Coelacanth facts, pictures and in-depth information.
Coelacanths are sometimes known as ‘living fossils’; animals that have changed little over millions of years. These ancient fish are more closely related to four-limbed vertebrates (including humans) than they are to many fishes.
For many years coelacanths were only known from fossils – it was thought that they had become extinct around 70 million years ago.
Incredibly, a living coelacanth was caught off the coast of South Africa in 1938 – in effect, bringing the coelacanths ‘back from the dead’. Since then, numerous other coelacanths have been caught and today two living species are recognized. One of these – the West Indian coelacanth – is rated ‘Critically Endangered’; it is thought that fewer than 500 survive.
Read on to find out more about these fascinating fish …