The scientific name of this marine mammal, Arctocephalus, comes from Greek words that mean 'bear headed' (3), and with its short, pointed muzzle, little button-like nose and fairly large eyes (5), the Galapagos fur seal does indeed bear a resemblance to its land-dwelling, carnivorous ancestors (3). The coat of this fur seal varies from dark brown to dark grey, with light-tipped, longer guard hairs giving a grizzled appearance (3) (6). Male Galapagos fur seals also have a mane of slightly longer hairs, from the top of their head to their shoulders (5). Both the muzzle and the fur on the undersides is paler (3), with females and subadults having a pale greyish-tan chest and rusty-tan belly (5), and the skin on the flippers is blackish (6). Galapagos fur seal pups have a blackish-brown coat, sometimes with greyish or whitish margins around the mouth and nose (5).
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