Thursday, 21 March, 2019

Scientists Look For Owner Of USB Drive Found In Leopard Seal's Poop

NZ scientists hunting for owner of USB after it was found frozen in seal poo Is This Video On A USB Stick Found In Frozen Seal Poo From 2017 Yours?
Jeannette Daniel | 06 February, 2019, 05:41

For more than a year a frozen slab of leopard seal poo, which is scientifically known as "scat", has sat in a Niwa freezer.

"It can tell them what these Antarctic predators eat, a little bit about their health and how long they may have been in New Zealand waters", NIWA said. And researchers would be happy to hand the drive over to the original owner, ideally in exchange for some fresh feces to study.

Two volunteers who take part in the not-so-glamourous work are Jodie Warren and Melanie Magnan.

Did you lose a USB stick while canoeing along the beaches of New Zealand? Once they sifted through the scat sample, they found the USB stick lodged in the poop.

"And, ironically, there are photos of sea lions at Porpoise Bay in the Caitlins and a video of a mom and baby sea lion frolicking in the shallows", NIWA said.

They had to let the stick dry out for a few weeks and when they did, it was still in flawless working order.

More news: Emiliano Sala latest: Crash investigators begin operation to recover body

About three weeks ago, volunteers thawed out the sample and discovered the memory stick, which was "in reasonably good condition considering where it had come from".

The video shows the curious sea lions swimming about and approaching the kayak before darting off.

"It is very worrying that these unbelievable Antarctic animals have plastic like this inside them", says NIWA volunteer Jodie Warren, who helped sift the scat with the stick inside. The kayaker is not visible, but the tip of their blue kayak is, as well as footage of leopard seals playing in the cold coastal waters, including a mother and its pup.

So far, no one has stepped forward to solve the marine mystery, though NIWA's widely shared posts did stimulate dozens of poop puns; at least one song about a constipated seal with lyrics set to Sting's "Message in a Bottle"; and numerous inquiries about the USB stick brand.

The USB stick owner can get their storage device back, but they'll have to do a favor for the NIWA: Leopard seal scientists would like more samples of seal scat.

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