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Living Fossil "Coelacanth"

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Living Fossil the "Coelacanth" caught by local fisherman in North Sulawesi Indonesia. The coelacanth or "Dino Fish" dates back to the dinosaur
period some 65 milion years ago.


Coelacanth is the common name for an order of fish that includes the oldest living lineage of gnathostomata known to date. The coelacanths, which are related to lungfishes and tetrapods, were believed to have been extinct since the end of the Cretaceous period, until the first Latimeria specimen was found off the east coast of South Africa, off the Chalumna River in 1938. They are, therefore, a Lazarus taxon. Since 1938, Latimeria chalumnae have been found in the Comoros, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, and in iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa. The second extant species, L. menadoensis, was described from Sulawesi, Indonesia in 1999 by Pouyaud et al. based on a specimen discovered by Erdmann in 1998 and deposited in Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI). The first specimen of this species was only photographed at a local market by Arnaz and Mark Erdmann before being bought by a shopper. The coelacanth has no real commercial value, apart from being coveted by museums and private collectors. As a food fish the coelacanth is almost worthless as its tissues exude oils even when dead, imparting the flesh with a foul flavour.

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