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re:coelacanths



Barry, et al:

    On coelacanths, you may be interested to know that I have a paper
in press (in the journal _GEOLOGY_) reporting discovery of a population
of Late Cretaceous coelacanths in the southeastern US and New Jersey
(at the time part of of the same coast).  These are the last _fossil_
coelacanth fishes prior to the modern species, by about 4 million years
(the previous late record was from England, at about 81 M.y.: ours date
as late as the early Maastrichtian or about 72 My)>[D>[D>[D>[D>[D>[D>[5>[C>[C>[C

  These coelacanths are also huge, about 3.5 m. long, toothless,
nearshore dwellers, and a new genus (we call _Megalocoelacanthus_)
however, in overall morphology they resemble living _Latimeria_
most closely of all fossil coelacanths, so they are possibly the
direct ancestors.  We have parts of 7 specimens, including a complete
head skeleton and mandibles plus shoulder girdle and gill apparatus.

 On the living coelacanths: they are being fished and overfished,
unfortunately.

David Schwimmer
Columbus College
schwimm@uscn.cc.uga.edu