Elephant seals

From: Wesley R. Elsberry (welsberr@inia.cls.org)
Date: Fri Jan 28 2000 - 20:28:39 EST

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    Steven Jones wrote:


    SJ>It apparently also has an impact on life expectancy. FemalesSJ>
    SJ>live around 18 to 20 years, Le Boeuf says, but "no male I know
    SJ>of has ever lived longer than 14 years." ... [A good example
    SJ>of sexual selection. But whether it's doing anything for the
    SJ>long-term good to the species is unclear.]


    The northern elephant seal has passed through a quite recent
    genetic bottleneck. In the early 1900's, it was reported that
    only 8 northern elephant seals were left alive after years of
    exploitation in the fur trade. This news reached the
    Smithsonian Institution, which promptly dispatched a team...
    to obtain those remaining animals for their collection.
    Fortunately (for the elephant seals), the collectors managed
    to overlook some small group. Their descendents have
    proliferated since then, but the legacy of the bottleneck

    Burney Le Boeuf, BTW, is a cool dude. His research group at
    UC Santa Cruz has been doing outstanding work for decades on
    a difficult subject.


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