Smithsonian scientists discover multiple species of seacows once coexisted

WASHINGTON, DC.- Sirenians, or seacows, are a group of marine mammals that include manatees and dugongs; today, only one species of seacow is found in each world region. Smithsonian scientists have discovered that this was not always the case. According to the fossil record of these marine mammals, which dates back 50 million years ago, it was more common to find three, or possibly more, different species of seacows living together at one time. This suggests that the environment and food sources for ancient seacows were also different than today. The team’s findings are published in the journal PLoS ONE. Today there are only four species of seacows―three species of manatees, which are found in different coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and one species of dugong, found along the coasts of the Indo-Pacific Ocean. All seacows are herbivores, and their diet is made