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Re; Favorite Living Fossil



  
We and most other living creatures are "living fossils", that is we all have
family representatives in the fossil record.  But I know what you mean;
living representatives of ancient creatures thought/ought to be extinct.  My
favorite "Living Fossil", and a subject I have done twice as large metal
sculptures, is the Coelacanth, a leftover from the Devonian, way before
dinosaurs, with no known fossils beyond the Cretaceous.  Superficially  the
Coelacanth  looks like a big goofy conventional bony fish, with big scales
and all the fins in the right places; But, this fish has no vertebrea.
 Instead it has a long hollow fiberous, elastic cartilaginous tube filled
wint a neural liquid with no trace of vertebral centers; just a big notocord.
 This seems to put it somewhere between sharks and tunicates.  There is a
spiral valve in it's stomach and a fair amount of urea in its blood,
suggesting digestion and osmoregulation as in sharks as well.  Other features
place it with Bony Fish.  The beginnings of pectral and pelvic girdles and
those funny lobe finned appendages as though they are getting ready to crawl
out onto the land.  Hmmmmmmm.  A strange and wonderful creature thats still
with us today.   By the way, the native South African fisherman who caught
the famous "first speciman" in 1938, knew what it was, a rare but familiar
fish that had a name in his language and a place in his culture.  This was
just the first one seen by "white folks".

To the guy who suggested that Blue Whales were not true carnivores because
they fed on plankton:  Blue whales do not feed on plankton, the tiny drifters
carried by wind and current.  Bowheads and Right Whales maybe, but Blues feed
on entire schools of highly mobile, fast swimming adult crustaceans.  If you
had a platter of Krill Scampi or Pelagic Crab Newberg in front of you my
friend, you would most certainly be a carnivore.

Bill Hunt  -  Frustrated Marine Biologist  -  Happy Artist
2780 Chaparral Lane
Paso Robles,  CA  93446     -    805-237-0733  
E-Mail   WillSculpt@aol.com