Seal Adaptation and Evolution
Based on the scientific data we have, it is believed that seals evolved from land animals to what we know today. These creatures spend most of their time in the water, especially for hunt, but also some of it on land. They fact that they move on their stomachs doesn’t allow them to get anywhere fast on land. Yet when they are in the water, the design of their bodies definitely works to their advantage.
There is evidence to suggest that seals have been on the Earth for more than 15 million years. The remains that have been found show that these seals were once mainly land animals. However, over time their appendages changed into flippers so they could survive mainly in the bodies of water. Researchers believe that if the seals hadn’t been able to do so they would have become extinct millions of years ago.
There is no doubt based on DNA and other scientific methods that seals are definitely related to the early land ancestors found. Many of these early findings show that there were times when the seals didn’t have to evolve or adapt to any changes for a very long time. Then during other periods of time it seems like they have had to make many changes over the course of a very short span of time.
It may seem like we are just touching on the tip of what took place with seal evolution. You have to remember though that it does take time to find the verifications. It also takes time to develop great testing methods so that the information can be valuable and real instead of mere speculation.
Even though such changes, seals still have many characteristics of their early ancestors. This indicates that there evolution has been one out of necessity. It also indicates that such changes have been very slow to emerge. Many researchers wonder what future evolutionary changes are in store for the seal due to what is going on environmentally that is a threat to them at this point in time.
It is important to note that the evolution of seals doesn’t just suggest changes in very early times. There is plenty of evidence to suggest they had to evolve in the early 1970’s as well. This was due to their natural environment being destroyed and a lack of food available. It is believed that many of them followed the Gulf Stream in the water to reach Europe at that time. Others followed warm water currents into the Atlantic all the way down to the Caribbean. Others moved on down to Hawaii where they are very prosperous today.
Some would argue that this is migration rather than evolution. Yet for it to be migration, it would have to be done on a yearly basis. Then the seals would return to their location of origin. This isn’t the process though as they have remained in those new locations since they moved there. That is why such changes are categorized as evolution for seals and not as a migration pattern. Some species are migratory.
What we do know about seal evolution is based on science. There are still some good theories about it, but not all of it can be identified at this time. As more research continues though and other remains are found, we can continue to connect the pieces about seal evolution. This is a very fascinating part of history that you may want to follow in depth. As you learn more about early forms of seals you will come to appreciate their efforts of adaptation in order to survive as their natural environment around them forced them to evolve.