Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 9th, 2010
Late word has reached me that there has been published a new book of interest to cryptozoology, Coelacanth – Portrait of a Living Fossil by Peter Forey.
Here is an overview of the book by the author:
The purpose of this book is to give an account of the life and times of a single species of fish,
Latimeria chalumnae – the coelacanth (or are there now two species?).
The scientific reputation of the coelacanth – why it is important:
Living fossil: an example of a group thought to have died out 70 million years ago. Coelacanths are all structurally very similar – raises the question – why?
Structural conservatism, means that it may be possible to reconstruct the lifestyles of the earliest coelacanth and its contemporaneous relatives.
Before the discovery of the modern Latimeria, relationships of the coelacanths were thought to lie with the rhipidistians, a group of fossil fishes that many think are tetrapod ancestors.
Hence, by looking at the modern coelacanth and assuming conservatism we may be able to reconstruct the life of the ‘missing link’ between fishes and tetrapods.
The coelacanth is the only living animal to retain some structural characteristics that were certainly present in the tetrapod ancestors, such as the intracranial joint. Therefore it is of some interest to try and find out how this joint works and what it is there for.
The gene pool of the coelacanth has been separated from that of all other living vertebrates for at least 360 million years. Therefore, it is of some interest to find out how much deviation from contemporaneous fishes there has been.
Coelacanths have often been used as the classic example of a particular evolutionary pattern whereby evolution is very fast in the early years and then slows down to stability and finally stagnation. This needs to be evaluated in the light of what we now know of the history of the coelacanths as a genetic lineage.
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Discovery
Chapter 3 Coelacanth Natural History
Chapter 4 Coelacanth Homes
Chapter 5 Coelacanths Through Time
Chapter 6 Reputation 70 Years On
Chapter 7 Epilogue
Chapter 8 Coelacanth People
Size: 170×240 – 218 pp – Paperback
Due out 30 December 2009
Paperback: 205 pages
Publisher: Forrest Text (December 28, 2009)
Thanks for the tip from Rik Nulens of Belgium
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.