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

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