Significance and antiquity of mummified seals in southern-western Victoira Land, Antarctica

Academic Field: 
The occurrence of of seal bodies in southern Victoria Land, their degree of preservation, the species represented, maturity, routes and manner of travel, the time and frequency of seal movements, and the antiquity of the remains are discussed. It appears that the extensive occurrence of skeletons of mummified femains of seals at far inland locations in Antarctica is limited to southern Victoria Land. The carcasses include crabeater, Weddell, leopard, and elephant seals. This is in marked contrast to the composition of the seal population of McMurdo Sound, which is almost entirely Weddell seals. Examination of a clearly defined trail left by a seal found dead on the ice of Lake Bonney in November 1966 indicated that the seal moved almost entirely in an undulatory manner and followed a route that was almost perfectly straight for at [5] least the last 3km. The movement of seals into the dry valleys appears to coincide with the early break-up of the nearby sea ice. Estimates of the ages of seal carcasses are highly divergent and unreliable. However, the evidence suggests emphasis on the recency of the remains rather than their antiquity.
Bibliographic Citation: 
Dort, W. Jr.Significance and antiquity of mummified seals in southern-western Victoira Land, AntarcticaInternational Council of the Exploration of the Sea: rapports et process-verbaux des reunion69:57-691975