Danny's sea lion photos

A sea lion?

Yesterday I saw my friend Daniel Nicolas twitter; "there was a seal at the beach! yes i got pictures".  I knew once he published the photos I was going to link to them.

But then I got to thinking - did he really mean seal or did he mean sea lion?

Once he had the photos up I began doing a little digging to jog my memory about the differences between a seal and a sea lion, both of which are Pinnipeds, or "fin-footed mammals".  It is a pretty simple classification really.  If you have a fin as a foot, you give birth to live young, feed your young with milk, are warm blooded, and have hair on your body - you're a Pinniped.  However, the main difference between a sea lion and a seal is that sea lions have ears and can walk on all fours.

But, you might be saying, but so can fur seals.  This is where things start to get a little muddy.  The number of species of seal are actually quite numerous.  California sea lions, for example, are the most common species used in circuses and the like, but there are suborders of both seal and sea lion ranging in the hundreds.  Australian, Japanese, Galapagos, and Stellar are just a few suborders of sea lion.  New Zealand, Antarctic, Subantarctic, Northern Fur, and Cape Fur are just a few suborders of seals.

So what did Danny shoot?  I'm sticking with sea lion - partially because of my close examination of the photos, and partially because I know that Danny is from somewhere near San Diego.

What do you think it is?

Source: Flickr: Photo uploads from May 20, 2008 by djloche.