Coelacanth Images

Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 25th, 2006

“The coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) is the darling of cryptozoology, a true living fossil. Its story demonstrates that unknown, undiscovered, or at least long-thought-extinct animals can still be found – especially in the oceans.” – – from The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep .

My Boing Boing buddy David Pescovitz, an astute student of cryptozoology, highlights the following coelacanth image and writes: “Ben Sakoguchi has painted hundreds of acrylic-on-canvas works inspired by the colorful labels found on crates of California oranges from the 1880s to the 1950s.”


Pescovitz’s favorite fish has a large fan base, it turns out. Most schoolchildren know the story of the coelacanth and of the special museum curator who “discovered” it. Of course, it’s become part of the essence of cryptozoology and the story of not discarding that bit of evidence that seems a bit out-of-the-ordinary.

The fish has the scientific name Latimeria chalumnae because of the woman most associated with the coelacanth, Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer. She would have celebrated her 99th birthday this week, on February 24, if she had not passed away at 97, two years ago. Courtenay-Latimer became famous because she revealed the discovery of the first coelacanth in 1938, the so-called “living fossil” that had supposedly been extinct for 65 million years. She had recognized the significance of the find by the captain, Hendrik Goosen of the trawler Nerine.

You can’t go to a cryptozoology site without running across a drawing or photograph of the coelacanth.

One of the best locations to find images of the coelacanth is Pip Burns’ amazing “Cryptozoology and Philately” collection. You can find more about the coelacanth stamps, specifically, at his site’s page on Latimeria chalumnae. His great stamps are treasure troves of cryptid art and history.



Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
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.

One Response to “Coelacanth Images”

  1. fuzzy responds:

    Around 315,000 results (in 0.12 seconds!) from Google.

    One top site sez, in part: “The backbone of this fish is composed of a fluid-filled cartilaginous tube, which provides a firm yet flexible support for muscles. Hollow fin spines, identified in fossils, are what got the fish its name- “coelacanth” which literally means ‘hollow spine’from the Greek.

    The sucking maws of jawless predecessors have transformed, through a modification of one of the gill arches, into hinged, rigid structures with teeth on the bottom ridge and upper palate- true jaws.

    The tiny brain, encased in a hardened skull, hinges in the middle to increase the gape of the mouth while feeding (a feature also found in frogs!) The eyes are well developed, with reflecting cells called tapita to enhance night vision. A chambered heart pumps blood in prototype to our own.

    Three indentations on either side of the snout lead to a peculiar cavity, a jelly-filled rostral organ, which very likely functions as an electro-receptor to help in the location of prey. Along the sides, a pressure sensitive lateral line is well developed to sense the proximity of other fishes and surrounding structures – no doubt useful in the submarine caves where coelacanths pass their days.

    Two back, or dorsal, fins and one protruding beneath the nape of the tail are complimented by paired lobed pectoral and pelvic fins. These contain in their trunks bones mimicking those of Eusthenopteron which later developed into arms and legs.

    While coelacanths have not been observed to “walk” on the bottom, their pectoral and pelvic fins can be seen as “pre-adaptations” to land locomotion. Used under water their action maintains stability and balance. But in their cousin Eusthenopteron, the same action became four-legged land walking.

    Coelacanth scales are thick, and lined with serrated rows of hardened toothpick-pointed denticles. Perhaps most distinctive of all is the trilobated tail, with its extra trunk and fin protruding from the middle. It was this feature that made fossil coelacanths so easily recognizable and helped clinch the case for the identification of the first living specimen.”…

    …and that’s just one small part of only one page on one of the Sites!!!

    Putrid political policy notwithstanding, Google is all of the Public Libraries in the world times N, for me. I mean, 315,000 results!!! I use Google (and Snopes and others) frequently, to get a wider understanding of whatever I find myself snooping into ~ Information and Communication, my two basic Tools.

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