|the Dresden Specimen|
1742 Steller himself examined, measured and counted the bones of a female seacow on Bering Island, but some of his figures are doubtful. Steller e.g. counted six cervical vertebrae. All mammals however own seven, except Sloth (9) and Manatees (6). As Steller believed that he was dealing with a Manatee (which he knew from Spanish records), this had probably influenced his judgment and he counted the 7th cervival as 1st thoratic.
1982 Ann Forsten and Phillip M. Youngman described the Helsinki skeleton. As this is presumably the only specimen coming entirely from one individual, their paper is often referred to. In the same year Adolf Kleinschmidt described the Braunschweig specimen. And 2003 Clara Stefen studied the Dresden skeleton.The following table compares the results of these papers:
|pairs of ribs||17||17||19||18|
H. gigas had no clavicles.
Steller wrote: radius and ulna terminate bluntly with tarsus and metatarsus (rather carpal and metacarpal). It can be assumed that the carpalia were extremely reduced, however none has been collected. The animal had no finger bones, these had disappeared during its evolution. the carpal bones were covered with solid fat, and the surrounding skin was much thicker, so the ends of the arms were like a hooked horses hoof, covered with strong bristles.
According to Steller the first five pairs of ribs were joined to the sternum by cartilage. The sternum in the upper portion, where the ribs are fastened on is cartilaginous, the lower portion is bony . Only few specimen of this bone are left.
Natural History Museum Helsinki attempted to show these first pairs of ribs attached to the sternum.
The further 12 pairs of ribs were free, permitting a large respiratory volume. The ribs are thick and heavy.
|The Khabarovsk specimen|
(Photo Evgeniy Novomodniy)
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