Harbor seals are pretty incredible hunters. Even when they can’t see or hear, they can detect fish in the area by using their whiskers to recognize the disturbances in the water. And recently, scientists have figured out why seals are so good at what they do: it’s all in the unique shape of their whiskers.
Instead of straight, cylindrical whiskers, the seal has wavy-shaped whiskers with ellipse-shaped cross sections. This is important because the shape of the whisker allows it to remain very steady and streamlined when the seal swims at high speeds. But when an outside disturbance, like a fish, is introduced into the water, the whiskers can detect even subtle changes in water swirls from a great distance away, making the seal an extremely effective hunter.
This new understanding of a seal’s whiskers could help engineers in the development of new technology. What do you think? How do you think this discovery could help us? Post your thoughts in the comments below.
To read more about this research, click here.