A Fish Caught in Time: The Search for the Coelacanth
A unique history of our oldest living ancestor, thought to have been extinct for 70 million years. A gripping story of obsession and adventure set in ... Show synopsis A unique history of our oldest living ancestor, thought to have been extinct for 70 million years. A gripping story of obsession and adventure set in the exotic islands of the Indian Ocean. In 1938, Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer, a young South African museum curator, caught sight of a specimen among a fisherman's trawl that she knew was special. With limb-like protuberances culminating in fins the strange fish was unlike anything she had ever seen. The museum board members dismissed it as a common lungfish, but when Marjorie eventually contacted Professor JLB Smith, he immediately identified her fish as a coelacanth -- a species known to have lived 400 million years ago, and believed by many scientists to be the evolutionary missing link -- the first creature to crawl out of the sea. Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer had thus made the century's greatest zoological discovery. But Smith needed a live or frozen specimen to verify the discovery, so began his search for another coelacanth, to which he devoted his life.