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What Is A Coelacanth?
The Coelacanth, or Latimeria chalumnae Smith, is one of the most interesting types of fish in the world. This comes from how this fish was believed to have been extinct for a long period of time. The history of the fish is very strong and over the years it has been handled over the years to where the fish is being protected by a variety of organizations. The Coelacanth is unique in that it was discovered in the twentieth century despite how it was though to be extinct. In late 1938 a Coelacanth was caught at the Chalumna River on the eastern part of South Africa. The crew that caught it thought it looked unusual so it consulted a museum in the town of East London, South Africa for assistance with identifying it.
It turned out that it was a fish that was identified as being the same as that of what fossilized remains of a Coelacanth featured. The rediscovery of the fish prompted the change in the scientific name of the fish. The name was created in honor of East London Museum director Marjorie Courtney-Latimer and the South African ichthyologist Dr. J.L.B. Smith. Smith was informed by Courtney-Latimer of this discovery. The grouping of the Coelacanth that was found was located in the Comoros Islands. This is a grouping of islands between the mainland and Madagascar. It was believed to be the only population of this fish in the world until the late part of the twentieth century.
The physical build of this fish makes it unique. The vertebral column on the fish is not completely developed. It also has paired lobed fins that move like human limbs and an additional lobe on its tail. This makes the fish one that works with more functions than that of what a standard type of fish would deal with. However, it is the intercranial joint on the fish that makes it unique. This joint is one that separates the ear and brain from the fish’s eyes and nasal organs. This works to allow the fish to lift its head up when swimming or feeding.rnrnThe Coelacanth can grow to become 2m long and 100kg in weight. It also has some large meristic counts. The first dorsal fin is eight spines long and the second dorsal fin is thirty rays in size. The pelvic, caudal, pectoral and anal fins can be around thirty rays each.rnrnThe fish has been found in some other variants in other parts of the world. In 1998 a Coelacanth was caught in Indonesia. This fish had a brown color instead of the standard blue that the fish normally has. This type of Coelacanth is a Sulawesi Coelacanth. This was named after the town in Indonesia that the fish was caught in. However, the interesting thing about this particular specimen is that locals were familiar with it at the time. It was referred to as the raja laut or the “king of the sea.” It is not clear as to how long these people were familiar with the fish for. However, it is still a sign that shows how unique this fish is among a number of other creatures of the sea in that area.
In 2003 the Institute of Marine Sciences in Zanzibar worked alongside the African Coelacanth Project organization to work towards finding more of this fish. In 2003 a Coelacanth was found in the southern section of the country. It was found in Songo Mnara. About thirty-five of these fish have been found around the country since then. In 2007 another Coelacanth was caught in Nungwi, Zanzibar, Tanzania. The existence of fossils over the years has been well documented. The fish has been believed to have existed in a number of forms since the days when the dinosaurs existed. Records that date back to 360 million years in the past have been found with most of the fossils dating back to 240 million years ago. It was believed before 1938 that they have become extinct 80 million years ago. It has been found that the fossils for this fish have been predominantly found in areas where fossil formation can be easily handled. These include places like caves and overhangs located around vertical marine reefs. These include areas located around newly formed islands that were created by volcanoes. It was also believed before the rediscovery of the Coelacanth that they were ancestors of tetrapods. These are animals that live on land and include humans. However, further studies have found that the lungfish may be a closer match than that of a Coelacanth.
The questions that come from the Coelacanth with evolution in mind are still present. Since the rediscovery of this fish it has truly piqued interest among a number of different people. The Australian Museum has on Coelacanth specimen that was found off of the Comoros Islands and was bought in 1965 by the Trustees of the museum. The fish specimen was especially noted by the local media in Perth as it can to the Western Australian Museum via the US RV Atlantis. When the fish came on display it was referred to as the “wishing fish” by a number of people. This worked in that people would insert coins into the small crack found in the holding case for the specimen and then made a wish.
This practice was discontinued after the color of the water in the tank became discolored from all of the coins that had been put in it. Since then the Coelacanth has been put on display in a number of different areas all over the world. This is one of the most unique types of fish in the world for anyone to see. The Coelacanth is a fish that is impressive in its appearance and is being well protected. This is thanks to how the fish is one that is not only unique but also rare in the world and needs to be secure for the future. This is needed so the fish will not become extinct for good at any time in the future.
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