A GREY seal filmed ‘clapping’ is the first recorded striking his flippers in the wild.
While captive seals are trained to clap for applause, this male was doing it as a show of strength for mating, researchers say.
Dr Ben Burville, of Newcastle University, captured the moment at the Farne Islands, off the coast of Northumberland, in 2017.
In the video, the male swims near a female, with other males nearby, but his clap sends them packing.
‘I’ve heard the distinctive shotgun-like cracks many times over the years and I felt sure clapping was the source,’ Dr Burville said. ‘One day I heard a couple of claps in the distance. I hit record and, eureka! I got it!’
Researchers say learning more about grey seals could protect them from harm such as noise pollution.