Let's Not Lose Them
The Coelacanth
-By Rani Iyer

To understand the mystery of this creature, you have to travel back in time, about 150 million years before dinosaurs first appeared on land. The Coelacanth (pronounced SEE-la-canth) is a primitive fish that first appeared about 380 million years ago. The fish is considered primitive, and belongs to the lobe-finned fish (Crossopterygii) family. Its scientific name is Latimeria chalumnae.
After the fossils of this fish were discovered, the Coelacanth was thought to have been extinct for millions of years. In 1932, scientists were stunned to discover it alive and thriving in the Indian Ocean.

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In the coast of Madagascar, off South Africa, scientists were thrilled to hear fishermen talk about it! They found that the skin of the fish was too rough and could be used for patching the inner tubes of their bicycles.
Since then, several individual fish have been caught in the Indian Ocean. Because of the rare distinction of being found in fossils and yet alive, scientists refer to them as a 'living fossil.' It is surprising that the fish has never been noticed before. Consider the size. The Coelacanth is about 5 feet (1.5 m) long with a three-lobed tail. Teeth are found only in the front of the mouth, and the jaw is hinged to the skull allowing it to open the mouth widely. The name Coelacanth means, "hollow spine." All the vertebrae of this fish are hollow. The Coelacanth eats other fishes and crustaceans. It gives birth to live young fishes (viviparous). If man doesn't pollute the ocean or disturb it excessively, the Coelacanth will survive well into the next millennium..

Update
Coelocanth has now been reported in territorial waters of Kenya, East Africa, Hong Kong, and Indonesia.



User's Comments                     
Ednak
I found that very interesting on how some fishermen found this fossilized fish.
Katy
I learned about this fish first in french one year! Then my step brother had a book with it in it... And then it was brought up in another science class, and every one was like 'WOW, how does she know about this thing??' But it's a pretty sweet thing to have a 150 million yr old fish that we all thought was extinct, still swimming in our waters!
Liliana
Sounds like you are going to have a lot of fun this smmuer. I love the sea worlds also.I have been meaning to tell you how beautiful your Country is. I spent some time in Augsburg Germany and in Berlin. Many years ago.
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