A California PhD student, Rober Boessenecker, took it upon himself to study massive fossil collections and discovered the oldest fur seal fossil ever known. He did browse the collections in the paleontological center in California which erased the gap of 500 million years in the evolution of a fur seal.
Boessenecker discovered that a fossil originally discovered during the 80’s was from a fur seal and not a walrus. It was previously thought that this was a walrus fossil but the latest evidence entirely changed the theory and gave new look to the history of fur seal.
What was studied was a partial jaw and teeth of a fossil that were well-preserved, a surprise that the new set of eyes didn’t expect to see. The fossil was found in Southern California with an age of approximately 15-17 million years but this wasn’t the fact that came out of the entire study. The age was actually wrongly calculated and the fossil was found to belong to a much older, smaller breed which is the fur seal and not the walrus.
The news was welcomed but it did come as a surprise as this was not the discovery that was expected to be made by the California student. However, it’s one that will give the fur seal a more definitive past and future.