Elephant seals use internal ‘navigator’ to find food

(ORDO NEWS) — Elephant seals can roughly estimate how long it will take them to return to their beach while foraging, according to a recent study. And regardless of whether these animals have gone far or not.

Pregnant female elephant seals can determine how many days it takes them to return to their beaches, according to a study published in Current Biology. At the same time, it is known that they can travel distances of more than 10 thousand kilometers to find food.

In a new study, researchers used satellite data to study when each of more than 100 female northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) returned home after foraging. It turned out that the animals made decisions about whether to go further or not, based on the distance they still need to go.

Elephant seals use internal navigator to find food 2

It turns out that the elephant seals seem to be “programmed” to return to their original place, depending on their current location and on the time it takes them to reach the beach. In addition, it is important to note that pregnant females of these animals give birth within five days after returning to the beaches.

Scientists do not yet know anything about the mechanisms that influence this behavior of elephant seals. However, it is now clear that these animals have some kind of internal “navigator”, that is, an internal perception of space and time.

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