Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Cenozoic Mammals of Africa$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Lars Werdelin

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257214

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257214.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 29 June 2022



(p.146) (p.147) Fourteen Sirenia
Cenozoic Mammals of Africa

Daryl P. Domning

Iyad S. Zalmout

Philip D. Gingerich

University of California Press

The order Sirenia is the only extant group of mammals adapted to feed exclusively on aquatic plants. In view of the worldwide abundance of aquatic macrophytes and the few other large herbivores competing for this resource, it is noteworthy that Recent sirenians comprise only three genera and five species. One of these, Steller's sea cow (Hydrodamalis gigas) of the North Pacific, was exterminated by humans in the eighteenth century. Uniquely among sirenians, the Steller's sea cow was adapted to cold-temperate climates and a diet of kelp and other algae. All the living sirenians are tropical forms that feed preferentially on angiosperms, and this appears to have been the primitive condition for the order. The Indian Ocean and West Pacific tropics are today inhabited by a single species, Dugong dugon, distributed in nearshore marine waters from East Africa and the Red Sea to Japan, Micronesia, and Australia. There are four families of sirenians: Prorastomidae, Protosirenidae, Trichechidae, and Dugongidae. This chapter describes the systematic paleontology of Sirenia.

Keywords:   Sirenia, paleontology, mammals, Steller's sea cow, Hydrodamalis gigas, angiosperms, Dugong dugon, sirenians, Protosirenidae, Trichechidae

California Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.