Humans are the only extant members of the subtribe Hominina. Together with chimpanzees and orangutans, they are part of the family Hominidae. A terrestrial animal, humans are characterized by their erect bipedal locomotion. Early hominins—particularly the australopithecines, whose brains and anatomy are in many ways more similar to ancestral non-human apes—are less referred to as "human" than hominins of the genus Homo. Several of these hominins used fire, occupied much of Eurasia, gave rise to anatomically modern Homo sapiens in Africa about 315,000 years ago. Humans began to exhibit evidence of behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago, in several waves of migration, they ventured out of Africa and populated most of the world; the spread of the large and increasing population of humans has profoundly affected much of the biosphere and millions of species worldwide. Advantages that explain this evolutionary success include a larger brain with a well-developed neocortex, prefrontal cortex and temporal lobes, which enable advanced abstract reasoning, problem solving and culture through social learning.
Humans use tools better than any other animal. Humans uniquely use such systems of symbolic communication as language and art to express themselves and exchange ideas, organize themselves into purposeful groups. Humans create complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups, from families and kinship networks to political states. Social interactions between humans have established an wide variety of values, social norms, rituals, which together undergird human society. Curiosity and the human desire to understand and influence the environment and to explain and manipulate phenomena have motivated humanity's development of science, mythology, religion and numerous other fields of knowledge. Though most of human existence has been sustained by hunting and gathering in band societies many human societies transitioned to sedentary agriculture some 10,000 years ago, domesticating plants and animals, thus enabling the growth of civilization; these human societies subsequently expanded, establishing various forms of government and culture around the world, unifying people within regions to form states and empires.
The rapid advancement of scientific and medical understanding in the 19th and 20th centuries permitted the development of fuel-driven technologies and increased lifespans, causing the human population to rise exponentially. The global human population was estimated to be near 7.7 billion in 2015. In common usage, the word "human" refers to the only extant species of the genus Homo—anatomically and behaviorally modern Homo sapiens. In scientific terms, the meanings of "hominid" and "hominin" have changed during the recent decades with advances in the discovery and study of the fossil ancestors of modern humans; the clear boundary between humans and apes has blurred, resulting in now acknowledging the hominids as encompassing multiple species, Homo and close relatives since the split from chimpanzees as the only hominins. There is a distinction between anatomically modern humans and Archaic Homo sapiens, the earliest fossil members of the species; the English adjective human is a Middle English loanword from Old French humain from Latin hūmānus, the adjective form of homō "man."
The word's use as a noun dates to the 16th century. The native English term man can refer to the species as well as to human males, or individuals of either sex; the species binomial "Homo sapiens" was coined by Carl Linnaeus in his 18th-century work Systema Naturae. The generic name "Homo" is a learned 18th-century derivation from Latin homō "man," "earthly being"; the species-name "sapiens" means "wise" or "sapient". Note that the Latin word homo refers to humans of either gender, that "sapiens" is the singular form; the genus Homo evolved and diverged from other hominins in Africa, after the human clade split from the chimpanzee lineage of the hominids branch of the primates. Modern humans, defined as the species Homo sapiens or to the single extant subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens, proceeded to colonize all the continents and larger islands, arriving in Eurasia 125,000–60,000 years ago, Australia around 40,000 years ago, the Americas around 15,000 years ago, remote islands such as Hawaii, Easter Island and New Zealand between the years 300 and 1280.
The closest living relatives of humans are gorillas. With the sequencing of the human and chimpanzee genomes, current estimates of similarity between human and chimpanzee DNA sequences range between 95% and 99%. By using the technique called a molecular clock which estimates the time required for the number of divergent mutations to accumulate between two lineages, the approximate date for the split between lineages can be calculated; the gibbons and orangutans were the first groups to split from the line leading to the h
A feral cat is a ranging wild-living domestic cat that avoids human contact: it does not allow itself to be handled or touched, remains hidden from humans. Some feral cats may become more comfortable with people who feed them, but with long-term attempts at socialization they remain fearful. Attempts to control feral cat populations are widespread; some advocate trap-neuter-return programs to prevent the cats from continuing to breed, as well as feeding the cats and adopting out young kittens, providing healthcare. Others advocate euthanasia. Feral cats live outdoors in colonies: these are called managed colonies when they are provided with regular food and care by humans; the authors of an article published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery in 2013 found that rescuers and veterinarians in the United Kingdom tended to distinguish feral cats from domesticated cats based on traits such as their levels of socialization and confinement, on the amount of fear of, interaction with, dependence upon humans.
They found that rescuers and veterinarians tended to agree that feral cats were cats that had not had much human contact, would try to avoid humans, would prefer to escape rather than attack a human. However and rescuers disagreed on whether a feral cat would tend to hiss and spit at or attack a human during an encounter, disagreed on whether adult ferals could be tamed; the article provided a composite definition of a feral cat as a cat that would choose not to interact with humans, could survive with or without human assistance, would hide or defend itself when trapped rather than allowing itself to be handled. A survey of rescue and veterinarian facilities in the United States revealed that there no accepted definition of a feral cat exists. Many facilities used waiting periods to evaluate whether a cat was feral by observing whether the cat became less afraid and evasive over time. Other indicators included the cat's response to touch with an inanimate object, observation of the cats' social behavior in varying environments such as response to human contact, with a human nearby, or when moved to a quieter environment.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals defines community cats as either cats that were born and raised in the wild, or domestic cats that have been abandoned or lost and turned feral in order to survive. The Australian government categorizes cats who have no interaction with or assistance from humans as feral, unowned cats who rely on humans as semi-feral or stray; the meaning of the term feral cat varies between professions and countries, is sometimes used interchangeably with other terms such as free-roaming, alley, or community cat. Some of these terms are used to refer to stray cats, although stray and feral cats are considered to be different by rescuers and researchers. Stray cats are socialized cats who no longer live in homes, but could be reintroduced to a home environment. Farm cats are cats that live on agricultural properties in semi-feral condition, they live outdoors sheltering in outbuildings. They hunt vermin such as rodents and other small animals that live in or around outbuildings and farm fields.
The need to keep rodents from consuming or contaminating grain crops stored for human consumption may be the original reason cats were domesticated. They are still kept for the purpose of catching undesired vermin found on farms and ranches, which would otherwise eat or contaminate crops grain or feed stocks; some animal rescue organizations maintain farm cat programs, where they place cats in barns whose owners agree to provide basic care for the animals. The cats in these programs are feral cats who cannot safely be returned to their colonies, or cats who are semi-feral or otherwise difficult to adopt due to behavioral issues. Ship's cats are feral or semi-feral, were once common features on many trading and naval ships. Cats were brought aboard to catch mice and rats, which damage ropes and woodwork, eat cargo and foodstores, spread disease. Cats have been banned from some commercial and military fleets, though they are sometimes still kept by sailors. Cats in ancient Egypt were venerated for killing venomous snakes.
The spread of cats throughout much of the world is thought to have originated in Egypt. Scientists do not agree on whether cats were domesticated in Ancient Egypt or introduced there after domestication. Phoenician traders brought them to Europe for control of rat populations, monks brought them further into Asia. Roman armies contributed spreading cats and brought them to England. Since cats continued to be introduced to new countries by sailors or settlers. Cats are thought to have been introduced to Australia in either the 1600s by Dutch shipwrecks, or the late 1700s by English settlers; these domesticated cats began to form feral populations after their offspring began living away from human contact. In the 19th and 20th centuries, several cat specimens were described as wildcat subspecies that are considered feral cat populations today: Felis lybica var sarda proposed by Fernand Lataste in 1885 was a skin and a skull of a male cat from Sarrabus in Sardinia that looked like an African wildcat, but was more reddish and brown and had longer hair on the back.
In the 1980s, Colin Groves assessed values of Schauenberg's index of cat skulls of zoological specimens that originated in the Mediterranean islands. Based on these values, he concluded that
International Union for Conservation of Nature
The International Union for Conservation of Nature is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It is involved in data gathering and analysis, field projects and education. IUCN's mission is to "influence and assist societies throughout the world to conserve nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable". Over the past decades, IUCN has widened its focus beyond conservation ecology and now incorporates issues related to sustainable development in its projects. Unlike many other international environmental organisations, IUCN does not itself aim to mobilize the public in support of nature conservation, it tries to influence the actions of governments and other stakeholders by providing information and advice, through building partnerships. The organization is best known to the wider public for compiling and publishing the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which assesses the conservation status of species worldwide.
IUCN has a membership of over 1400 non-governmental organizations. Some 16,000 scientists and experts participate in the work of IUCN commissions on a voluntary basis, it employs 1000 full-time staff in more than 50 countries. Its headquarters are in Switzerland. IUCN has observer and consultative status at the United Nations, plays a role in the implementation of several international conventions on nature conservation and biodiversity, it was involved in establishing the World Wide Fund for Nature and the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. In the past, IUCN has been criticized for placing the interests of nature over those of indigenous peoples. In recent years, its closer relations with the business sector have caused controversy. IUCN was established in 1948, it was called the International Union for the Protection of Nature and the World Conservation Union. Establishment IUCN was established on 5 October 1948, in Fontainebleau, when representatives of governments and conservation organizations signed a formal act constituting the International Union for the Protection of Nature.
The initiative to set up the new organisation came from UNESCO and from its first Director General, the British biologist Julian Huxley. The objectives of the new Union were to encourage international cooperation in the protection of nature, to promote national and international action and to compile and distribute information. At the time of its founding IUPN was the only international organisation focusing on the entire spectrum of nature conservation Early years: 1948–1956 IUPN started out with 65 members, its secretariat was located in Brussels. Its first work program focused on saving species and habitats and applying knowledge, advancing education, promoting international agreements and promoting conservation. Providing a solid scientific base for conservation action was the heart of all activities. IUPN and UNESCO were associated, they jointly organized the 1949 Conference on Protection of Nature. In preparation for this conference a list of gravely endangered species was drawn up for the first time, a precursor of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
In the early years of its existence IUCN depended entirely on UNESCO funding and was forced to temporarily scale down activities when this ended unexpectedly in 1954. IUPN was successful in engaging prominent scientists and identifying important issues such as the harmful effects of pesticides on wildlife but not many of the ideas it developed were turned into action; this was caused by unwillingness to act on the part of governments, uncertainty about the IUPN mandate and lack of resources. In 1956, IUPN changed its name to International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Increased profile and recognition: 1956–1965 In the 1950s and 1960s Europe entered a period of economic growth and formal colonies became independent. Both developments had impact on the work of IUCN. Through the voluntary involvement of experts in its Commissions IUCN was able to get a lot of work done while still operating on a low budget, it established links with the Council of Europe. In 1961, at the request of United Nations Economic and Social Council, the United Nations Economic and Social Council, IUCN published the first global list of national parks and protected areas which it has updated since.
IUCN's best known publication, the Red Data Book on the conservation status of species, was first published in 1964. IUCN began to play a part in the development of international treaties and conventions, starting with the African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Environmental law and policy making became a new area of expertise. Africa was the focus of many of the early IUCN conservation field projects. IUCN supported the ‘Yellowstone model’ of protected area management, which restricted human presence and activity in order to protect nature. IUCN and other conservation organisations were criticized for protecting nature against people rather than with people; this model was also applied in Africa and played a role in the decision to remove the Maasai people from Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. To establish a stable financial basis for its work, IUCN participated in setting up the World Wildlife Fund
The humpback whale is a species of baleen whale. One of the larger rorqual species, adults range in length from 12–16 m and weigh around 25–30 metric tons; the humpback has a distinctive body shape, with a knobbly head. It is known for breaching and other distinctive surface behaviors, making it popular with whale watchers. Males produce a complex song lasting 10 to 20 minutes, its purpose is not clear. Found in oceans and seas around the world, humpback whales migrate up to 25,000 km each year, they feed in polar waters, migrate to tropical or subtropical waters to breed and give birth and living off their fat reserves. Their diet consists of krill and small fish. Humpbacks have a diverse repertoire of feeding methods, including the bubble net technique. Like other large whales, the humpback was a target for the whaling industry. Once hunted to the brink of extinction, its population fell by an estimated 90% before a 1966 moratorium. While stocks have recovered to some 80,000 animals worldwide, entanglement in fishing gear, collisions with ships and noise pollution continue to impact on the species.
Humpback whales are rorquals, members of the Balaenopteridae family that includes the blue, Bryde's, sei and minke whales. The rorquals are believed to have diverged from the other families of the suborder Mysticeti as long ago as the middle Miocene era. However, it is not known. Though related to the giant whales of the genus Balaenoptera, the humpback is the sole member of its genus. Recent DNA sequencing has indicated the humpback is more related to certain rorquals the fin whale and the gray, than it is to others such as the minke; the humpback was first identified as baleine de la Nouvelle Angleterre by Mathurin Jacques Brisson in his Regnum Animale of 1756. In 1781, Georg Heinrich Borowski described the species, converting Brisson's name to its Latin equivalent, Balaena novaeangliae. In 1804, Lacépède shifted the humpback from the family Balaenidae. In 1846, John Edward Gray created the genus Megaptera, classifying the humpback as Megaptera longipinna, but in 1932, Remington Kellogg reverted the species names to use Borowski's novaeangliae.
The common name is derived from the curving of their backs. The generic name Megaptera from the Greek mega-/μεγα- "giant" and ptera/πτερα "wing", refers to their large front flippers; the specific name means "New Englander" and was given by Brisson due to regular sightings of humpbacks off the coast of New England. Genetic research in mid-2014 by the British Antarctic Survey confirmed that the separate populations in the North Atlantic, North Pacific and Southern Oceans are more distinct than thought; some biologists believe that these should be regarded as separate subspecies and that they are evolving independently. Humpbacks can be identified by their stocky body, obvious hump, black dorsal coloring and elongated pectoral fins; the head and lower jaw are covered with knobs called tubercles, which are hair follicles and are characteristic of the species. The fluked tail, which rises above the surface when diving, has wavy trailing edges. Humpbacks have 270 to 400 darkly colored baleen plates on each side of their mouths.
The plates measure from 18 in in the front to about 3 ft in the back, behind the hinge. Ventral grooves run from the lower jaw to the umbilicus, about halfway along the underside of the body; these grooves are less numerous than in other rorquals, but are wide. The female has a hemispherical lobe about 15 cm in diameter in her genital region; this visually distinguishes females. The male's penis remains hidden in the genital slit. Grown males average 13–14 m. Females are larger at 15–16 m; the largest humpback on record, according to whaling records, was a female killed in the Caribbean. The largest measured by the scientists of the Discovery Committee were a female 14.9 m and a male 14.75 m, although this was out of a sample size of only 63 whales. Body mass is in the range of 25–30 metric tons, with large specimens weighing over 40 metric tons. Newborn calves are the length of their mother's head. At birth, calves measure 6 m at 2 short tons, they nurse for about six months mix nursing and independent feeding for six months more.
Humpback milk is 50 % pink in color. Females reach sexual maturity at age five. Males reach sexual maturity around seven years of age; the long black and white tail fin can be up to a third of body length. Several hypotheses attempt to explain the humpback's pectoral fins, which are proportionally the longest fins of any cetacean; the higher maneuverability afforded by long fins and the usefulness of the increased surface area for temperature control when migrating between warm and cold climates supported this adaptation. The varying patterns on the tail flukes distinguish individual animals. A study using data from 1973 to 1998 on whales in the North Atlantic gave researchers detailed information on gestation times, growth rates and calving periods, as well as allowing
Rorquals are the largest group of baleen whales, a family with nine extant species in two genera. They include what is believed to be the largest animal that has lived, the blue whale, which can reach 180 tonnes, the fin whale, which reaches 120 tonnes. Rorquals take their name from French rorqual, which derives from the Norwegian word røyrkval, meaning "rorqual-whale"; the family name Balaenopteridae is from Balaenoptera. All members of the family have a series of longitudinal folds of skin running from below the mouth back to the navel; these furrows allow the mouth to expand immensely when feeding, "permitting them to engorge great mouthfuls of food and water in a single gulp". These "pleated throat grooves" distinguish balaenopterids from other whales. Rorquals are slender and streamlined in shape, compared with their relatives the right whales, most have narrow, elongated flippers, they have a dorsal fin, situated about two-thirds the way back. Rorquals feed by gulping in water, pushing it out through the baleen plates with their tongue.
They feed on crustaceans, such as krill, but on various fish, such as herrings and sardines. Gestation in rorquals lasts 11–12 months, so that both mating and birthing occur at the same time of year. Cows give birth to a single calf, weaned after 6–12 months, depending on species. Of some species, adults live in "pods" of two to five individuals. For example, humpback whales have a fluid social structure engaging behavioral practices in a pod, other times being solitary. Distribution is worldwide: the blue, fin and the sei whales are found in all major oceans. Most rorquals are oceanic: the exceptions are Bryde's whale and Eden's whale and the humpback whale, it is the largest and the smallest types — the blue whale and Antarctic minke whale — that occupy the coldest waters in the extreme south. Within each species, the largest individuals tend to approach the poles more while the youngest and fittest ones tend to stay in warmer waters before leaving on their annual migration. Most rorquals breed in tropical waters during the winter migrate back to the polar feeding grounds rich in plankton and krill for the short polar summer.
As well as other methods, rorquals obtain prey by lunge-feeding on bait balls. Lunge feeding is an extreme feeding method, where the whale accelerates to a high velocity and opens its mouth to a large gape angle; this generates the water pressure required to expand its mouth and engulf and filter a huge amount of water and fish. Rorquals have a number of anatomical features that enable them to do this, including bilaterally separate mandibles, throat pleats that can expand to huge size, a unique sensory organ consisting of a bundle of mechanoreceptors that helps their brains to coordinate the engulfment action. Furthermore, their large nerves are flexible so that they can recoil. In fact, they give rorquals the ability to open their mouths so wide that they would be capable of taking in water at volumes greater than their own sizes; these nerves are packed into a central core area, surrounded by elastin fibers. Opening the mouth causes the nerves to unfold, they snap back after the mouth is closed.
According to Potvin and Goldbogen, lunge feeding in rorquals represents the largest biomechanical event on Earth. The rorqual family Balaenopteridae was split into two subfamilies, the Balaenopterinae and the Megapterinae, with each subfamily containing one genus and Megaptera, respectively. However, the phylogeny of the various rorqual species shows the current division is paraphyletic, in 2005, the division into subfamilies was dropped; the discovery of a new species of balaenopterid, Omura's whale, was announced in November 2003, which looks similar to, but smaller than, the fin whale. Family Balaenopteridae: Rorquals†Miobalaenoptera †Archaebalaenoptera Balaenoptera Fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus Northern fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus physalus Southern fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus quoyi Sei whale, Balaenoptera borealis Bryde's whale, Balaenoptera brydei Eden's whale, Balaenoptera edeni Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus Pygmy blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda Common minke whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata Antarctic minke whale, Balaenoptera bonaerensis Omura's whale, Balaenoptera omurai †Cetotheriophanes †Diunatans †Incakujira Megaptera Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae †Parabalaenoptera †Plesiobalaenoptera †Plesiocetus †Praemegaptera †Protororqualus In 2012, the following alternate taxonomy was presented: Balaenoptera Fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus Megaptera Humpback whale, Megaptera novaeangliae Pterobalaena Common minke whale, Pterobalaena
The order Insectivora is a now-abandoned biological grouping within the class of mammals. Some species have now been moved out, leaving the remaining ones in the order Eulipotyphla, within the larger clade Laurasiatheria, which makes up one of the most basic clades of placental mammals. In the past, the grouping was used as a wastebasket taxon for a variety of small to small unspecialised mammals that feed upon insects. Since any primitive-looking fossil group of placental mammals was assigned to this order for convenience, it was held to constitute the basal stock out of which other placental orders had evolved. Therefore, at its widest extent, the order Insectivora represented an evolutionary grade rather than a clade. Taxonomy has been refined in recent years, treeshrews, elephant shrews, colugos have now been placed in separate orders, as have many fossil groups that were included here. For some time it was held that the remaining insectivoran families constituted a monophyletic grouping, or clade, to which the name Lipotyphla had long been applied.
However, molecular evidence indicated that Chrysochloridae and Tenrecidae should be separated as a new order Afrosoricida. Erinaceidae was also split off into a separate order from the remainder, comprising the families Soricidae, Talpidae and Nesophontidae; these two orders replaced Insectivora. This scheme was undermined when molecular studies indicated that Soricomorpha is paraphyletic, because Soricidae shared a more recent common ancestor with Erinaceidae than with other soricomorphs. However, the combination of Soricidae and Erinaceidae, referred to as order Eulipotyphla, has been shown to be monophyletic. ORDER EULIPOTYPHLA Family Erinaceidae Subfamily Erinaceinae: hedgehogs Subfamily Hylomyinae: moonrats and gymnures Family Soricidae Subfamily Crocidurinae: white-toothed shrews Subfamily Soricinae: red-toothed shrews Subfamily Myosoricinae: African white-toothed shrews Family Talpidae Subfamily Desmaninae: desmans Subfamily Talpinae: moles Subfamily Uropsilinae: shrew moles Family Solenodontidae: solenodons Family Nesophontidae: extinct West Indian shrewsFamily-level cladogram of extant insectivoran relationships, following Roca et al.: These families have been placed within Insectivora in the past: Family Chrysochloridae Family Tenrecidae Family Macroscelididae Family Tupaiidae Family Cynocephalidae Not to be confused with insectivores, many of which do not belong to Eulipotyphla or the other taxa included within Insectivora.
Afroinsectiphilia Lipotyphla, a taxon proposed to replace part of Insectivora but superseded by Eulipotyphla
Mediterranean monk seal
The Mediterranean monk seal is a monk seal belonging to the family Phocidae. As of 2015, it is estimated that fewer than 700 individuals survive in three or four isolated subpopulations in the Mediterranean, in the Aegean Sea, the archipelago of Madeira and the Cabo Blanco area in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean, it is believed to be the world's rarest pinniped species. This species of seal grows from 80 centimetres long at birth up to an average of 2.4 metres as adults. Males weigh an average of 320 kilograms and females weigh 300 kilograms, with overall weight ranging from 240–400 kilograms, they are thought to live up to 45 years old. The monk seals' pups are about 1 metre long and weigh around 15–18 kilograms, their skin being covered by 1–1.5 centimeter-long, dark brown to black hair. On their bellies, there is a white stripe, which differs in shape between the two sexes. In females the stripe is rectangular in shape whereas in males it is butterfly shaped; this hair is replaced after six to eight weeks by the usual short hair adults carry.
Pregnant Mediterranean monk seals use inaccessible undersea caves while giving birth, though historical descriptions show they used open beaches until the 18th century. There are eight pairs of teeth in both jaws. Believed to have the shortest hair of any pinniped, the Mediterranean monk seal fur is black or brown to dark grey, with a paler belly, close to white in males; the snout is short broad and flat, with pronounced, long nostrils that face upward, unlike their Hawaiian relative, which tend to have more forward nostrils. The flippers are short, with small slender claws. Monk seals have two pairs of retractable abdominal teats, unlike most other pinnipeds. Little is known of this seal's reproduction. Scientists have suggested that they are polygynous, with males being territorial where they mate with females. Although there is no breeding season since births take place year round, there is a peak in October and November; this is the time when caves are prone to wash out due to high surf or storm surge, which causes high mortality rates among monk seal pups at the key Cabo Blanco colony.
According to the IUCN species factsheet, "pup survival is low. Survival of pups born from September to January is 29%; this low survival rate is associated with mortality caused by severe storms, high swells and tides, but impoverished genetic variability and inbreeding may be involved. Pups born during the rest of the year had a survival rate of 71%". In 2008, lactation was reported in an open beach, the first such record since 1945, which could suggest the seal could begin feeling safe to return to open beaches for breeding purposes in Cabo Blanco. Pups make first contact with the water two weeks after their birth and are weaned at around 18 weeks of age. Most individuals are believed to reach maturity at four years of age; the gestation period lasts close to a year. However, it is believed to be common among monk seals of the Cabo Blanco colony to have a gestation period lasting longer than a year. Mediterranean monk seals are diurnal and feed on a variety of fish and mollusks octopus and eels, up to 3 kg per day.
They are known to forage at depths up to 250 meters, with an average depth varying between specimens. Monk seals prefer hunting in wide-open spaces, they are successful bottom-feeding hunters. The habitat of this pinniped has changed over the years. In ancient times, up until the 20th century, Mediterranean monk seals had been known to congregate, give birth, seek refuge on open beaches. In more recent times, they have left their former habitat and now only use sea caves for these activities; these caves are inaccessible to humans. Their caves have underwater entries and their caves are positioned along remote or rugged coastlines. Scientists have confirmed this is a recent adaptation, most due to the rapid increase in human population and industry, which have caused increased disturbance by humans and the destruction of the species' natural habitat; because of these seals' shy nature and sensitivity to human disturbance, they have adapted to try to avoid contact with humans within the last century, even earlier.
The coastal caves are, dangerous for newborns, are causes of major mortality among pups when sea storms hit the caves. This earless seal's former range extended throughout the Northwest Atlantic Africa and Black Sea, including all offshore islands of the Mediterranean, into the Atlantic and its islands: Canary, Ilhas Desertas, Porto Santo... as far west as the Azores. Vagrants could be found as far south as Gambia and the Cape Verde islands, as far north as continental Portugal and Atlantic France. Several causes provoked a dramatic population decrease over time: on one hand, commercial hunting and, during the 20th century, eradication by fishermen, who used to consider it a pest due to the damage the seal causes to fishing nets when it preys on fish caught in them; some seals have survived in the S