Enormous sea monster reappears on remote Russian island

The enormous creature, which looked like a cross between a manatee and a walrus, was found in the Bering Sea between Russia and Alaska.

The skeleton discovered was almost 20ft long, and local officials found 45 vertebrae and 27 ribs.

The massive aquatic mammal—between 5 and 10 tons in weight and up to 30 feet in length, with the face of a walrus and the tail of a dolphin—had once ranged across the North Pacific but was by then relegated to a relic population in the Commander Islands kelp beds. Steller was the first and last scientist to document the slow-moving sea creature—they were hunted to extinction less than three decades later.

This week the surpassingly rare bones of a Steller’s sea cow were discovered and excavated on Bering Island, the larger of the two Commander Islands. As explained in a statement by from the Commander Islands Nature and Biosphere Reserve, researcher Marina Shitova was walking on the beach as part of a regular survey when she spotted several ribs sticking up from the ground “like a fence.” Shitova and her team waited for the weather to clear before beginning a four-hour excavation of the skeleton. The skull was missing, but the scientists estimate the animal had been nearly 20 feet long.

The last full skeleton of a Steller’s sea cow had been found on the same island way back in 1987, and is now in the Aleutian Museum of Natural History in Nikolskoye.

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