Monday, August 31, 2009

The Coelacanth Lives On

The coelacanth was discovered in 1938, after many scientists believed it went extinct with the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Because of its prehistoric features, scientists believe that it represents an earlier step in evolution before fish turned into four-legged creatures or amphibians. Its unique features, such as its paired lobe fins that extend from its body like legs and its hinged joint in the skull that widens the coelacanth’s mouth, both make it a rare “living fossil”. Although there are only about 1,000 of them in the world, these fish can live up to 60 years and often grow to be about six feet long. 

Bonus Fact: The coelacanth’s brain fills only 1.5 percent of its cranial cavity. The rest is filled with fat.

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