Friday, May 23, 2008

The loveable walrus

Dolphins are adored, whales revered, and seal pups make old Bond girls swoon. But walruses remain perversely, lumpishly obscure, known mostly for their sing-song linkage with a carpenter, an eggman and goo goo goo joob. Odobenus rosmarus is a magnificent creature, behaviorally, anatomically, acoustically and taxonomically in a category all its own. The walrus belongs to the pinniped suborder, the group of blubbery, fin-footed carnivores that includes seals and sea lions. Scientists are gathering evidence that the walrus is the most cognitively and socially sophisticated of all pinnipeds. Evidence suggests that the bonds between walruses are exceptionally strong: the animals share food, come to one another’s aid when under attack and nurse one another’s young. Walruses like to sing. Males woo females with lengthy compositions that have been compared in the complexity of their structure and phrasing to the songs of nightingales and humpback whales. Source: The New York Times (via Look at this)

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