Wikipedia:Today's featured article/September 2, 2017

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Model of Steller's sea cow
Model of Steller's sea cow

Steller's sea cow (Hydrodamalis gigas) was a sirenian that lived until 1768 around the Commander Islands in the Bering Sea, named for the naturalist Georg Wilhelm Steller. He discovered the species in 1741 on Vitus Bering's Great Northern Expedition, when the crew was shipwrecked on Bering Island, and described it in The Beasts of the Sea, published after his death. The sea cow reached weights of 8–10 metric tons (8.8–11.0 short tons) and lengths of up to 9 metres (30 ft). Its closest living relative, the 3-metre-long (9.8 ft) dugong, is the sole surviving member of its family, Dugongidae. It had a thicker layer of blubber than other sirenians, and its tail was forked like those of whales and other cetaceans. Instead of teeth, the sea cow had an array of white bristles on its upper lip and two keratinous mouth plates for chewing. It fed mainly on kelp, and communicated via sighs and snorting sounds. There is evidence that it was a monogamous and social animal, living in small family groups and raising its young. Twenty-seven years after its discovery, the slow-moving species had been hunted to extinction for its meat, fat, and hide. (Full article...)

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