The name coelacanth comes from the word coelocanthus meaning hollow spine. The coelocanth was given this name as the first fossil specimen had hollow caudal fin rays. thought top have gone extinct in the late cretaceous coelocanths became one of the few creatures that made it unchanged through the mass extinction until the present day. Rediscovered in 1938 of the coast of South Africa and has now been given the name 'living fossil' as it previously was only known from fossils. The form that coelocanth is in at the present day has remained virtually unchanged for roughly 400 million years.

Coelacanths, are icons of Palaeontology and conservation alike. They surprised scientists in many fields, after returning to light in life after all considered them extinct. Many forms, of which some were rather huge, in both freshwater and saltwater environments, thrived, with many Jurassic Period examples for instance. There were some really huge examples, such as Mawsonia.

The present day Coelacanth are found in two forms, the blue and white spotted West Indian Ocean variant, and the muddy brown scaled East Indian Ocean variant.

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