for the first time

The sound resembles ‘shotgun-like cracks’ and attracts potential mates

A wild grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) has been caught “clapping” on camera for the first time, making sounds that resemble “shotgun-like cracks”.

The large male was filmed striking its flippers together off the coast of the Farne Islands, near Northumberland, during the breeding season in 2017.

While captive seals can be seen clapping in zoos and aquariums, scientists say this is the first time one of their wild counterparts has been caught on camera performing the action.

While humans clap to applaud or express approval, in the case of wild grey seals , this gesture signifies quite the opposite.

Scientists believe male seals clap to demonstrate their strength, as part of an attempt to ward off competitors and attract potential mates. The action produces a “loud high-frequency noise”, sending out “a clear signal” to other males in the area.

In the video, the male seal can be seen swimming close to a female, with other males lurking nearby, before it starts clapping.

Dr Ben Burville, a researcher at the University of Newcastle, who took the footage, said: “The effect of the clap was instant and the rival males rapidly dispersed.

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