Support Aeon

‘I learn more about how to think about the world from Aeon than probably any other publication I regularly read.’

Elizabeth B, USA, Friend of Aeon

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Give now

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Give now

Animated life: living fossil fish

7 minutes

In 1938, a fish thought extinct for 65 million years resurfaced, nearly unchanged

In 1938, the South African museum curator Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer set out on a quest to preserve an unusual fish given to her by a local fisherman. Soon after, the South African ichthyologist J L B Smith confirmed that Courtenay-Latimer had stumbled upon one of the most stunning zoological discoveries of the 20th century. The blue, fleshy, unusually shaped fish was a coelacanth – a creature previously thought to have become extinct with the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago. Part of Sweet Fern Productions’ Animated Life series, this short animation traces the coelacanth’s incredible journey through several distinct geological periods until its recent resurfacing when it was found to be nearly unchanged from its ancient fossils.

Director: Flora Lichtman, Sharon Shattuck

Website: BioInteractive

Get Aeon straight
to your inbox
Join our newsletter
Aeon is not-for-profit
and free for everyone
Make a donation
Essay/
Physics
Out of nowhere

Does everything in the world boil down to basic units – or can emergence explain how distinctive new things arise?

Paul Humphreys

Essay/
Cosmology
How cosmic is the cosmos?

Ever since Heisenberg and Tagore, physicists have flirted with Eastern philosophy. Is there anything in the romance?

Zeeya Merali