Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Manatee or Manati

Did you know: Manatees are said to have evolved from four-footed land mammals more than 60 million years ago. According to scientists their closet relatives are reported to be the dugong, and the African Elephant (distantly).There are three species of manatees, including the West Indian manatee. The Florida manatee, which can eat up to 100 pounds (45 kilograms) of vegetation a day and weigh a half-ton on average, is a subspecies of the West Indian manatee. Manatees can move readily between salt water and fresh water, but they can't survive in cold water for long periods. In the U.S. the manatee is still listed federally as an endangered species yet in the state of Florida it it is listed only as a “threatened” species. The word manatee is considered an indigenous "loan word" found in both the Taino and Carib languages. Among the Carib the term Manati is said to translate to mean "breast." Traditionally, the Taino consider this animal as sacred as North American Indigenous Peoples consider the buffalo sacred. Prior to colonization Taino hunters used every part of the animal for food, tools, and other resources. - UCTP Taino News © 2009