A team of researchers made a huge discovery in Siberia, Russia. They stumbled upon a perfectly preserved skeleton of a sea cow, a marine creature which lived in the ice-cold waters of the Bering Sea and North Pacific. These impressive remains were found buried beneath a Siberian beach in the Komandorsky Nature Reserve.
The skeleton of the sea cow was preserved almost in intact form
A team of researchers, led by Marina Shitova, spotted a ribcage sticking out from the sand, so they decided to start excavating the remains. Once they were done, they were baffled to observe how the skeleton was almost intact, with only the head and several vertebrae which went missing.
After performing an analysis on the bones, they established they belonged to a sea cow. Given their perfect shape, they discovered the skeleton wasn’t ancient at all. The species was spotted for the first time in 1741, but they quickly went extinct, as the last specimen was killed in 1768.
Sea cows went extinct quickly after they were first discovered
If this sea cow were alive, it would have reached around 5 meters in length. Also, it should have weighed between 5 and 7 tons. It belonged to the species known as Stellar’s sea cow, named after the naturalist who studied them, George Stellar. He described these animals as gentle sea giants with thick black skin, small heads, and no teeth.
They swam exclusively in the northern region of the globe, and were threatened by no natural predators. However, the ones which drove the creature extinct were humans. Once they heard it was so easy to catch them, fishermen in the Bering Sea wiped them out only 27 years after their discovery.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons