Thursday, 3 May 2012

Pinniped


Otariidae

California sea lions
Eared seals, also called walking seals or otariids, include the animals commonly known as sea lions and fur seals. These vocal, social animals are somewhat better adapted to terrestrial habitats, with rear flippers that can turn forward so they can move on all fours on land. Their fore flippers are larger than those of earless seals and are used as a primary source of propulsion and maneuverability in the water. Eared seals have external ears, as their name suggests, and more dog-like snouts, further distinguishing them from true seals. While sea lions are generally larger than fur seals and lack the dense underfur of the latter, the long-standing division into subfamilies (Arctocephalinae and Otariinae for fur seals and sea lions, respectively) is unjustified in light of genetic evidence suggesting several fur seal species are more closely related to some sea lions than other fur seals. The iconic ball-balancing circus seal is generally some species of sea lion, most commonly a California sea lion.

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