The older I get the weirder I think people are. One aspect of human nature that I'm particularly intrigued by is how we relate to animals. We herd, hunt, kill and eat them and use the remains of their bodies to make commodities such as clothing and fertilizer. Yet we befriend them as well. And we can even look up to them.

While some mammals such as dolphins, whales, and anthropoid apes are highly intelligent most beasts are pretty thick, let's face it. As well as being dumber than humans, they are also not nearly as emotionally complex. Yet we insist on anthropomorphizing them to an extreme degree. 

The most notable local example of this is the case of the southern elephant seal that landed on Sorrento Beach recently. He's been hanging around there for several days, probably taking a breather before the next leg of his endless search for quality fish.

Perth people instantly took the huge and ungainly marine mammal into their hearts. He was even christened "Steven Sealberg" after an online competition. (Actually the choice of name is also mystifying to me. In what possible way is this creature like the respected American film-maker? I suppose it was meant to convey some sense of his stardom -- but no famous actors came to mind. That said, the moniker has a certain daggy charm. It's very Perth, actually.)

As well as drawing consistent crowds the whole time he's been here, Steven Sealberg has even been given his own Twitter account.

If he hasn't lumbered down to the shore and slowly glided off into the Indian Ocean already, he will do so pretty soon. Needless to say he didn't have the slightest idea about how much of an impact he had on us. Odds are he'll just swim on regardless and never give the whole experience a second thought. 

Yet many people found his visit the highlight of the year so far. Kids in particular would have been delighted to have seen the creature close up and will treasure the memory into adulthood.

It is odd but kind of touching, too. And it brings to mind the shark debate that has been raging here lately. Firstly, you just hope that Steven Sealberg doesn't get munched by a noah himself. 

Then there's the deep green push to anthropomorphize sharks. While some of the more fervent greenies in Perth certainly feel deep affection for sharks and see them as almost human, there is absolutely no way known that a stray great white that found itself trapped in the shallows would ever receive the kind of affectionate reaction that Steven Sealberg did! People may be weird but they're not completely deranged. And that is certainly heartening to know.