elephant seal


Definition of elephant seal

: either of two very large seals (genus Mirounga of the family Phocidae) characterized by a long inflatable proboscis:
a : one (M. angustirostris) found in Pacific coastal waters from southeastern Alaska to Baja California
b : one (M. leonina) found in coastal waters of subantarctic islands and Patagonia

Examples of elephant seal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the ferocious arena of a northern elephant seal colony, where few males ever get to mate, jostling suitors often face bloody battles over access to groups of females. Chris Baraniuk, Scientific American, "Earthshaking Signature ‘Brawn Songs’ and Movement, Developed over Time, Identify Seals," 20 Oct. 2020 Casey suspects that the ruthless nature of male elephant seal society is what prompts the development of individualistic vocalizations. Chris Baraniuk, Scientific American, "Earthshaking Signature ‘Brawn Songs’ and Movement, Developed over Time, Identify Seals," 20 Oct. 2020 From the wild landscape of Big Sur to the Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery in San Simeon to agricultural walking tours in Monterey County, there’s plenty to see and learn when kids aren’t logged on to their home classroom. Larry Bleiberg, USA TODAY, "10 great places to road-school your kids, from the California coast to Cape Cod," 6 Oct. 2020 Each December, more than 3,000 northern elephant seals haul themselves out of the frigid Pacific waters onto the shores of northern California’s Año Nuevo State Park. Carrie Arnold, National Geographic, "Tiny number of elephant seal 'supermoms' produce most pups," 23 Sep. 2019 After months at sea, female and juvenile northern elephant seals haul themselves out of the frigid Pacific Ocean for molting season. Christian Heeb, National Geographic, "Picnic with a View," 27 Mar. 2020 Spotting rare and beautiful birds is thrilling, much like seeing elephant seals or whales. Nicholas Cannariato, New York Times, "How Bird-Watching Prepared Me for Sheltering in Place," 22 Apr. 2020 The canyon, carved out by its namesake creek, sweeps down in a green swath from the coastal mountains on the border of Santa Cruz to the beach, where colonies of giant elephant seals bask. Peter Fimrite, SFChronicle.com, "Big grove of old-growth Santa Cruz redwoods saved, helping species restoration," 30 Jan. 2020 As southern fur seal populations declined from between one and two million to fewer than a thousand animals, elephant seals attracted attention with their prodigious blubber, which could be melted down for lighting oil. Lucy Jakub, Harper's magazine, "A View to a Krill," 2 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'elephant seal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of elephant seal

1839, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of elephant seal was in 1839

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Statistics for elephant seal

Last Updated

20 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Elephant seal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elephant%20seal. Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on elephant seal

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about elephant seal

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