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Prehistoric pygmy sea cow discovered in Madagascar

The remains of an extinct pygmy sea cow have been found on the island of Madagascar.

Known from a roughly 40-million-year-old skull and a few ribs, the new species has been named Eotheroides lambondrano, after the Malagasy word for dugong, which translates to “water bushpig.” At about seven feet (two meters) long, the ancient pygmy sea cow was smaller than the modern dugong, which ranges from about 8 to 10 feet (2.4 to 3 meters) in length.

The pygmy sea cow would have been “a neat in-between” animal in the evolution from primitive land-dwelling mammals to today’s aquatic sea cows, Samonds said.

E. lambondrano is also unique in that its closest relatives would have lived in what is now India and Egypt, according to the study—making its Madagascan location all the more special.

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