Steller's sea cow Facts

Steller's sea cow Facts
Steller's sea cow was large marine mammal of the order Sirenia (its closest living relatives are dugong and manatee). This animal was numerous and widespread along the coast of North Pacific in the past. Due to lack of food, number of Steller's sea cows started to decline even before people have discovered this species in 1741. At the time of discovery, population of Steller's sea cow (of around 1500 animals) was restricted to the cold waters near the coast of Bering Island and Medny Island. Only 27 years later, as a result of uncontrolled hunting (because of the meat, fat and skin), Steller's sea cow had vanished from the ocean.
Interesting Steller's sea cow Facts:
Steller's sea cow was 26 to 30 feet long and it had 8 to 10 tons of weight.
Steller's sea cow had thick, wrinkled, bark-like skin that was black colored.
Steller's sea cow had thick, insulating layer of fat (of 4 to 9 inches) designed to keep the body temperature stable in the cold waters and to serve as a shield against Arctic ice and rocks.
Steller's sea cow had small head, large upper lip, mouth without teeth, two stout forelimbs, huge body and flat, paddle-shaped tail.
Steller's sea cow is named after George Stellar who discovered and described this species.
Steller's sea cow was a herbivore. Its diet was based on the kelp, sea weed and other aquatic plants. Deeply grooved keratinous plates in the mouth were used to mash the food before swallowing.
Steller's sea cow was poor swimmer, that was able to spend only 4 to 5 minutes under the water. Due to slow nature and lack of aggressiveness, it was an easy target for hunters.
Steller's sea cow had lived in large groups (herds), composed of adult animals of both sex and juveniles. Young animals were kept in the center of the group for the protection.
Except for the breathing noise, Steller's sea cow was completely mute. However (based on the very large internal ear bones), it had excellent sense of hearing.
Natural enemies of Steller's sea cows were large species of sharks and humans.
Meat of Steller's sea cow had similar taste and texture of veal. Unlike the meat of other animals, meat of Steller's sea cow was able to retain freshness during prolonged period of time and it was very popular among sailors. Fat of Steller's sea cow was used both in human diet (as a substitute for butter) and for the oil lamps.
Steller's sea cows were monogamous animals that had mated during the spring. Bonds between formed couples were very strong.
Both mating and giving birth of calves were taking place under the water.
Single calf was born after pregnancy of more than 12 months.
Researchers believe that an average lifespan of Steller's sea cow was 50 to 80 years.

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