Animal Trainer Awarded Master’s Degree for Research into Sea Lions’ Whiskers

Animal Trainer Awarded Master’s Degree for Research into Sea Lions’ Whiskers

Alyx Milne, 27, an animal trainer at Blackpool Zoo, has become the first person to be awarded a master's degree for her research into sea lion whiskers. It was quite interesting that Milne combined her work at the zoo with her MSc degree at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Since the time Milne was five years old and went on holiday to SeaWorld in Florida, she is in love with mammals. Her job has worked so well for her studies that she has even achieved distinction in her research, which was on the motor neuron abilities of sea lions' whiskers.

As per Milne, the motor neuron abilities of sea lions' whiskers are quite sensitive. Due to these abilities, they can pick up vibrations in water to find the fish. Her research paper has been published in the Comparative Physiology Journal.

Milne said, "From the moment I was splashed by a killer whale while visiting SeaWorld, Florida, I knew that I was going to be a 'Shamu' trainer one way or another". Now, Milne is planning to attain doctorate degree.

Due to the presence of nerve fibers in their whiskers, sea lions are quite sensitive. Milne shared that major part of research was to working with sea lions at the zoo.

Many debates have been conducted on the ancestry of eared and true seals. It is considered that eared seals and walruses have evolved 30 million years ago in the North Pacific from bear-like creatures.


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