Readers’ wildlife photos

We continue on with evolutionary biologist John Avise’s photos from the Antarctic and South Atlantic. Today we have mammals, and John’s captions are indented:

Here are some prominent mammals on South Georgia Island.

Antarctic Fur Seal (Arctocephalus gazella):

Another common mammal on South Georgia, the Southern Elephant Seal (Mirounga leonina):

Look at how big they are compared to the King penguin!



  1. Posted January 22, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    The adventure continues! I am enjoying it. Interesting how the paired hind limbs of a seal can be positioned to resemble the boomerang-shaped the tail flukes of a whale. Completely different structures. Convergent evolution.

  2. Joe Dickinson
    Posted January 22, 2020 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I’m thinking the third image is a harbor seal – no external ear flap. Does anyone know the relationship between Southern and Northern Elephant Seals? I presume they are sister taxa but regarded as species, sub-species or what?

  3. Jenny Haniver
    Posted January 22, 2020 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m enjoying these photos. Seals and their kin sure know how to chill at the seachore.

    Elephant seal about 12ft long, king penguin about 3ft. It’s not that I didn’t realize elephant seals were humongous but I didn’t know that king penguins were so small (even though they’re the second tallest) and most penguins are munchkins, to use an exceedingly unwoke metaphor. I haven’t seen any in zoos since I was a child and watching them in videos and movies for some reason gave me the impression that most penguins were tall, even taller than emperor penguins, like maybe 5ft or more.

    The last photo: a face only a mother could love but I can see why a mother would love it.

  4. Mark R.
    Posted January 22, 2020 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Seals are very expressive- those eyes! Thanks for these great photos of marvelous mammals (and penguins).

  5. Posted January 22, 2020 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Great work; thanks!

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