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Making the Call

Under normal circumstances it's hard to see the utility of the bull elephant seal's exorbitant nose. It flaps and wobbles as the seal makes its way around the beach. There's a certain comedy value, to be sure, but it's only when you see two bulls facing off that the real power of the nose comes to the fore.

It's a built-in resonant chamber.

The bull raises its head and opens its mouth. The nose covers the upper jaw. Then he bellows.

As the call echoes through his nose, it's like listening to some ancient Victorian plumbing come up to speed, gurgling and roaring across the sands.

Resonant Cavity

The females and the pups just sleep on.

Piedras Blancas, California
January 2009


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 14th, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
That. That is a truly glorious metaphor.

Thank you for sharing.
Feb. 15th, 2009 11:30 am (UTC)
oh no-no; it's not a metaphor... they actually truly sound like plumbing!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )