Monday, August 28, 2006

 

Australia: Victorian fish fossil fills ancient gap

Coelacanth Oldest Known Fossil Indian Ocean (Evolution Research: John Latter / Jorolat)Australia: The oldest known fossil coelacanth has just been described by Macquarie University (New South Wales) researchers in the international journal Biology Letters, in conjunction with colleagues in Victoria and Paris.

The coelacanth ("see-la-kanth") is a "living fossil" fish with "proto legs" that pre-dates the dinosaurs by millions of years. It was once thought to have gone extinct with them, 65 million years ago, but was rediscovered living in the Indian Ocean in 1938.

This new coelacanth fossil was collected by Professor John Talent of the Macquarie University Centre for Ecostratigraphy and Palaeobiology from Early Devonian rocks in Victoria in the 1970s. At nearly 400 million years old, it is much older than previously known coelacanth fossils. [NSW]
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The Biology Letters paper is "Oldest coelacanth, from the Early Devonian of Australia" (Abstract)

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