One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An order of large aquatic plant-eating mammals that includes the manatees and dugong. They live chiefly in tropical coastal waters and are distinguished by paddlelike forelimbs and a tail flipper replacing hind limbs.
Order Sirenia: two families and four living species
- ‘Marine mammals are divided into three orders: Carnivora, Sirenia and Cetacea.’
- ‘Dugongs belong to the mammalian order Sirenia and are popularly known as sea-cows.’
- ‘Belonging to the order Sirenia, dugongs are believed to have given rise to the mermaid myth.’
Modern Latin (see siren).
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