Scientists found a USB memory stick that had been sitting in a slab of frozen leopard seal poop for over a year.
Volunteer researchers sifting through leopard seal poop in New Zealand made an unexpected discovery inside one of the samples: A USB drive filled with vacation photos. Now, they’re searching for the owners of the drive.
The sample in question had been sitting in a freezer for more than a year at the National Instiute of Water Atmospheric Research (NIWA), sent to the organization by a local veterinarian taking care of a skinny leopard seal.
After the team defrosted the poop, they discovered the USB stick and gave it time to dry for a few weeks to see if they could access the content. And they were successful: There were photos of sea lions as well as a video of a mother and baby sea lion “frolicking in the shallows.”
No photos on the drive of were of people, and the nose of a blue kayak is the organization’s sole clue as to who might own the USB drive.
“NIWA is searching for the owner of a USB stick found in the poo of a leopard seal… Recognise this video?” the organization tweeted. “Scientists analysing the scat of leopard seals have come across an unexpected discovery – a USB stick full of photos & still in working order!”
The organization will only give over the device, however, if the owner delivers it more seal poop.
Researchers study the seal feces to find out more about them, like what they eat, their health and the amount of time they’ve been in New Zealand waters.
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