Well early this morning in the middle of the night I discovered a similar image to this one on my desktop wallpaper. I searched for it on Google lens and came across another (above) which appears both at Facebook and in an article re the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Surprise wild otter birth gives Monterey Bay Aquarium an adorable, temporary attraction (sfgate.com) Surprisingly – not – the original image is cited beneath the image.
Sea Otters – about
Aside from living both in salt and fresh water, being wooly or sleek, just what is an otter? Sea Otter Facts | SeaOtters.com ( cheat if you must but I am going to look for evolutionarily type information)
Most of my information is paraphrased from this blog https://evolutionaryedges.weebly.com/the-sea-otter/evolution-of-the-sea-otter
Before we explore the history of sea otters, here is another link to a short presentation that offers a brief introduction into their anatomy;
The theme of evolution is so vast that even though you narrow it down to one particular family of species, there is an intricate history waiting to be discovered. As I have already said(Andrew), I wanted to investigate and collect data on the evolution of the sea otter. I’m curious to learn how they got to where they are now.
Sea otters are a member of the Mustelidae tribe, which comprises weasels, badgers, minks, and, of course, otters. Since sea otters are members of the Enhydra family and the Lutris tribe, their scientific name is Enhydra lutris.
The origins of sea otters can be traced back to about 60 million years ago, when Cetaceans first appeared. Dolphins and whales were among the Cetaceans, which started to transform into smaller creatures with slimmer bodies. They also developed tails and back flippers, which dolphins and whales lacked. These Cetaceans evolved over the millennia, modifying their form and creating what we call the Sirenians.
The Sirenians were animals such as manatees and dugongs which came into play about 55-50 million years ago. They had a pair of front flippers, but no rear limbs, They have remained the only fully aquatic herbivores in the world.
Then, 20-25 million years ago, these Sirenians branched off into Pinnipeds, many of which were carnivores including fur seals and sea lions.
And most recently, around 5-7 million years ago, Fissipeds appeared; these include creatures such as sea otters and polar bears. Notice that through the process the evolution of Cetaceans, to Sirenians, to Pinnipeds, followed by the Fissipeds; marine animals, such as whales, evolved into terrestrial animals such as polar bears.
Paleontologists discovered geological evidence that the Enhydra branch evolved after the population split by space and became reproductively dispersed in the North Pacific Ocean around 2 million years ago. The modern sea otter (Enhydra lutris) originated in Russia and later spread across Alaska’s mainland and along the North American coast.
The fossil of a sea otter has been found in the Central Anatolian province of Çankırı, revealing 8 million years of animal life in the area.
The excavations, headed by Professor Ayla Sevim Erol of the Anthropology Department at Ankara University, have been ongoing in the area for the last 17 years.
“The number of species discovered reached 20 with the recent fossils that were discovered. Looking at these fossils, we can say that the region is 8 million years old,” Erol said.
“Sea otters live in watery and forestry areas. In reality, we can say that the region that we define as being susceptible to droughts was actually not at all. This fossil shows that this place was a forested area, and this came as a complete surprise to us,” she added.https://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/sea-otter–fossil-found-in-cankiri–71346
Today, sea otters are thought to have developed into two groups, one of which consists of sea otters that mainly eat fish and have evolved sharp teeth for fast cutting. The other group consists of animals that eat mostly invertebrates and have evolved large molars to crush their food. Because many food supplies are diminishing for sea otters and waste is expanding across their environments, I’m curious how this will impact their structure as an entity and what changes will occur throughout the species in the coming years. What are your thoughts?
Reference: – Evolutionary Edges. 2018. Evolution of the sea Otter. [ONLINE] Available at: https://evolutionaryedges.weebly.com/the-sea-otter/evolution-of-the-sea-otter. [Accessed 10 May 2021].