Notice: curl_setopt(): CURLOPT_SSL_VERIFYHOST no longer accepts the value 1, value 2 will be used instead in /home/admin/web/eastrussia.ru/public_html/gtranslate/gtranslate.php on line 101
Leviathan of Bering Island: A rare find: scientists of the Komandorsky reserve discovered the skeleton of Steller's extinct cow - EastRussia |

Irkutsk
Ulan-Ude

Blagoveshchensk
Chita
Yakutsk

Birobidzhan
Vladivostok
Khabarovsk

Magadan
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

Anadyr
Petropavlovsk-
Kamchatsky
Moscow

This text is translated into Russian by google automatic human level neural machine.
EastRussia is not responsible for any mistakes in the translated text. Sorry for the inconvinience.
Please refer to the text in Russian as a source.

Leviathan of Bering Island

A rare find: the scientists of the Komandorsky reserve discovered the skeleton of Steller's extinct cow

Leviathan of Bering Island
Photo: Marina Shitova

The opening waited for the staff of the reserve on the shore, which they seemed to be running along and across. On the island of Bering * from the sandy precipice, like a fence, huge ribs stuck out. They did not belong to any of the species living here - sea or land - not the size. Did not look like the whale.

1_new dimension.JPG

- This fall, we had three cyclones on the Commanders with wind more than 30 m / s, and large storms bare the shore terrace. The grass was badly curved. I think this cow washed away with the last cyclone. It turns out, the elements helped our find! - told the agency East Russia researcher reserve "Commander" Marina Shitova.

In place of the expedition went, 8 employees of the reserve for the time being retrained to paleontologists and half a day carefully excavated the ancient skeleton of pebbles and sand. The lower fragments were hidden at a depth of about 70 cm. The bones were carefully cleaned of sand, dried, photographed and marked, so as not to be mistaken in the subsequent assembly of the historical "puzzle". Then each bone was packed in a separate bag to reduce friction during transportation.

3_new dimension.JPG

12_new dimension.JPG

13_new dimension.JPG

- We had a great event! We found the almost complete skeleton of Steller's sea cow - a fossil that disappeared almost 250 years ago! This is fantastic news, both for the reserve and for the world science as a whole. Judging by the size and small mineralization of the bones, it was a young specimen, probably one of the last to live.

The found skeleton consists of 45 vertebrae, 27 ribs, left shoulder blades, bones of the shoulder and forearm, several bones of the wrist. In the revealed skeleton there was no skull, cervical spine, 1-2 of the thoracic vertebra, several caudal vertebrae, right side of the thoracic extremities belt, as well as the bones of the pastern and the phalanges of the fingers of the left extremity. The total length of the skeleton was 5,2 meters. Given the length of the missing parts of the vertebral column and head, it can be assumed that the total length of the animal was about 6 meters - shared the deputy director on scientific issues of the reserve "Commander" Evgeny Mamaev.

At this length, the sea cow could weigh up to 10 tons. Of aquatic mammals, it is larger than a whale. Earlier, parts of the skeleton of the steller cow were found in the Aleutian Islands, Kamchatka and in California. The Commander Islands became the last habitat of this marine mammal on the planet. Population local hunters were knocked out for only 27 years after the discovery of the species. Cleanse.

11_new dimension.JPG

Information: A sea cow, or a steller cow, or a cabbage (lat. Hydrodamalis gigas - a giant sea cow) is a human-killed mammal of the order of sirens. Opened in 1741 year the expedition of Vitus Bering. The name was given in honor of naturalist Georg Steller, the physician of the expedition, on whose descriptions a significant part of the information about this animal is based.



Steller's cow lived only off the coast of the Commander Islands, although modern paleontological data say that in prehistoric times its range was noticeably wider. Behavior of the animal was characterized by slowness, apathy and lack of fear of man. She led a coastal lifestyle, ate exclusively seaweed, alaria and laminaria. These factors, facilitating the extraction of cows by humans, contributed to its rapid disappearance. The low total number of cows played at the time of the discovery - about two thousand. The ensuing after the discovery of predatory extermination for the sake of tasty meat led to the complete disappearance of this animal to 1768 year. Steller wrote that sometimes peace-loving and not fearful sea cows were extracted simply from excitement. They were hunted with the help of a harpoon, but only one in five managed to pull ashore - the rest perished from wounds in the water.

There is a controversial opinion that the cabbage butterfly represented a dead-end branch of evolution and would eventually replenish the collection of extinct species without human intervention.

Sea-Cow-Bering-Island-Final-small.jpeg

Pallas_Sea_Cow.jpg

Figure: Female sea cow, described and measured by H. Steller. It is considered the only image of a cow made from nature.

The discovery of almost the whole skeleton of Steller's sea cow is a big event these days. The last time the remains of cabbage were found here 30 years ago. They are kept in the museum of Nikolskoe on Bering Island. In the world's museums are represented, in the majority, prefabricated skeletons. Full, that is, belonged to one animal, there are about 20.

- In general, this is a place where you will never leave without bones in the winter. Local people collect them for crafts or for sale. We have two masters in the village. The edge of the steller cow is within 10 thousand in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. This is considered contraband. If, for example, everything is legalized about mammoth tusks, licenses are issued, you can get the bones officially, then there are no laws about the cow, and we do not understand how to do it legally - shared with East Russia resident of Nikolskoe.

Probably, samples of the skeleton of the steller cow will be sent for examination to Moscow. And next year at the exhibition in the visit-center of the reserve it will be the main exhibit, telling about the nature of the Commander Islands, including the one we lost.

*Bering Island - the largest island in the Commander Islands. It is located to the east of the Kamchatka Peninsula, which is separated from the Kamchatka Strait connecting the Bering Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The island is administratively part of the Aleutian region of the Kamchatka Territory. The island was discovered by the expedition of Vitus Bering in 1741 year, here is the grave of the seafarer.

Photo: Julia Pulit, Marina Shitova, Evgeny Mamaev.