Researchers recover photos from a USB drive that spent a year frozen in seal poop
|Seals at Cape Cross, Namibia — Joachim Huber|
A USB flash drive recovered from frozen seal scat has been reunited with its owner, according to New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). The organization revealed its findings in a post early this week, when it stated that a functional USB drive with recoverable photos and at least one video had been found in thawed seal poo.
According to the NIWA, seal scat is 'as good as gold' for researchers who study the creatures. Volunteers with LeopardSeals.org collect these samples and ship them to the researchers, who then freeze them until they're ready to analyze the droppings.
In November 2017, the NIWA says marine biologist Dr. Krista Hupman received a sample collected by a local vet. The scat was placed in a freezer, only to be removed last month by volunteers with the organization. The sample was defrosted, rinsed, and then broken apart to study.
Amid the expected findings was one concerning discovery: a USB flash drive. After being left out to dry, the researchers connected the drive and were surprised to recover images of sea lions, as well as a video showing the tip of a blue kayak and a mother and baby sea lion in the water.
NIWA shared the video on its Twitter account on February 4 in an attempt to reunite the USB drive with its owner.
NIWA is searching for the owner of a USB stick found in the poo of a leopard seal…— NIWA (@niwa_nz) February 5, 2019
Recognise this video? Scientists analysing the scat of leopard seals have come across an unexpected discovery – a USB stick full of photos & still in working order! https://t.co/2SZVkm5az4 pic.twitter.com/JLEC8vuHH0
The amusing story went viral, and it only took a day for owner Amanda Nally to claim her property, according to The Project NZ. The hardy USB drive's make and model remain unknown, but it's safe to say regardless of official specs the flash drive was indeed weather 'sealed.'