February 5, 2019, Kanguru Blog Post - Researchers from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in New Zealand were beginning their research to study the diet of leopard seals by thawing out some frozen seal poo, when they found an unexpected surprise inside. The "scat", as researchers call it, contained a USB flash drive.
In what is perhaps one of the strangest findings for a flash drive to-date, the USB drive had been frozen in the excrement for over a year and surprisingly still worked. Scientists are now trying to return it to its original owner. When they plugged it into a computer, the flash drive contained photos of sea lions, and a video of a mother sea lion and her baby playing around Porpoise Bay in the Caitlins. The video was taken from the owner's perspective while drifting around the sea lions on a blue kayak - the only clue as to whom the USB memory stick owner might be.
Scientists often study the health and dietary habits of animals by examining the animal feces. In this particular case, a veterinarian had studied a seal on the beach and collected some scat to send to marine biologists at the NIWA. Researchers froze the scat in their freezer back in November of 2017 for later study. When they defrosted it to begin their research about 3 weeks ago, the thumb drive was discovered amidst the poo. How it ended up there is still a mystery.
The Marine Biologists have posted the incident on social media to try to return the flash drive back to its original owner.
The owner of the USB flash drive may have to pay up though if they really want their flash drive back, researchers say they will swap it for some fresh seal poop to continue their research.