coelacanth

In 1938, fishermen off the east coast of Africa pulled up a strange creature in their nets. The five-foot-long blue-speckled fish was unlike any other fish they’d ever seen: it had strange lobe-like fins, thick scales, and a tail with three rounded parts. The unusual fish turned out to be a coelacanth (SEE-la-canth), an animal that scientists thought had been extinct for almost 80 million years!

Name: Coelacanth
Scientific name: Latimeria chalumnae
Size: five feet long
Habitat: deep underwater caves
Cool fact: these ancient animals are thought to be more closely related to land animals than to fish

Image credits: courtesy of Johnny Jensen.