From COSMOS magazine:
Ancient dugong worship site discovered
Monday, 28 September 2009
PARIS: An ancient site of worship for the dugong, or sea cow, has been discovered in the Persian Gulf and predates other known dugong worship sites by more than 5,000 years.
The sanctuary, believed to date back between 3500 and 3200 BC, was discovered on Akab Island in the United Arab Emirates, 50 km north of Dubai.
A French archaeological mission in the Emirates and the Umm al-Quwain museum in the UAE said in the archaeology magazine Antiquity that the sanctuary on the deserted island provided key details “on the rituals of prehistoric coastal societies in the Gulf.”
Insights into prehistoric coastal societies
Akab was a tuna fisherman’s village more than 6,500 years ago with circular buildings and a pile of dugong bones detected in the 1990s.
The species of marine mammal (Dugong dugon) still exists in the Gulf, with adults growing up to four metres long and weighing up to 400 kg.
The sanctuary was first thought to be an abattoir, but on detailed analysis was found to be a carefully constructed platform on two levels containing the remains of around 40 dugongs as well as tools, stones and ornaments.
The archaeologists said the Akab monument was used for rituals celebrating the giant mammal and “has no parallel in Neolithic times in other parts of the world.”
Similar structures have been found off the Australian coast but are only a few hundred years old.
Dugon[g]s have been hunted for thousands of years because of their valued meat and blubber. Today, the IUCN lists the dugong as a species vulnerable to extinction.
See also here.
This video says about itself:
Along the coast of Abu Dhabi, development is spilling into the sea, smothering the sea grass beds that nourish rare marine mammals called dugongs.
4 dugong killed by illegal fishermen in Queensland: here.
Blue-green algae is threatening to smother the Western Australian seagrass beds that dugongs feed off: here.