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Facebook Friends: Greece: Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monachus monachus)
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Number 0436 To celebrate the Daily Mammal Facebook page reaching 100 likes last week, I’m drawing a mammal from each country where one of the likers lives. This mammal, the Mediterranean monk seal, represents Greece, and it is one of the world’s most endangered mammals and the most endangered seal. Only about 400 Mediterranean monk seals are left, in fact, and the IUCN lists...

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Geoffroy Week: Boto (Inia geoffrensis)
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Number 0426 The boto, or Amazon river dolphin, was described and named by a French zoologist called Henri Marie Ducrotay de Blainville. The Eponym Dictionary of Mammals tells us that de Blainville “was one of Cuvier’s bitterest rivals.” I talked a little about Cuvier’s rivalry with Geoffroy in yesterday’s post about the lesser long-eared bat, and I wonder if de Blainville named this dolphin...

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Mammal Olympiad: Diving: Sperm Whale (Physeter catodon)
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Number 0415 Good evening, mammals, and welcome back to the Mammal Olympiad! While the humans are deciding who the best human athletes are, we’re looking at some other mammals that are even better athletes than we humans. Today’s event is diving. While human divers are judged on the technical perfection of the dive itself, we’re picking our mammalian champ on depth and and time,...

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Bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus)
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By Coco Hi everyone, these are some facts about Bearded seals: -Bearded seals are greyish white with some brown. -If they are stuck under ice they will ram their head into the ice to make breathing holes. -Bearded seals lay on the edge of the ice looking downward into water so they can get away from a predator if one approaches. -Bearded seals are...

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World Cup: Group E
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World Cup: Group E

Jun 29, 2010 by

Number 0328 Hi, mammals! I think I’ll be on track to finish the Mammals of the World Cup on schedule with the actual World Cup if I post all of Group E today and then get back to once-a-day tomorrow. (Whether I will succeed is still unknown, as life has been pretty stressful around here. But I’m trying!) Also, I’m really not doing my...

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Spinner Dolphin (Stenella longirostris)
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Number 0289 Spinner dolphins, who live in a great big swath of the world’s oceans (right around the middle of the earth like a belt), get their name from their acrobatic twists and rotations. They spin as part of their social interaction and probably as a way to communicate, or maybe to dislodge parasites, which is of course a much less romantic thing to...

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Daily Mammal Now: Cape Fur Seal (Arctocephalus pusillus)
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Number 0271 Daily Mammal Now is an occasional Daily Mammal feature in which we meet a topically newsy mammal that I hadn’t previously drawn. Now, let’s meet the Cape fur seal, or more precisely, the Afro-Australian fur seal, of which the Cape fur seal is a subspecies. Afro-Australian seals live, unsurprisingly, off the coasts of Africa and Australia, specifically southwestern Africa and southern Australia....

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Mammals of Alaska Week: Bearded Seal (Erignathus barbatus)
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Number 0266 We continue our visit with the mammals of Alaska today, with this guy, the bearded seal. Like the bearded pig, he’s really more mustachioed than bearded, but that’s okay. Bearded seals live throughout the arctic. They eat mostly benthic creatures, which means creatures that live at the bottom of the water. That’s probably what their long, brushy whiskers are for: helping them...

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Mammals of Alaska Week: Beluga Whale (Delphinapterus leucas)
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Number 0264 The beluga whale lives throughout the arctic waters of the world. It’s gray when it’s born and gets lighter until it’s five or six, at which point it’s completely white. Belugas have been called sea canaries because of their elaborate echolocations and vocalizations. Overall, they’re doing pretty well, population-wise, but some subpopulations are threatened, generally by hunting, climate change, habitat loss, or...

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Guadalupe Fur Seal (Arctocephalus townsendi)
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Number 0257 Between yesterday’s squirrel and this seal today, I’m thinking about just going ahead and declaring this Interesting Ears Week. The Guadalupe fur seal, as a species, has a dramatic story, full of hope and heartbreak. Once numerous from the Revillagigedo Islands of Mexico to the Farallones off of San Francisco, the seals were hunted so relentlessly in the 19th century that they...

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Commerson’s Dolphin (Cephalorhynchus commersonii)
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Number 0245 This dolphin is also called the piebald dolphin. You know who else is piebald? The horse in National Velvet. That’s where I first learned the word. It’s a lovely word. It comes from the magpie, which is black and white, and an old definition of bald that meant “streaked with white.” The Pied Piper of Hamelin is so called because of his...

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Mammals of Hawaii Week: Cuvier’s Beaked Whale (Ziphius cavirostris)
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Number 0214 Happy Inauguration Day! Today is the last day of our visit to President Obama’s (!!) home state. This funny guy is a Cuvier’s beaked whale, also called a goose-beaked whale. Even though Cuvier’s beaked whales are believed to be quite abundant, and even though they have an impressively large range, very little is known about them. They’re difficult to study because they...

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Mammals of Hawaii Week: Pantropical Spotted Dolphin (Stenella attenuata)
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Number 0211 Today we continue our look at the mammals of U.S. President-Elect Obama’s home state, Hawaii. While Hawaii is rather short on native land mammals, it enjoys an abundance of native marine mammals. One of these is the pantropical spotted dolphin, which is found in all of the oceans in the world between 40ºN and 40ºS. As its name broadcasts, it’s characterized by...

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Mammals of Hawaii Week: Hawaiian Monk Seal (Monachus schauinslandi)
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Number 0208 To celebrate the inauguration of President Barack Obama in a week, let’s meet some mammals of Hawaii, where Obama grew up. Hawaii’s status as a volcanic island chain means any species there—of fish, lizards, trees, whatever—had to arrive there from somewhere else at some point. As far as I can ascertain, only one land mammal can call itself a native Hawaiian, and...

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Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)
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  Number 0199 It’s whale-hunting season again. And for the most part, it’s minke whales like this one who are being hunted. Minkes are small baleen whales that live in every ocean and some seas. (There is some controversy about whether there is one minke species or two—or more—but I’m staying out of it for now.) They weren’t hunted until recently—when they were about...

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Mammals of Iraq: Finless Porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides)
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Number 0190 This littlest of the cetaceans lives in the seas of Asia and the East Indies, including the Persian Gulf. So named because it lacks the dorsal fin that other porpoises have, the finless porpoise is a slow-moving fellow who frequently finds himself, an innocent byswimmer, killed by errant fishing methods. Sometimes he’s hunted for his meat, his skin, or his oil, too....

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Mammalthon 2: Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)
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Here are two harbor seals that will be waiting for Heather when she wakes up because I like her twice as much! Don’t worry, there is almost no chance that they will fall victim to the Steller sea lion’s intrapinnipedal appetites. —————- Now playing: Nas – The World Is Yours via...

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Mammalthon 2: Dugong (Dugong dugon)
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Number 0155 These manatee relatives are big, slow-moving, marine vegetarians who swim around, dragging their flippers and munching on sea grass. In Living Mammals of the World, Ivan T. Sanderson tells us, “They are also rather easygoing, sluggish beasts that drift back and forth with the tides to feed; they used to be found in enormous herds and were so trusting in places where...

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Mammalthon 2: Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus)
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Kate, the mother of my dear friend Sarah (who should be graduating with her MFA any day now—congratulations, Sarah!), requested a Steller sea lion. The largest of all sea lions, Steller sea lions live along the northern Pacific rim. They’re carnivorous, and according to National Geographic’s website, they have been known to eat smaller seals. I also learned from that page that in the...

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North Carolina Week: Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)
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Number 0113 It’s North Carolina Week at the Daily Mammal, and in fact, next time you’re in Raleigh, you really should visit the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, where, in the Coastal Carolina area, you can see gigantic gorgeous skeletons of several whale species, including this one. The humpback whale’s Latin name means giant wing of New England. Isn’t that beautiful? The “giant...

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Back Orders: Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus)
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Number 0107 My father-in-law, Steve, requested a sea lion, and I selected the Steller for him. These big sea lions (males get to about 11 feet long and weigh around 2,500 pounds) live in the northern Pacific Rim from Japan up and around to Alaska and down to northern California. They are divided into two populations, western and eastern, with the eastern stock comprising,...

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Back Orders: Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris)
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Number 0103 Here is a funny fellow for Joanna. Sea otters, which live in the coastal waters of the Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea, have the thickest fur of any mammal. That’s because unlike other aquatic mammals, sea otters don’t have blubber and rely on their fur to insulate them. They spend most of their time on their backs. As Ivan T. Sanderson says,...

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24 Hours: Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)
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Number 0086 I’ve had a few requests for platypuses since I started this project, but I wanted to save it for a special occasion, which this is! While this platypus is most especially for Heather, it is also, in a way, for Allen and for Maggie. Maggie wants me to highlight the way the platypus produces milk. See, the female platypus does not have...

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24 Hours: Spade-toothed Whale (Mesoplodon traversii)
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Number 0081 Whale, whale, whale, what have we here? It’s a whale skull! Neil requested this spade-toothed whale, giving me its Latin name and apology. Turns out, no one’s ever seen this animal. All we know of it is what we can gather from three skull parts that have washed up over the past 130 years or so. It’s pretty amazing that there are...

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Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina)
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Number 0070 This harbor seal is for Jeana. Harbor seals, which are also called common seals, live throughout the northern Pacific and Atlantic coasts. They are born on land, and while babies are born with fuzzy baby-wool, they lose it a few hours after birth. Living Mammals of the World says that harbor seals are “sometimes quite pathetic in their attachment to human beings.”...

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Hooded Seal (Crystophora cristata)
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Number 0058 That’s not a ball balanced on this seal’s nose—it’s his nasal cavity! Males of this species (who can be as large as 900 pounds and 9 feet long) can inflate their nasal cavities out their nostrils. They turn inside out “like a glove’s fingers,” according to one description. They do this when they’re courting or particularly angry. That’s not the hood of...

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California Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus)
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Number 0039 This here is a California sea lion. California sea lions make me miss San Francisco, and then I get sad because I think of all the other things I miss about San Francisco. Strangely, male California sea lions weigh up to 1,000 pounds, while females weigh only 350 pounds tops! Yet the males, at 7 feet long, are only one foot longer...

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Amazonian Manatee (Trichechus inunguis)
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Number 0029 There are three species of manatee: Amazonian, like this guy, African, and American. Unlike the other two species, the Amazonian manatee cannot survive in salt water. Manatees are unusual because they’re water mammals like whales and porpoises—they spend a lot of their time sleeping in the water, coming up for air every 20 minutes or so—but they’re strictly vegetarian. The Amazonian manatee...

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Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus)
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Number 0008 You probably already know that the blue whale is the largest animal known to have ever existed on Earth. According to the American Cetacean Society, from 1868, when technology allowed whalers to kill the blue whale, until 1966, when the hunting of blue whales was banned internationally, up to 99 percent of the blue whale population was killed. In 1931 alone, whalers...

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