News from the Natural World: Are Coelacanths extinct? We speak to one called Carla who cannot believe the depth of human stupidity and confusion.
“Big head, big brain, so dim!”
Carla the Coelacanth has issued this statement from her sea cave in Comoros after another of her kind disappeared, presumed to have been caught in a fishing net:- “I read that humans don’t like to eat us because we taste foul and that you do want to protect us as we totter on the brink extinction, so why do you kill us? Such ignorance! You know nothing about us. “
Carla was really hitting her stroke now – “You say you discovered our fossils in the 1830s. One scientist decided Coelacanths appeared 400M yrs ago (early Devonian), another opted for 260M yrs ago (Permian), but they did agree that we died out in the Mass Extinction of 66M yrs ago (late Cretaceous) that obliterated the dinosaurs, when an asteroid collided with our planet. But we have been living mainly off the eastern coast of Africa in the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean for all this time, undetected, until you found one of us in 1938 off South Africa. After all, we are very tiny, hard to see, as we only grow up to 2m long and can weigh 90kgs (198lbs)! I almost qualify as a heavyweight boxer!“
Are Coelacanths Extinct?
Coelacanths (Latin, hollow spine) belong to the genus Latimeria and are related to Lungfish. They can live as deep as 750m, sheltering within reefs and caves by day and hunting Squid and Cuttlefish at night. They possess huge eyes to cope with low light levels and have a small mouth that can open very wide. Thick, bluish scales act as an armour and, like humans, they fear sharks. Slow-moving, often drifting with ocean currents, it is thought that they can live for a hundred years.
Carla continues, “Stop calling us living fossils! We have not risen, Lazarus-like, from the dead. You got it wrong, we never died! And there’s another mistake you made! We don’t only live in the western Indian Ocean. Over 20yrs ago your wretched fishermen caught one of us off the north coast of Sulawesi in Indonesia along the Pacific Rim! Go back to school, children. You are such a very young species, not that you even know how old you are!”
TAKE ACTION – NOW
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