…but not, as the song goes, also known as the manatee. If you have no clue to which song I am referring, it is this little slice of awesome:
Dugongs and manatees are actually entirely different creatures, in different Families (Dugongidae and Trichechidae, respectively). And the dolphin is quite a distant cousin actually, not very close – the Sirenia (the Order to which both dugongs and manatees belong) is most closely related to the Proboscidea (elephants) and Hyracoidea (hyraxes). But only very distantly related to the Cetacea (whales and dolphins).
However, it still remains a great song. And it IS known as the cow of the sea (e-e)! So they got something right!
So, why all this talk of dugongs anyway? Well, friends, because I was cleaning one this afternoon! Another week in Zoology, lots more work done! All of the mammal material on display is now catalogued to computer (with beautiful colour photos and everything!), and much cleaner! I have dusted a dugong and hoovered an elephant skull today! Along with many other bits and pieces (including a dolphin skeleton, model porpoise, walrus skull, and a variety of antelope mounts). I feel like I am now made of dust! I suspect I’ll be sneezing it up for days! I still feel like I’m covered in it, even though I had a thorough shower as soon as I got home!
What a busy little beaver I’ve been! Unfortunately, next week I have to go back to my day job. Not that I don’t adore my day job, and after all this it’ll be positively relaxing, but I have had a lot of fun in the Zoology department. And gained a lot of good experience to put on my CV, too! Bonus.