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    For the living species of coelacanths, see Latimeria.

    This article cites its sources but does not provide page references. You can help to improve it by introducing citations that are more precise.

    Coelacanth Temporal range:

    Early Devonian – Recent,[1] 409–0 Ma

    PreꞒ Ꞓ O S D C P T J K Pg N

    Preserved specimen of West Indian Ocean coelacanth caught in 1974 off Salimani, Grand Comoro, Comoro Islands

    Live coelacanth seen off Pumula on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, South Africa, 2019

    Scientific classification

    Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata : Sarcopterygii

    Subclass: Actinistia

    Order: Coelacanthiformes

    L. S. Berg, 1937 Type species † Agassiz, 1839 Families and genera Latimeriidae †Mawsoniidae Others, see text

    The coelacanths (/ˈsiːləkænθ/ (listen) ) are members of a now-rare order of fish (Coelacanthiformes) that includes two extant species in the genus : the West Indian Ocean coelacanth (), primarily found near the Comoro Islands off the east coast of Africa, and the Indonesian coelacanth ().[2] The name originates from the Permian genus , which was the first scientifically named coelacanth.[3]

    Coelacanths follow the oldest-known living lineage of Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish and tetrapods), which means they are more closely related to lungfish and tetrapods (which includes amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) than to ray-finned fish. They are found along the coastline of Indonesia and in the Indian Ocean.[4][5] The West Indian Ocean coelacanth is a critically endangered species.

    The oldest known coelacanth fossils are over 410 million years old. Coelacanths were thought to have become extinct in the Late Cretaceous, around 66 million years ago, but were discovered living off the coast of South Africa in 1938.[6][][7]

    The coelacanth was long considered a "living fossil" because scientists thought it was the sole remaining member of a taxon otherwise known only from fossils, with no close relations alive,[8] and that it evolved into roughly its current form approximately 400 million years ago.[1] However, several more recent studies have shown that coelacanth body shapes are much more diverse than previously thought.[9][10][11]

    Coelacanths belong to the subclass Actinistia, a group of lobed-finned fish related to lungfish and certain extinct Devonian fish such as osteolepiforms, porolepiforms, rhizodonts, and .[8]


    1 Etymology 2 Discovery 3 Description 3.1 DNA 4 Taxonomy 5 Fossil record

    5.1 Timeline of genera

    6 Distribution and habitat

    7 Behavior 7.1 Feeding 8 Life history 9 Conservation

    10 Human consumption

    11 Cultural significance

    12 References 13 Further reading 14 External links


    The word is an adaptation of the Modern Latin ("hollow spine"), from the Greek κοῖλ-ος (, "hollow") and ἄκανθ-α (, "spine"),[12] referring to the hollow caudal fin rays of the first fossil specimen described and named by Louis Agassiz in 1839, belonging to the genus .[8] The genus name commemorates Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer, who discovered the first specimen.[13]


    Fossil of the oldest described coelacanth, named by Louis Agassiz in 1839

    The earliest fossils of coelacanths were discovered in the 19th century. Coelacanths, which are related to lungfishes and tetrapods, were believed to have become extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period.[14] More closely related to tetrapods than to the ray-finned fish, coelacanths were considered transitional species between fish and tetrapods.[15] On 23 December 1938, the first specimen was found off the east coast of South Africa, off the Chalumna River (now Tyolomnqa).[6] Museum curator Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer discovered the fish among the catch of a local fisherman.[6][] Courtenay-Latimer contacted a Rhodes University ichthyologist, J. L. B. Smith, sending him drawings of the fish, and he confirmed the fish's importance with a famous cable: "Most Important Preserve Skeleton and Gills = Fish Described."[6]

    Its discovery 66 million years after its supposed extinction makes the coelacanth the best-known example of a Lazarus taxon, an evolutionary line that seems to have disappeared from the fossil record only to reappear much later. Since 1938, West Indian Ocean coelacanth have been found in the Comoros, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, in iSimangaliso Wetland Park, and off the South Coast of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa.[16][17]

    The Comoro Islands specimen was discovered in December 1952.[18] Between 1938 and 1975, 84 specimens were caught and recorded.[19]

    Source : en.wikipedia.org

    Bio 121 Chapter 34 Flashcards

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    They have internal fertilization.

    They were the first fish to develop teeth.

    Their buoyance is maintained by oil.

    Their teeth are composed of dentin and enamel.

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    They have internal fertilization.

    They were the first fish to develop teeth.

    Their buoyance is maintained by oil.

    Their teeth are composed of dentin and enamel.

    Select all of the following that are true about the chondrichthyans.


    Which fish were thought to be extinct, but were actually found in living populations?

    the third pharyngeal arch of jawless fishes.

    Evolutionarily, the jaws of vertebrates developed from

    frogs snakes birds humans

    Which are tetrapods? Check all that apply.

    changing of one body form to another within a species, such as the change from an aquatic tadpole to a terrestrial frog.

    Metamorphosis is

    egg with an amnion, yolk sac, allantois, chorion, and shell

    skin resistant to water loss

    ability to concentrate urine

    Select the features that are lacking in amphibians but present in reptiles and that confer an advantage to reptiles for living on land.


    The nearest living relatives of crocodiles and alligators are

    They have a hard shell.

    What is a defining characteristic of members of the Class Testudines?


    Animals capable of producing their own body heat by way of metabolism and of retaining it are said to be

    have feathers

    Birds are different from all other living vertebrates because they

    hair specialized teeth enlarged skull mammary glands

    Which are characteristics that distinguish mammals from other vertebrates? Check all that apply.

    a marsupium

    Marsupials are distinguished by


    T or F: Sharks have cartilaginous skeletons because bone-forming ability had not yet evolved in vertebrates when they originated.


    T or F: The formation of feathers, hair, and reptilian scales is based on completely different developmental patterns and genetic influences.


    T or F: The first truly bipedal primates were the australopithecines.


    T or F: Our species, Homo sapiens, had been in existence for approximately 1,40,000 years when it moved out of Africa and replaced Homo neanderthalis, another species of human, about 30,000 years ago.


    Reptiles are better adapted to life on land than are amphibians. Which external characteristic would a reptile have to lose to make it roughly externally equivalent to an amphibian in terms of ability to tolerate dry land?

    gas exchange Chorion contains nutrients Yolk sac

    compartmentalizes wastes


    Protection of the embryo

    Amnion grasping hand large brain forward-facing eyes

    complex social behavior

    Which of the following are primate characteristics? Check all that apply.

    Lampreys are parasitic, while hagfish are not parasitic.

    As a new curator for a large public aquarium in your city, you are in charge of correctly identifying some of the animals presently in your care. You have two adult animals in tanks in front of you, and you know that one is a lamprey, and the other is a hagfish. Which feature would allow you to correctly identify each animal?

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    Fish once labeled a 'living fossil' surprises scientists again

    The coelacanth - a wondrous fish that was thought to have gone extinct along with the dinosaurs 66 million years ago before unexpectedly being found alive and well in 1938 off South Africa's east coast - is offering up even more surprises.

    June 20, 20217:04 PM UTC

    Last Updated 10 months ago

    Fish once labeled a 'living fossil' surprises scientists again

    By Will Dunham 4 minute read


    Staff of department of fish studies at the National Museum of Kenya on Nov. 19, 2001, display a coelacanth fish weighing 77 kilograms and measuring 1.7 metres caught by Kenyan fishermen at the coastal town of Malindi in April 2001. REUTERS/George Mulala/File Photo

    June 18 (Reuters) - The coelacanth - a wondrous fish that was thought to have gone extinct along with the dinosaurs 66 million years ago before unexpectedly being found alive and well in 1938 off South Africa's east coast - is offering up even more surprises.

    Scientists said a new study of these large and nocturnal deep-sea denizens shows that they boast a lifespan about five times longer than previously believed - roughly a century - and that females carry their young for five years, the longest-known gestation period of any animal.

    Focusing on one of the two living species of coelacanth (pronounced SEE-lah-canth), the scientists also determined that it develops and grows at among the slowest pace of any fish and does not reach sexual maturity until about age 55.

    Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

    The researchers used annual growth rings deposited on the fish's scales to determine the age of individual coelacanths - "just as one reads tree rings," said marine biologist Kélig Mahé of the French oceanographic institution IFREMER, lead author of the study published this week in the journal Current Biology.

    Coelacanths first appeared during the Devonian Period roughly 400 million years ago, about 170 million years before the dinosaurs. Based on the fossil record, they were thought to have vanished during the mass extinction that wiped out about three-quarters of Earth's species following an asteroid strike at the end of the Cretaceous Period.

    After being found alive, the coelacanth was dubbed a "living fossil," a description now shunned by scientists.

    "By definition, a fossil is dead, and the coelacanths have evolved a lot since the Devonian," said biologist and study co-author Marc Herbin of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.

    It is called a lobe-finned fish based on the shape of its fins, which differ structurally from other fish. Such fins are thought to have paved the way for the limbs of the first land vertebrates to evolve.

    Coelacanths reside at ocean depths of as much as half a mile (800 meters). During daylight hours they stay in volcanic caves alone or in small groups. Females are somewhat larger than males, reaching about seven feet (two meters) long and weighing 240 pounds (110 kg).

    The two extant species, both endangered, are the African coelacanth, found mainly near the Comoro Islands off the continent's east coast, and the Indonesian coelacanth. The study focused on the African coelacanth, using scales from 27 individuals in two museum collections.

    Previous research had suggested roughly a 20-year lifespan and among the fastest body growth of any fish. It turns out that this was based on a misreading decades ago of another type of ring deposited in the scales.

    "After reappraisal of the coelacanth's life history based on our new age estimation, it appears to be one of the slowest - if not the slowest - among all fish, close to deep-sea sharks and roughies," said IFREMER marine evolutionary ecologist and study co-author Bruno Ernande.

    "A centenarian lifespan is quite something," Ernande added.

    The Greenland shark, a big deep-ocean predator, can claim the distinction of being Earth's longest-living vertebrate, with a lifespan reaching roughly 400 years.

    Ernande said the researchers were astounded when they figured out the coelacanth's record gestation period, which exceeds the 3.5 years of frilled sharks and the two years of elephants and spiny dogfish sharks.

    The researchers said late sexual maturity and a lengthy gestation period, combined with low fecundity and a small population size, makes coelacanths particularly sensitive to natural or human-caused environmental disturbances such as extreme climate events or too much accidental fishing.

    Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

    Reporting by Will Dunham in Washington, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

    Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

    Source : www.reuters.com

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