In 1938, a museum curator named Marjorie Courtenay Latimer was looking over the daily catch of a local South African fisherman, when she spotted an unusual fish. A closer examination revealed that it was a coelacanth, a lobe-finned fish that everyone thought had gone extinct in the Late Cretaceous Period 66 million years ago. Astonished by her discovery, she alerted a fish specialist at Rhodes University, James Smith, who confirmed her identification, and then in his excitement cabled to the world ‘Most important preserved skeleton and gills = fish described’. Scientists are often known for their understatements.
The coelacanth is the common name of a large marine fish that is found today near the Comoro Islands off the east coast of Africa. It belongs to an ancient group of fish that is thought to be closely related to the first amphibians. It is sometimes referred to as a ‘living fossil,’ because until recently it was thought that all members of the group that it belongs have been extinct for 66 million years.
- Scientific Name: Latimeria, after Marjorie Courtenay Latimer, who discovered the first specimen of the only living coelacanth.
- Characteristics: The living coelacanth, Latimeria, belongs to a group called the lobe-finned fish. Unlike practically all living fish that have fins made of simple bony rays and skin, lobe-finned fish have large fins with bones and muscles in them. It is believed that the limbs of the first amphibians evolved from fins like these.
- Size and Colour: This model is 5.5 inches long and 2.5 inches high. It is colored exactly like the living coelacanth, deep blue with bright white spots.
- The Coelacanth is part of the Wild Safari® Prehistoric World collection
- All of our products are Non-toxic and BPA free
Size in cm: 14 L x 6.5 W