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large group of sea lions underwater

Learn More About Pinnipeds

The word "pinniped" means fin- or flipper-footed and refers to the marine mammals that have front and rear flippers. This group includes seals, sea lions and walruses -- animals that live in the ocean but are able to come on land for long periods of time. 

Millions of years ago, the ancestors of pinnipeds lived on land. These were probably weasel- or bear-like animals that spent more and more time in the ocean and eventually adapted to this marine environment.

Pinnipeds are separated into three groups: earless seals, eared seals and walruses.

sea lion pup
harbor seal
Steller sea lion
northern fur seal with mouth open

Pinniped Research at The Marine Mammal Center