Coelacanth

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Coelacanth (play /ˈsləkænθ/, adaptation of Modern Latin Cœlacanthus "hollow spine", from Greek κοῖλ-ος koilos "hollow" + ἄκανθ-α akantha "spine", referring to the hollow spines of the fins) is the common name for an order of fish that includes the oldest living lineage of Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish + tetrapods) known to date.

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Discovery

The coelacanths, which are related to lungfishes and tetrapods, were believed to have been extinct since the end of the Cretaceous period. More closely related to tetrapods than even the ray-finned fish, coelacanths were considered the "missing link" between the fish and the tetrapods until the first Latimeria specimen was found off the east coast of South Africa, off the Chalumna River (now Tyalomnqa) in 1938.[1] This discovery 65 million years after they were believed to have gone extinct makes them arguably the most well-known example of a Lazarus taxon, a species that seems to have disappeared from the fossil record only to reappear much later. Since 1938, Latimeria chalumnae have been found in the Comoros, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, and in iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa.

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