Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Indonesian Coelacanth

Most of us have at least a passing familiarity with the story of the coelacanth, often referred to as a "living fossil", a fish thought to have been extinct for 70 million years until one was caught in the western Indian Ocean in the late 1930s. Apparently many more have been caught there off the Comoros Islands since then, but it wasn't until I saw this BBC story that I heard a new species of coelacanth was discovered thousands of miles away off an Indonesian island in 1998.

The picture above shows only the second individual of this new species ever seen, that was recently caught in the same area. A battery of DNA tests and other studies lies ahead for its frozen carcass.


desentell said...

This type of story leaves me equally in a state of awe and distress. The awe is obvious. An opportunity to see something so rare, so ancient, so primordial leaves me almost speechless. Yet I have always been troubled by how little we know about our surroundings, our home, and good old Mother Earth. For some reason, those in control of our national purse strings seem to believe that we must leave the planet in order to properly explore.

From its inception, I have loved the space program. Fortunately or not, I have been around long enough to follow it with excitement and enthusiasm. But can you even begin to imagine what discoveries might have been made had we devoted all those funds to the exploration of our planet? The mysteries that might have been unraveled about past civilizations, cryptids and cryptoids. We might know and understand sasquatch, the Loch Ness Monster and chupacabras. You laugh, but are you SURE they don’t exist? Coelacanths don’t exist either, right?

Steve Bodio said...

I believe in space exploration, cryptozoology, and saving all the pieces!

desentell said...

Hurray! I believe in all those things, too!

I wanted to say that ALL exploration is good. But decided to back off such a broad statement ;-)