Sea lion video found on USB in frozen leopard seal poo

NZ scientists hunting for owner of USB after it was found frozen in seal poo

NZ scientists hunting for owner of USB after it was found frozen in seal poo

In what is easily one of the weirdest press releases New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) has put out, the agency announced it had unearthed a fully functioning USB drive from a mound of frozen leopard seal poop. "[Recognize] this video? Scientists analyzing the scat of leopard seals have come across an unexpected discovery - a USB stick full of photos & still in working order!"

Then, the scat sample was sent to Dr. Krista Hupman, a NIWA marine biologist, and the team, who run a volunteer scat collector network in New Zealand and use scat samples to study seals' diets, health, and habitat patterns.

The USB stick was found to be in "reasonably good condition considering where it had come from".

NIWA said it is ironic that the videos on the USB reveal not seals, but sea lions.

Nestled inside one of the excrement samples - about the size of two dinner rolls, if you must know - was something unusually hard: a USB stick.

'We basically have to sift it.

Inside the poop, they found a USB drive which still worked.

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They had to let the stick dry out for a few weeks and when they did, it was still in flawless working order.

The hunt for the owner quickly went viral, with the video-which shows a mother sea lion with her baby frolicking around a blue kayak-clocking up over 500,000 views within a day after it was posted to social media. The poo-collecting volunteers are part of a Leopard Seals group advocating for more research and better protections for the marine animals.

Three weeks ago, volunteers Jodie Warren and Melanie Magnan defrosted a sample collected in November 2017 and, after washing off "the bones, feathers, seaweed and other stuff", found a USB stick.

Now they're trying to match the stick with its owner.

"They said: 'You won't believe what we've found, '" she recalled.

The poo can tell them what the seals eat, about their health and how long they've been in area waters.

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