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Ancient sea monster reappears on remote Russian island

By The Siberian Times reporter
17 November 2017

Skeleton of extinct 6 metre-long sea cow spotted and dug up on seashore of Commander Islands in Kamchatka region.

A precious find at the Commanders (Komandory) islands just off Kamchatka peninsula. Picture: Evgeny Mamaev

The headless remains of the beast at first appeared like a 'fence' but local officials on a nature reserve survey soon realised they had made a remarkable find - the ribs of this ancient creature. 

Digging down 70 centimetres below the surface uncovered the headless skeleton of the Steller's sea cow, a mammal endemic to this region which became extinct in the 18th century. 

As the pictures show, they found 45 vertebrae, 27 ribs, a left scapula and other bones. 

Sightings of the sea cows were recorded by Arctic explorers before it died out. 

Ancient sea monster reappears on remote Russian island


Ancient sea monster reappears on remote Russian island


Ancient sea monster reappears on remote Russian island


Illustration thought to be the only picture of Steller's Sea Cow drawn from an actual specimen, a killed female examined by Steller


Steller's Sea Cow
The Steller's Sea Cow bones, the first and only every drawing believed to be done by Steller, and an artistic impression of the Steller's Sea Cow 


The species is named after German explorer Georg Steller who first documented its  existence during voyage in 1741.

The animals were easy prey for hunters using harpoons, with no fear of humans. 

The first sighting of the new discovery was by Commander Islands nature reserve inspector Maria Shitova.

After she spotted the protruding ribs, an eight hour dig was organised to retrieve the remains. 

The islands lie in the Bering Sea between Russia and Alaska.

The remarkable find, and GVs of the Commanders (Komandory) Islands in the Bering Sea
Ancient sea monster reappears on remote Russian island


Ancient sea monster reappears on remote Russian island


Ancient sea monster reappears on remote Russian island


Ancient sea monster reappears on remote Russian island


Ancient sea monster reappears on remote Russian island

Comments (4)

It would be interesting to learn if the find was on Bering or Copper island, Reason the Treaty of Washington of 1867
placed Copper Island in Alaska and Bering Island stayed with Imperial Russia. Russian charts issued in 1840
was used at the drafting by Hilgard in 1867, when Russia would not give up Bering Island at the request of the then Second Assistant Secretary of the United States. The line of separation was 193 West [167 East] Logitude was used in that treaty, since that was the line used in dividing the district circa 1840.
Mark Seidenberg, Fresno, California, USA
25/11/2017 00:43
0
0
Such valuable finds not only enlighten the past, but give clues to save the world. The scientist deserve love and respect for their dedicated commitments. Congratulations!
Veysel Yahsi, Irkutsk/RUSSIA
21/11/2017 02:50
1
0
And viable DNA? Possibility for de-extinction?
Erik V, Dublin, Ireland
20/11/2017 16:59
2
0
You are always finding such interesting treasures Always well photographed and written about very well Thank you for sharing all these interesting finds with me!
Patricia Gothard, Laguna wiodsUSA
20/11/2017 02:40
2
0
1

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