Land’s largest creature the elephant has a cousin in the underwater world and it is known as Florida manatee or even teddy bear of the sea. Manatee is the largest herbivorous mammal in the sea and it can grow as large as 1590kg. Fossil record shows that manatee evolved from elephants 50 million years ago. Both these mammals descend from a group of common ancestors known as Tethytheria. Initially, they were small and rodent like creatures which were living on land during Cenozoic age. Over time, some of these creatures evolved into elephants while others evolved into sea-dwelling manatees. Manatees belong to the order called Sirenia and elephants are closest living relatives of Sirenians. In that way, manatees and elephants are cousins!
Manatees have a lot in common with their distant land cousins particularly their physical features. Manatees have two incisors that resembles elephant tusks and the toe nails on its flippers precisely match elephants’ toenails. Both creatures are herbivores and able to grasp a long term memory compared to other mammals on the planet today. Manatee is one of the goofiest creatures because it even allows algae to breed on its back. Manatee is also a gentle giant with a very calm nature unless they are provoked and do not have any natural predators except humans. Unfortunately, this sweet giant is endangered species now due to boat collisions and entanglement in fishing gear. If you wish to spot this adorable manatee you can visit Blue Spring State Park in Florida since they can be found often there.