Halichoerus grypus

The grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) is found on both shores of the North Atlantic Ocean. An isolated subspecies also exists in the Baltic Sea.

Marine mammals like whales and seals usually communicate vocally using calls and whistles. But a recent Monash University-led international study discovered that wild grey seals can also clap their flippers underwater during the breeding season, as a show of strength that warns off competitors and advertises to potential mates. This is the first time a wild seal has been seen clapping completely underwater using its front flippers. The research was published in February 2020 in the journal Marine Mammal Science.

Sketched from photos by Chris Bell, with permission.

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