We are not sure what the bigger story here is: the discovery of a new species of tiny adorable river manatee or the fact that this happened in July and we just learned about it last week! Anyway, these critters were discovered by a pioneering Amazonian biologist by the name of Marc van Roosmalen and covered by Darren Naish of Tetrapod Zoology a few months back. Tetrapod is kind of the better researched, actually informative, articulate and all around nerdier version of Zooillogix.

As the story goes, Marc came across the skull of a dwarf manatee and, suspecting it was a new species, searched for it for two years before finding a living specimen. Upon locating a couple, he fenced in a portion of the river and studied them in their natural habitat for four months. Like its saltwater brethren, the dwarf river manatee lives mostly off aquatic plants but hopes someday to land a lucrative career as a pet in Japan. Much more info can be found on Marc’s site.

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Ungainly out of the water, the dwarf river manatee is pretty much ungainly in the water as well

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StarKist: Pig of the Sea ?


  1. #1 Darren Naish
    November 15, 2007

    ‘all around nerdier’. Hmm, thanks. True though.

  2. #2 Homie Bear
    November 15, 2007

    If it’s any consolation, this is the first I heard of it too. Pretty interesting, I wonder what else is out there.

  3. #3 ScienceWoman
    November 15, 2007

    Wow. Cool. I always find it amazing when new mammals are discovered.

  4. #4 arachnophile
    November 15, 2007

    I can’t believe I’ve not heard of this either! I’ve been reading Tetzoo too… WEIRD.

    LOL – I really hope for this species sake that they don’t catch on in Japan. You could just see it though, couldn’t you?

  5. #5 Benny
    November 16, 2007

    I give the Chinese about two weeks to discover the incredible, magical, aphrodisiac powers from dried, ground pygmy manatee testicles. These things are f-ed.

  6. #6 Andrew
    November 16, 2007


  7. #7 Katie
    November 19, 2007

    forget Japan, I’m hoping that mini-manatees catch on in the US! But I really wouldn’t want to deplete their species even more than it already is, they’re too adorable to be extinct.

  8. #8 Jenbug
    November 21, 2007

    Ugh, I hope it doesn’t catch on it the US, for it’s own sake. We have enough problems with morons backyard-breeding dogs and keeping them in awful conditions, I’d hate to see what kind of horrible conditions could be cooked up by somebody with a lot of warped creativity and no understanding of habitat. There’d be five of these cuties in somebody’s backyard kiddie pool in no time.

  9. #9 Aron
    April 6, 2008

    Yeah there is a dvd out about this guy and his search for the pygmy manatee. It is real interesting. It is called the Species Hunter

  10. #10 muhabbet
    March 26, 2009


  11. #11 sunnet kiyafetleri
    December 15, 2009


  12. #12 Hannah Pedersen
    September 8, 2010

    I met Marc two years ago on a school trip to the Amazon rain forest and we traveled down the Aripuana tributary where he found the dwarf manatee. Unfortunately we didn’t see one, but we did see its teethmarks left behind on the aquatic grass it feeds from =)

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