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Text: "Puijila" in Inuktitut. Puijila: A Prehistoric Walking Seal. Photo collage: Scheuchzer's cotton-grass (Eriophorum scheuchzeri), the research team at work in the field, a reconstruction of the Puijila darwini fossil, an ejector block in the Haughton Crater, two palaeontologists shaking a dry screen.
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Text: "Inuktitut" in Inuktitut syllabics.
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Image 1) Puijila darwini fossil, collection number NUFV405.

Puijila darwini, in fossil form.

The evolutionary story of seals is rewritten by a new fossil from Canada's High Arctic.

This prehistoric animal represents a "missing link"—a branch on an evolutionary tree—between an ancestor that walked on land and today's sea-going seals and their relatives.

The findings are an important scientific breakthrough—and the fossil's discovery is a tale of luck and adventure.

So, dive in and meet the "walking seal" Puijila darwini!

Overview Video

You must have the latest version of Adobe Flash Player in order to see this 3D model. You can download this software from the Adobe Web site.

Watch the subtitled version.

News & Events Highlights

An illustration depicting the animal Puijila darwini swimming.

Puijila darwini may have looked like this.

  • 3D animation: Highlights the terrestrial and semi-aquatic characteristics of the animal. (New in June 2011). Watch it now.



Natalia Rybczynski working in a prone position on the ground.