Researchers Filmed Grey Seal Clapping Under the Sea for the First Time


For the first time, researchers have captured a wild grey seal clapping underwater. The video recorded across the coast of Northumberland’s Farne Islands reveals a male seal was continually clapping its limbs to produce a strong bullet-like sound. A team of researchers from Australia’s Monash University has conducted a study published in the journal Marine Mammal Science. Notably, the video is a part of this study, which includes the seal is clapping as loud as a gunshot. Dr. Ben Burville from Newcastle University has taped the moment near the Farne Islands, neighboring Northumberland, in 2017. While detailing the amazing event, the researcher said he could not believe his eyes. Besides, the loud sound has had mystified Dr. Ben. He noted how a clapping sound could be much louder under the water without the existence of air.

The clapping of captive seals in aquariums and zoos is an ordinary thing. While researchers say it is the first time they have seen a wild seal clapping in such a way. We, humans, applaud to congratulate or express agreement. But in the case seals, clapping indicates something contrary to human ones. Researchers surmise male seals clap to show their power. They dominate through the gesture as a piece of the attempt to attract future mates and drive away rivals. The clapping action generates a strong high-frequency noise, which gives off a clear signal to other males in the region. Dr. Ben noted through this loud sound one can quickly asses the strength of its flippers.

Apart from this, the video reveals the male seal swimming near a female, including other males hiding nearby. Dr. Ben noted the immediate impact of the male’s clapping on the other males. Surprisingly, the rival male seals quickly spread to other places. Dr. David Hocking, the leading author of the study, said, the clapping seal discovery might not seem amazing. Many times, they are found clapping in aquaria and zoos. But at such places, trainers often teach them to clap, while the grey seals are performing it in nature of their agreement. The scientists say knowing more about the grey seals and other marine animals could assist protect the species from the destructive impacts of pollution.