Today, December 23rd, is a special one.
Latimeria chalumnae, 1938.
Museum curator Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer (above) discovered the coelacanth among the catch of a local fishing trawler owner, Captain Hendrick Goosen, on December 23, 1938. It had been caught off the southeastern coast of Africa, in the Indian Ocean.
Latimeria chalumnae was verified, having not been seen alive after allegedly being extinct for 65 million years. The coelacanth has been nicknamed a “living fossil,” because it was originally known only through fossils, long before the first discovery of a live specimen.
The species today, in adult form of 5.5 to 6.5 feet long, are much larger than the size of the fossils. Nevertheless, the coelacanth is thought to have evolved into roughly its current configuration approximately 402 million years ago.
Come see more about coelacanths at the International Cryptozoology Museum of Portland, Maine.
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