noun (plural same or dugongs)
A sea cow found on the coasts of the Indian Ocean from eastern Africa to northern Australia. It is distinguished from the manatees by its forked tail.
- Dugong dugon, family Dugongidae.
- Genetic evidence suggests that the elephant's closest relatives in evolutionary terms are manatees and dugongs, herbivorous sea cows that live full-time in the water.
- Dugongs and manatees make up the order Sirenia, so-named because dugongs and manatees are thought to have given rise to the myth of the mermaids or sirens of the sea.
- A modern analog for this is the dugong from the Pacific Ocean.
Early 19th century: based on Malay duyong.
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