The Curious Case of the Sable Island Seal Killer | Summary and Q&A

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July 26, 2021
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The Curious Case of the Sable Island Seal Killer

TL;DR

A murder mystery involving seal carcasses with corkscrew wounds leads to investigations into Greenland sharks and positional thrusters as potential culprits.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What was the initial suspected cause of the corkscrew wounds on the seal carcasses?

At first, researchers suspected sharks, specifically Greenland sharks, due to their presence in the area and their anatomy.

Q: Why were positional thrusters considered as potential culprits?

The unique corkscrew-shaped wounds on the seal carcasses matched the damage that could be caused by positional thrusters found on certain ships. These thrusters can suck in seals when activated.

Q: How did researchers discover that male seals may be responsible for the corkscrew wounds?

Observations of male seals engaging in cannibalistic infanticide revealed that their attack patterns resembled the corkscrew wounds found on the seal carcasses.

Q: Are researchers still unsure about the true culprit behind the seal killings?

Yes, many researchers remain undecided and believe that Greenland sharks, positional thrusters, infanticide by seals, or even tidal turbines may be responsible, either individually or collectively.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Sable Island, known as the "graveyard of the Atlantic," has a long history of shipwrecks and is now home to a wildlife preserve and weather station.

  • In 1993, seal carcasses with corkscrew wounds were found on Sable Island, sparking a hunt for the killer. Similar cases were later discovered across the Atlantic.

  • Researchers initially suspected sharks, but evidence later pointed to positional thrusters as the cause of the corkscrew wounds. However, infanticide by male seals may also play a role.

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