Elephant Seals: What We Can Learn From Them

Researchers are outfitting these ocean beasts with tracking devices to see how they survive.
3:00 | 04/02/13

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Transcript for Elephant Seals: What We Can Learn From Them
-- birds and bees are everywhere but it's like in California mating rituals -- a pillar of the economy. All the love scenes -- fill the big screen and the tabloids and those titles that don't appear on your hotel bill. And then -- all the elephant seals getting busy on the beach yes this. Fascinating and brutal display of animal love draws hordes of wide eyed tourist -- California shores every year so. ABC's own -- curious nick -- -- -- -- -- If -- drives and beautiful coast of central California the right time of year. You're in for a big surprise. You might -- some ugly prehistoric looking east sunning themselves. Having sex. And you -- under way at a state park in midwinter -- -- elephant seals like Daytona Beach post college kids and screen. In November the -- stars arriving. And -- those that win all the fights end up being out -- the palpable. Aaron that maybe fifty female seals truly banquets males -- what's now known as losers beat. The beaten back notice sneaker bills -- on the fringes of the -- hoping to cease and aging action. -- but missed extra. And humans -- to goal this isn't -- now. This bizarre -- wasn't -- reactions do you get from people who come here and CDs moments it is. Crests and great everything from. There and -- thing I've ever seen -- I really wanna take one home. Mother seals also gave Barrett here on the sand and their -- 28 days of intensive softly on 55%. -- Pups grow from sixty pence to 300 -- from the size of the seventh -- to the size of a linebacker in less than a month and and the concert band. -- -- Nobody's shown on how to survive -- instinctively. Go to the ocean and begin to hunt and instinctively knows -- always return to mate and -- On the same beach. There really are very few places where you can go and see an animal that does. The big chunk of its life right in front of -- so this is a gold mine for scientists to with the help of some. Hardware store toxic or -- all sorts of electronic -- -- gathering devices. To these beasts of the ocean. These animals are sitting on the -- sleeping on time. But then when we got our records of what they do it seemed went OK they deserve that some claimants under water to -- minutes on the surface great minds they don't stop. Not so long ago mankind nearly hunted these bizarre creatures out of existence. -- 1896. They thought they were extinct and there is a scientific expedition that went landed on -- that they island Mexico. And they found twelve animals on the beach and they shot all twelve them fortunately not all the elephant seals were on the beach that day. The Mexican government led the conservation charge and some elephant seals times back. One male could've been the father of all of them all -- their album -- that exist today these annals of being on earth for maybe three million years -- even been studying them for forty years. -- only just Baghdad these seemingly ungainly lumps slimmest Barak is the international dateline and dive as deep as a mild. Below the surface. So really wonderful animal because there's so many aspects. From human physiology and medicine to. Just basic understanding of how an -- -- and handles pressure elephant -- stopped breathing when they sleep. We and that's helping and -- studying humans sleep. And they can explore remote -- -- can take as an electronic sensors to places we. And never be. I think it's a lovable. Trying to figure that out. The answer is yes it appear an elephant seal this -- -- their evolutionary cycle has been such that even as the world has evolved their continuing on and that might. Be their biggest asset elephant seals have been doing this for millennia they could be Arab canaries in the mine shot. 5000. And beasts in the DC giving us an insight we meet into the health. Our planet I'm -- look for Nightline at the annual -- state park.

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