The coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae, a 400-million year old "living fossil fish," is the last remaining representative of a once widespread family of fleshy-finned (Sarcopterygian) coelacanth fishes. First discovered in 1938, the fish's significance lies in its relation to Eusthenopteron, believed by some scientists to have grown legs and come ashore some 360 million years ago, making it "the ancestor of all tetrapods including ourselves." While this evolutionary view is not accepted by all scientists, the coelacanth remains a fascinating and mysterious creature. This site, by coelacanth expert and long-time Explorer Club member Jerome Hamlin, offers background information, stories, and photographs of coelacanths and the discoveries that have brought coelacanths to public attention. The Recent History section describes the 1938 through 1998 captures of coelacanths; Biology and Behavior offers ecological information on coelacanths; and Conservation describes the Coelacanth Rescue Mission, dedicated to reducing mortalities of coelacanths during accidental captures off the Comodoro Islands. The site also includes a contact address whereby interested viewers may submit further suggestions to reduce coelacanth mortality.
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