The Weddell seal was named by British captain James Weddell, who discovered the Weddell Sea in the 1820s. Unlike other seals in its family, the Weddell seal prefers onshore habitats to the free-floating ice packs that most seals call home. Spread equally across all of Antarctica, the Weddell seal has the most southerly distribution of any mammal on Earth. Because of its abundance—there are about 800,000 of them alive today—and its friendly disposition toward humans, the Weddell seal is the most studied of any of the Antarctic seals. Perhaps another reason for its popularity among humans is that the Weddell seal’s upturned mouth, button nose and long whiskers make it resemble a smiling cat.