Coelacanths Fish Stamp Latimeria Chalumnae Mini Sov. Sheet MNH

Coelacanths Fish Stamp Latimeria Chalumnae Mini Sov. Sheet MNH

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Coelacanths Latimeria Chalumnae Mini Sov. Sheet MNH

The coelacanths (/ˈsiːləkænθ/ (About this sound listen) SEE-lə-kanth) constitute a now rare order of fish that includes two extant species in the genus Latimeria: the West Indian Ocean coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) primarily found near the Comoro Islands off the east coast of Africa and the Indonesian coelacanth (Latimeria menadoensis). They follow the oldest-known living lineage of Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish and tetrapods), which means they are more closely related to lungfish and tetrapods than to ray-finned fishes. They are found along the coastlines of the Indian Ocean and Indonesia. Since there are only two species of coelacanth and both are threatened, it is the most endangered order of animals in the world. The West Indian Ocean coelacanth is a critically endangered species.

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 Panderichthys. Coelacanths were thought to have become extinct in the Late Cretaceous, around 66 million years ago, but were rediscovered in 1938 off the coast of South Africa.

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