Happy seal

Seals use mustaches as fingers

Scientists have known for a long time that some species use their mustaches for sensory functions, but they have now discovered that at least one mammal species uses its mustache in the same way that humans use their fingertips.

Humans use their fingertips and seals use their mustaches in “task-specific” ways, adjusting their movements to what they want to learn about a particular object.

“Mustaches serve as sensors in the same way that our fingertips do, and the specific movement patterns we see seals conduct with their mustaches are like what we humans do with our fingertips.” This is definitely a typical and important movement technique for an active sense of touch, according to Robyn Grant, co-author of the study and lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Numerous mammals use unique touch-sensitive mustaches to locate food, improve orientation, and sense all of the objects in their environment. Because of their thick, lengthy, and easily measurable mustaches, the scientists chose to study sea lions, seals, and walruses to see whether they might use them for more specific sensory observations.

They discovered that such mammals move their mustaches in huge, deliberate movements and are capable of detecting the shape, texture, and other aspects of the mustache. These movements are very comparable to the movements of human fingers on our hands when we wish to touch something and create an impression based on touch.

The capacity to use various touch mustache movement methods demonstrates that these mammals can accurately control the movements of their mustaches and rely on previous experiences to pay attention to crucial elements of the object, such as edges, forms, and texture of the surface they touch.
This implies that they have a high level of control over their sensory perception and, as a result, perceive the environment in a more complex way than we previously thought.

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