Coelacanths are an order of lobe-finned fish related to lungfish and tetrapods.
They first appeared in the Devonian period, and for many years, were believed to have gone extinct at the
However, a living specimen was found in a fishing net brought ashore in
South Africa in
(and since then other specimens have brought ashore at a number of locations around the Indian Ocean).
Coelacanth were very successful and widespread from the Devonian until the
Scientists now think that what happened is that they suffered a near total extinction at the end of the
Cretaceous. that wiped out
all shallow-water species, and left only hard-to-find deep-water species (fossils are rarely lifted from, or recovered from, deep-water locations).
Because of their apparent disappearance from the fossil
record for millions of years, and their later discovery alive, Coelacanths are known as a "Lazarus taxon".
One interesting aside about Coelacanths is that they are offered described in the popular media as having been
unchanged for millions of years, but this is not the case. Neither of the two currently known living species, nor any other members of their genus, have been found in the
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