Do you know what are sea cows? Let’s find out detail about sea cow. If cows lived in the sea what would they be like? They would probably be large, slow-moving mammals living in heads and feeding by grazing across beds of seaweeds. There is a group of animals that fits this description, and not surprisingly, they are called sea cows.
What are sea cows
After the whales, sea-cows are the group of mammals most adapted to an aquatic life. Like the whales they have lost their back limbs and instead have a horizontally flattened tail. The front limbs are flippers and they have practically no hair on the skin.
The two groups are unrelated, however, for the whale’s ancestors were carnivores those of the sea-cows. One is the dugong and the other three are called manatees. The Dugong has notched tail, while that of the manatee is more rounded and paddle-shaped.
How do sea cows graze?
How Dugong and the manatees have slightly different methods of grazing the lush beds of vegetation that grow in the sheltered waters of tropical coasts and estuaries. The Dugong has an enormous upper lip which curls over the seaweed, pressing it against the lower lip so that can be plucked.
The manatees have a notched upper lip divided into lobes which work against one another. These make a very good gripping organ. The manatees pluck enormous quantities of seaweed (up to 100 pounds a day), and the front flippers help by cramming the green stuff into the mouth while it is chewed.
As sea-cows are grazers, their teeth are continually wearing down. Instead of each tooth growth in to replace wear, the old teeth drop out at the front of the mouth, and new ones appear at the back on a conveyor system.
Who thought Sea Cows were Mermaids?
Imagine you had been a sailor on an early sailing ship passing through shallow coastal waters in the tropics. You might have been at sea for many months, and heard all sorts of seamen’s yarns and tales.Suddenly a strange animal reared up out of the water to watch the ship pass.
It had a fish-like tail and a face that could be vaguely human. As you look closer at this strange creature you discover that it is suckling a baby by holding it to its breast.
What would you think it was?Without knowing all about sea-cows you might be excused for imagining that you had seen a mermaid and it is thought that this is how many mermaid stories arose hundreds of years ago. Today, looking at the bald head and the wrinkled and hairy face of the Dugong, it is difficult to imagine mistaking it for a beautiful mermaid.
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