Dinosaurs, a Fishy Tale

One Man's Opinion

In 1984 I found myself in East London, South Africa, a small city with not much going on. Museums are interesting to me, especially the Natural History section and for a small place East London has an excellent one.

There I found out about and saw a stuffed  dinosaur fish, the Coelacanth. Scientist though that it had gone extinct along with the other dinosaurs 65 million years back. But then on 23 December 1938, the first Latimeria specimen was found off the east coast of South Africa. A Rhodes University ichthyologist, J.L.B. Smith, confirmed the fish’s importance with a famous cable: “MOST IMPORTANT PRESERVE SKELETON AND GILLS = FISH DESCRIBED”.

No internet in 1984.

This is the Coelacanth preserved and on view at the East London Museum. Photo courtesy of eastlondon.org.za

coalocanth

The first recorded Coelacanth fossil, found in Australia, was of a jaw that dated back 360 million years…

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