How The Manatee Was Named
How the manatee got its
name is uncertain. The term evidently has its roots in the Carib
Indian word "manati," meaning "woman's breast."
Perhaps an unlikely term to
apply to a marine animal, but the manatee is a mammal and its mammae
do resemble those of a human.
When the Spanish and Portuguese
invaded islands controlled by the Caribs, they also adopted the word
"manati" but apparently thought it meant "with hands."
Not an unnatural interpretation
since a manatee's front flippers are important for feeding, and (along
with the tail) instrumental for steering while swimming.
They also nicknamed it
"sea cow" because of its preference for plants.
Florida Manatee Facts and Information
Where To See Florida Manatees
Manatee Photo Gallery
How Long Have Manatees Been Around?
How Old Do Manatees Live?
Manatees as Mermaids
Manatees and Elephants
Why Manatees Became Endangered
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