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Seals

For seals that hunt in the North Sea , finding prey in murky waters does not seem difficult at all. And it is because these mammals use their vibration-sensitive whiskers to guide themselves towards their prey almost as if they could see clearly through the water in which they move. Wolf Hanke and his colleagues at the University of Rostock, in Germany, have reached that conclusion after a study published in The Journal of Experimental Biology . Using oars of different sizes and shapes, the researchers found that it takes only a few seconds for the seals to recognize, from the wake they leave, what type of object or animal is moving around them . And that they are able to distinguish sizes with an accuracy of at least 2.8 centimeters, even with the eyes and ears covered. They also differentiate between flat and cylindrical shapes. Also, they are not fooled by the speed of movement .

According to Hanke, this ability is explained by the fact that seals must optimize the energy they use and distinguish despite the cloudy water between small and skinny fish – difficult to catch and with little food – and other meatier and more succulent pieces based only on the wake. left.

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