Letter | Published:

Longevity in the Grey Seal

Naturevolume 166pages7374 (1950) | Download Citation



HAVING had occasion recently to consult the late Major S. S. Flower's paper1 on the duration of life among mammals, I notice that data regarding the Phocidæ (apart from Phoca vitulina) are extremely scanty. The only information given about the grey seal, Halichærus grypus, is that one (sex unspecified) “is known to have lived for a very long time in an underground tank in the old Berlin Aquarium; it died about 1906, after, I was told, eighteen years in the Aquarium…. In Lincoln's Inn Fields, in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, is the skull, and imperfect skeleton, of an aged Grey Seal…from the original Hunterian collection, which was ‘stated to have been presented to Mr. Hunter by a Mr. Oxendon, probably the gentleman who went for two years in succession to the Orkney Isles for the purpose of shooting it. This animal had been known for thirty summers to come to the same rock, and lie basking in the sun.’”

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  1. 1

    Proc. Zoo. Soc. Lond., 1, 145 (1931).

  2. 2

    Zoologische Garten (N.F.), 8, 17 (1935).

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  1. Department of Zoology, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff



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