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But they also considered an alternative hypothesis: the animals might have fled the island when people arrived, as has happened elsewhere in the North Atlantic. It turns out the animals belonged to a subspecies of Atlantic walrus, but their genetic signature within this subspecies is unlike any seen elsewhere. But they were unique. Instead they seem to have disappeared, strongly implying they were hunted to extinction.

Bastiaan Star at the University of Oslo, Norway, says the genetic data is intriguing. But he points out that it comes from mitochondrial DNA, which provides relatively limited information.

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In the autumn of , about walruses in Russia, having climbed up to rocky slopes overlooking a beach, just walked over the edge. Usually, gravity is no enemy of the walrus. When these animals encounter hard surfaces, they rise up to meet them, hauling their two-ton bulks onto floating pieces of ice.

A Russian navy boat was attacked and sunk by a walrus in the Arctic

When they fall, they flop off those low platforms into the accommodating water. Climb , plummet , cartwheel , bounce : These are not walrus-associated verbs. Nor is landing. The biologist J.

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Haldane once wrote a famous essay in which he described what large falls do to progressively larger animals. The team had heard hints about such falls, but were still unprepared for the shock of seeing them. Contrary to popular belief, not even lemmings dive off cliffs. Why would a walrus?


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Then why? What were walruses even doing on cliff tops in the first place? Our Planet offers a clear answer.

Walrus facts

In the summer, Pacific walruses forage for shellfish in the waters between Alaska and Russia, before hauling up onto sea ice to rest and raise their young. But in recent years, Arctic sea ice has been thinner and sparser. The —18 season marked a record low. Grizzly Bear. Lesser Prairie Chicken. Marbled Murrelet. Mexican Gray Wolf. Mice and Rats. North Atlantic Right Whale.

Pacific Salmon. Pacific Walrus. Pallid Sturgeon. Peregrine Falcon.


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Netflix's Our Planet: The Disturbing Walrus Scene - The Atlantic

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  4. Get updates. Donate One-time donation Monthly donation. The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of anywhere else on Earth.