Coelacanth, an ancient fish. Until 1938, when a live specimen was caught, this species was thought to have been extinct for about 90,000,000 years. Fossil coelacanths up to about 350,000,000 years old have been found in Europe and North America.
In the decades after their discovery, living coelacanths were found only off the east coast of Africa. In 1998, however, a closely related species was discovered off Celebes (Sulawesi), in Indonesia.
Coelacanths can swim forward, backward, upside down, and on their heads. The Comoros coelacanth is blue-green, and the Indonesian species is brown. The fish have small, leglike fins and can reach about six feet (1.8 m) in length.
The coelacanths belong to the family Latimeridae. The Comoros coelacanth is Latimeria chalumnae, and the Indonesian, L. menadoensis.