Coelacanth

This passage is about a fisherman who finds a rare fish.

Lexile Level: 1130L

Categories: History Science & Technology


In December 1938 off the coast of South Africa, some fishermen were trawling for their daily catch. The captain of the boat noticed a fish in the net unlike any he had ever seen. When he reached for it, it snapped at his hand, but he pulled it onto the deck to examine it more closely. It was pale blue and over five feet long with odd, fleshy fins protruding from its body on stalks. When the boat came ashore, a local naturalist met it to wish the crew a happy holiday, and she was transfixed by the fish. She convinced a taxi driver to take the foul-smelling animal back to her laboratory where she had the fish stuffed. Unable to identify the fish after a search through her library, she wrote to a colleague, describing the specimen. He immediately recognized it as a coelacanth, thought to be extinct since the Cretaceous period over 70 million years ago.


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