Headless Skeleton of Giant Extinct Sea Cow Discovered in Siberia

A headless skeleton discovered in Siberia is one the most preserved of its kind.

The enormous bones uncovered on a secluded Bering island are from a creature that has died out for about 250 years - the enormous Steller’s ocean cow. What’s more, the skeleton’s great condition has made scientist eager to explore about the distinct species.

At first look, the rib bones of the skeleton sticking out of the earth looked like the palings of an old hedge. A group of researchers led by Marina Shitova of Commander Islands Nature and Biosphere Reserve, excavated only 70 centimeters (2.3 feet) to uncover the whole skeleton.

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Steller’s sea cows (Hydrodamalis gigas) were some of the last of the Pleistocene megafauna, that were dying out when they were found in 1741. As their last sanctuary, they lived around the then- uninhabited Commander Islands in the Bering Sea.

They were from the sort Sirenia, which incorporates manatees and dugongs. The sea cows were considerably bigger than their present cousins.

For instance, manatees reached size up to 4 meters (13 feet) long, with the greatest weight of 1,590 kilograms (3,500 pounds), and dugongs achieve more than 3 meters and weigh up to 420 kilograms.

The sea cow, which is considered closer to the dugong than the manatee, is believed to have reached length up to 10 meters, and weighed more than 5 metric tons.

The creature was first found by Georg Wilhelm Steller, German scientists on board of the Great Northern Expedition. In his diary, Steller wrote that the ship was wrecked on Bering Island, where they stayed the whole winter long.

Steller was the one who found the creature, describing its look and conduct, and dissected an example.

The equipage, who was starved, hunted couple of the sea cows to eat them. It might be that the skeleton discovered in Russia is from one of the corpses they killed.

The skeleton did not have its head and a couple of bones, nevertheless were discovered most of its bones.

It was 5.2 meters long; and according to the group scientist if it had its head, it would have been 6 meters long.

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There are skeletons of this animal in museums in the whole the world, but many samples are combined from several skeletons.

The previous latest whole find was discovered on Bering Island in 1987, and was about 3 meters long. Pieces of it are at presently exhibited in the Aleut History Museum on the island.

The newfound example will be cautiously cleaned and put together before being exhibited at the Nature Reserve’s visitor center.

Source: www.sciencealert.com

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