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seal

Introduction

seal, carnivorous aquatic mammal with front and hind feet modified as flippers, or fin-feet. The name seal is sometimes applied broadly to any of the fin-footed mammals, or pinnipeds, including the walrus, the eared seals ( sea lion and fur seal), and the true seals, also called earless seals, hair seals, or phocid seals. More narrowly the term is applied only to true seals. The so-called performing seal of circuses is actually a sea lion.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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