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New Genus of Coelacanth Discovered
By Joseph Tepper, September 22, 2015 @ 10:09 AM (EST)
Source: IFL Science

Coelacanths have had arguably their biggest century to date—and that’s saying a lot for this prehistoric fish that’s been in the earth’s oceans for 400 million years. After being “rediscovered” from presumed extinction in 1938 and photographed underwater for the first time within the last 20 years, scientists have discovered a new genus and species of these living fossils.

The new species (part of a new genus), Serenicthys kowiensis, is confirmed by the fossils of 30 specimens in a fossil estuary in South Africa. The fossils represent juveniles, suggesting these ancient fish used estuaries as nurseries, much like their modern-day cousins. The discovery sheds further light on the transition of life from marine to land-based environments.

“This glimpse into the early life history of ancient coelacanths raises further questions about the life history of the modern coelacanth, Latimeria, which is known to bear live young, but whether they, too, are clustered in nurseries remains unknown,” lead researcher Professor Michael Coates from the University of Chicago said in a statement.

More information can be found in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.




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