Twin Grey Seal Pups a First in the Wild
DNA analysis confirms the unprecedented event.
Two seal pups have been confirmed by DNA analysis as twins, the world's first recording of twin grey seals born in the wild, BBC reports.
The unprecedented duo was born last year on November 28, on Horsey Gap beach, near the English coastal town of Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.
From their birth, the new seals were watched closely by the conservation group Friends of Horsey Seals. In early December the pups were abandoned by their mother, who stopped feeding them.
The Horsey Seals group arranged for their rescue and transfer to the RSPCA Wildlife Hospital, where the pair currently resides.
Norway's Institute of Marine Research performed the DNA tests and said the pups were the first known instance of grey seal twins being born in the world.
"Our pups will go into the history books as being the very first twin grey seals ever recorded," said Friends of Horsey Seals' David Vyse, in a statement.
Vyse said the twins -- dubbed C3PO and R2Ds -- would likely by set free, back on Horsey Beach, later this month, the exact date yet to be determined.
Soon after their entry into the world, the twin grey seals began to cause a stir, their area cordoned off to keep the public from getting too close.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is celebrating "30 Days of the Ocean" in the month of June, and in honor of the organization's hat-tip to life undersea, we take a look, this final June weekend, at some of the organization's captivating marine life snapshots. Here, the eyes of a queen conch (
) peek out from under its shell in La Parguera, Puerto Rico.
Kelp and sardines, just doing what they do, off Anacapa Island, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.
This school of permits contains 60-80 individuals, each more than a foot long. The school was observed in the Dry Tortugas, Florida.
A Caribbean spiny lobster strolls on the sea floor. This photo was shot during a 2010 NOAA expedition in the U.S. Virgin Islands to map underwater habitats and the marine life they support.
DNA testing confirmed that the eggs pictured here were those of a loggerhead turtle, a marine reptile species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The testing was done by NOAA's Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research, in Charleston, S.C., the only lab in the country dedicated to forensic analysis of marine species.
This manta ray coasts over a reef, in the process inviting much smaller fish to clean parasites and other debris off of it. Manta Rays are the largest type of ray in the ocean.
Make way for the balloonfish, also known as a porcupine or spiny puffer fish. As its name suggests, it will swell up like a balloon when attacked.
Here we see a close-up of brain coral in the Dry Tortugas, Florida.
Off the California coast, a group of elephant seals sleeps in the sun on a sand dune on Active Point, San Miguel Island, part of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.
With its distinctive reddish and white stripes, its gracefully flowing fins, and its menacing spine, not many fish can embody the beauty, mystery, and danger of the ocean quite like the lionfish. Although it's native to the Indo-Pacific region, lionfish were introduced to the Atlantic and are now found along the U.S. coast, from North Carolina to Florida, and in the Bahamas and Caribbean. The lionfish spells trouble for the balance of ecosystems and fisheries it invades, as it can out-compete native species for food and space. It lacks predators, has a voracious appetite, reproduces quicly, and is spreading fast.