The seals pump air at high pressure into their lungs and respiratory passages when diving, and so pressurize them — hence no bends. In a similar process, they force air at high pressure into their middle ears to pressurize them and prevent the painful eardrums that can afflict humans in a scuba dive, and the “ear-popping” sensation humans have when descending into even the shallow water of a swimming pool. Yet as hardy as these creatures are, they won’t haul themselves onto rocks “to catch some rays” if the wind chill gets too bad, i.e., way below zero F., sensibly choosing to remain in the relatively temperate sea water. In fact, when one appreciates how well adapted and sensible seals are, it isn’t surprising that evolutionary evidence shows that they have been around for fifteen million years, despite being preyed on by sharks all that time, and in more recent times by humans.
Now one last word. If any of you can’t shake off the bias of speciesism, and still want to stare at the human denizens of our summer beach scene, you can do both! The seals are too sensible to be jealous. However, I can’t say the same for their human counterparts, so don’t tell them of your winter trysts. Let them remain blissfully ignorant in their up-west winter homes — after all, we’re all sophisticated adults, right?
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