Enormous Extinct Sea Cow Fossil Found on Russian Island

Remains of a gigantic, extinct sea cow found buried under a Siberian beach https://t.co/shPXrsuQYg pic.twitter.com/mGfPQnmUs6— Motherboard (@motherboard) November 20, 2017When Maria Shitova saw what looked like white poles jutting out of the sand at a beach in Russia, she thought they were part of a manmade fence. But instead of digging up city planning, her research team exhumed the nearly complete skeleton of a gargantuan sea cow hours later.The team had to dig less than three feet into the earth on the remote Commander Islands in Russia’s Komandorsky Nature Reserve before they found the 17-foot-long remains of the extinct creature. The 10-ton specimen lacks a skull and several bones, but it has 45 vertebrae, 27 ribs, and a left scapula. The well-preserved skeleton will be displayed at the visitor center, nature reserve officials say.“This is the only sea cow that we’ve ever found that’s intact in situ,” says Lorelei Crerar, a George Mason University professor who published a paper on sea cows in 2014. “All we’ve got is just this one record of this animal and that’s it.”In 1987, an almost 10-foot-long specimen was discovered on Bering Island, but it has since been disassembled. Today, The Guardian reports that the Finnish Museum of Natural History has one of the most complete sea cow skeletons in its possession. View Images