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Updated May 18th, 2021 at 16:07 IST

Fish that predates dinosaurs, with history dating back to 420 million years, caught alive

Coelacanths, a prehistoric fish species known to hunt dinosaurs has recently been found alive near the coast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.

Riya Baibhawi
Fish
File Image: Smithsonian Institution | Image:self
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Coelacanths, a prehistoric fish species, known to hunt dinosaurs, has recently been found alive near the coast of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. The fish species, believed to be near extinction was rediscovered by shark fishermen using gillnet, TRT world reported. Full-fledged research detailing the new catch was published in the South African Journal of Science.

“The advent of deep-set gillnets, or jarifa, for catching sharks, driven by the demand for shark fins and oil from China in the mid- to late 1980s, resulted in an explosion of coelacanth captures in Madagascar and other countries in the Western Indian Ocean,” wrote the researchers.

The coelacanth has a history dating back to 420 million years and is commonly known as “four-legged fossil fish”. Previously, the scientists believed that coelacanths went extinct about 66 million years ago until a living specimen was found in 1938 off the coast of South Africa. Since then, there have been more incidents of the coelacanth getting caught off the coastlines of South Africa, Tanzania, and the Comoros Islands. Most recently, a “different coelacanth” was discovered in Indonesian waters.

Zombie Fish 

Earlier this year, Australia’s zombie fish, declared extinct nearly 20 years ago, also made a comeback. The southern purple-spotted gudgeon, a small colourful native fish, which had presumably wiped out completely in 1998 was recently discovered swimming in Third Reedy lake in Australia. Scientists were astonished after at least two such fish were brought out of the lake during a survey that was aimed at 'generating water savings for the environment', Australia's North Central Catchment Management Authority (CMA) said in an update.

After the rare fish was identified as 'Zombie Fish', an appointed team foraged the lakes and found at least 80 more, of which 66 were found in Middle Reedy Lake alone. After the mindblowing discovery, the government set up a Southern Purple Spotted Gudgeon Advisory Group which involved environment experts. The experts believe that it's a great chance to bring the southern purple-spotted gudgeon back from the brink.

File Image: Smithsonian Institution

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Published May 18th, 2021 at 16:07 IST

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