Secret is in the whiskers

Date: 1/8/2001

Scientists have discovered that the secret to how seals find their food lies in their luxuriant whiskers, which are sensitive detectors of motion in the swirling wake left by swimming fish. German researchers tested the ability of trained seals to follow the wake of a toy submarine by masking them and putting headphones over their ears. The motor of the sub was turned off so there was no sonic clue to its location. Once the headphones were removed, but the masks remained, the seals usually found the sub; when they were hooded, blocking the sensations picked up by their whiskers, they failed to find it.

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