The Coelacanth is a prehistoric fish that was once thought to be extinct along with the dinosaurs about 65 mya (million yrs ago). But, in 1938 the species was discovered very much alive and well in the waters around South Africa and Madagascar. Presently, there are two known species of this creature. One lives near the Comoros Islands off the east coast of Africa and the other lives in the waters near Sulawesi, Indonesia. Evolutionists believe that the Coelacanth represents an early step in evolution of fish evolving into land-dwelling four legged amphibians. Today the Coelacanth is conidered a “living fossil.”
The Coelacanth is an elusive creature living in depths up to 2300 feet (700 m). They can grow to be huge with some reaching as large as 6.5 feet (2 m) or more and they can weigh around 198 lbs (90 kilograms). Some scientists believe the creature can live up to 60 years or more. In terms of population we don’t really know just how many of these creatures still exist but some estimates put their number at about 1000. Logically, these “living fossils” are considered an endangered species today.
Prior to 1938 we only knew about the Coelacanth through fossil remains. It is believed that it evolved into its present form around 400 mya. It’s story begins with the Cretaceous Period (145–66 mya). The first specimen of this alleged extinct fish was discovered by a museum curator named Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer who found the fish among the catch of a local fisherman on the east coast of South Africa near the Chalumna River (today known as the Tyolomnga River). When living specimens of this creature were discovered it rocked the world of Paleontology to say the least. Suddenly, a creature believed to be extinct 66 mya was discovered living and very much alive! However, the Coelacanth is not the only “living fossil” around thought to have gone extinct but, in fact, did not. Continue Reading