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  • Steller’s Sea Cow : Steller’s Menagerie Part Two

Steller’s Sea Cow : Steller’s Menagerie Part Two

This is the business end of the two part story of Georg Steller, Vitus Bering and Steller’s Sea Cow (Hydrodamalis gigas) – shipwreck, death, survival, extinction and a lost world of astounding widllife. The Great Northern Expedition is coming to its dramatic end, and not everyone – or everything – is getting out alive.

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A wealth of images and further info awaits in the shownotes below …

First, a member of Steller’s menagerie that I feel bad about omitting for reasons of time … the wonderfully eccentric-looking Steller’s eider:

Photo by Ron Knight on Flickr

And here is, sadly, what we’ve got by way of images for Steller’s Sea Cow.

Its skeleton:

And an old, old drawing of Steller himself examining one:

Big, no? Really big.

And another sadly extinct wonder, the Spectacled cormorant (Phalacrocorax perspicillatus), which Steller also discovered on Bering Island:

If you want to explore the fascinating, if not exactly cheery, science behind our understanding of the extinction of Steller’s sea cow, here are a couple of scientific papers laying out the alternative explanations:

And a bonus! Remember Steller’s Sea Ape, the mysterious unidentified animal Steller reported back in the previous episode? Here’s an unexpected theory for what it might have been. (Hint: Did Georg Steller have a sense of humour? I’m not entirely convinced myself (you don’t see much other evidence for it in his journal), but you never know …)


Opening Theme: Running Waters by Audionautix (Jason Shaw), from audionautix.com. Creative Commons Attribution Licence.

Closing Theme: Acoustic Meditation by Audionautix (Jason Shaw), from audionautix.com. Creative Commons Attribution Licence.

Traditional Song of the Volga Boatmen and Blue Feather and Virtutes Voci and Virtutes Instrumenti by Kevin Macleod (Incompetech.com). Creative Commons Attribution Licence.

Excidentis foliae and The heaven is far by Damiano Baldoni. Creative Commons Attribution Licence.

a letter from doxent by Stefan Kartenberg. Creative Commons Attribution Licence.

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