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Mysterious USB Drive Found in Pile of Seal Poop Leaves Scientists Baffled

Did you happen to misplace a USB flash drive while exploring the southern tip of New Zealand's South Island sometime in 2017?

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Did you happen to misplace a USB flash drive while exploring the southern tip of New Zealand's South Island sometime in 2017? If so, some scientists would like to get in touch, because they just discovered one in a pile of leopard seal poop they've been storing in a freezer since then. 

The bizarre discovery came to light recently when a group of volunteers working with New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) began defrosting the "slab" of scat collected by a vet investigating the diets of the animals in the area a couple years ago.

“You put it under the cold tap, get all the gross stuff off, smoosh it around a bit and separate the bones, feathers, seaweed and other stuff,” explained one of the researchers in an article posted to the NIWA website. That's when they found what appeared to be a USB drive, and were understandably alarmed to learn the majestic creatures were ingesting things like this in the wild. However, out of curiosity, they left the drive out to dry for a few weeks and went back to see if it was still in working order after all it had, uh, quite literally been through. To their amazement, it did.

Unsure what to expect, they plugged it in, and while it unfortunately didn't unearth any valuable state secrets or cryptocurrency passwords, it ironically contained photos and at least one video of sea lions in the wild. In the video, which the NIWA posted to its official Twitter account, you can see someone in a blue kayak approaching one of them in the water as it bobs around. 

So, if you recognize the moment featured in the clip above and vaguely remember leaving a USB drive somewhere in New Zealand where a seal might have mistaken it for a snack, hit up the NIWA. They have some questions, and would be happy to get the long-lost photos back into the right hands. 

h/tMashable


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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.