Enormous Extinct Sea Cow Fossil Found on Russian Island
While lacking a head, the marine mammal bones could reveal more details about the little-known species.
When 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.