One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A large seal that breeds on the west coast of North America and the islands around Antarctica. The male is much larger than the female and has a very thick neck and an inflatable snout.
Genus Mirounga, family Phocidae: two species
- ‘A male southern elephant seal, like the juvenile in the foreground here, is unmistakable, with an inflatable nose and four tons of flesh.’
- ‘The northern elephant seal, Mirounga angustirostris, is known as the deepest continually diving phocid seal.’
- ‘It's home to the threatened southern elephant seal, the fur seal, two species of albatross and several species of, yes, penguin.’
- ‘However, the overall allelic diversity of the Mediterranean monk seal, together with that of the Hawaiian monk seal and that of the northern elephant seal, is among the lowest recorded.’
- ‘To a lesser extent harbor seals are eaten, and we suspect on at least one occasion the birds found and fed upon a dead elephant seal.’
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