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A fish caught in time : the search for the coelacanth
Weinberg, Samantha
Adult Nonfiction QL638.L26 W45 2000

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Scientists had believed that coelacanths, five-foot-long fish with surprisingly limblike fins, existed on earth for approximately 330 million years, from 400 million years ago until they went extinct about 70 million years ago. To the world's surprise, however, a live one was discovered off the coast of South Africa in 1938. Here, British writer Weinberg presents a breezy, engaging account (previously published in the U.K.) of this "living fossil," from the time it was first described in fossil form by the great paleontologist Louis Agassiz in 1839, to its rediscovery 100 years later, to the present. Because coelacanths had been presumed extinct for so long, because modern individuals appear so little changed from their fossilized relatives and because morphologically they appear to be an evolutionary link between fish and reptiles, perhaps on the path leading to humans, they have a great deal to tell the scientific community. Weinberg, while not focusing on the science, provides enough information to give nontechnical readers a flavor for the biological issues surrounding this primitive group of fish. Otherwise, she features the people most involved with rediscovering and studying coelacanths, as well as the national and scientific rivalries arising from the fish's fame. Filled with b&w photos, this book should appeal not only to cryptozoologists and naturalists, but to anyone interested in the living evolutionary record. Agent, Gillon Aitken. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In 1938, a fish believed to be extinct for 70 million years was caught off the South African coast, triggering the "greatest scientific find of the century." The search for the coelacanth, the first fish thought to have crawled from the ocean to land, is a fascinating story, and Weinberg (Last of the Pirates: The Search for Bob Denard) tells it well: the "discovery" of the coelacanth by Marjorie Courtney-Latimer, a young South African museum curator, and the identification and naming by J.L.B. Smith, the noted ichthyologist; the territorial fights over who "owned" the fish; and the search for sites other than the Comoros where the fish might live, including the discovery of an Indonesian coelacanth in 1998. Weinberg has used many resources, including Smith's own Old Forelegs (1956), up through Keith Thomson's Living Fossil (LJ 5/15/91) and Peter Forey's History of the Coelacanth Fishes (Chapman & Hall, 1998), none of which capture the spirit of adventure as well as has Weinberg. Her excellent book is recommended for academic and public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/99.]--Jean E. Crampon, Science & Engineering Lib., Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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