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RE: Coelacanths and dodos

Hi, Donna!

The coelacanth you remember may well have been in a tank of fluid, but it
was most certainly dead at the time.  San Francisco's California Academy of
Sciences has two coelacanth specimens, and one of them has been on display
at times (most recently in "Life Through Time" hall).  The LTT specimen was
held inside a glass tank filled with preservative.  Unlike many pickled
fish, however, this one was suspended upright inside the tank, so it
appeared more like a living fish.  So far as I know, this deep water fish
has never survive for an extended period of time once brought to the
surface, although it has been filmed swimming in shallow water as it died.
You can find out more about coelacanths at
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3003_fish.html .

I don't know where you saw the dodo, but it was most certainly a model, not
a mounted skin, as none exist.  Although the Extinction Web Site at
http://www.petermaas.nl/extinct/speciesinfo/dodobird.htm  claims that Oxford
and Copenhagen have preserved heads, and Oxford and London each have a
preserved foot, Oxford's dodo article at
states that its head and foot constitute the only surviving dodo soft
tissue.  You can see a photo of the complete Oxford mount prior to its
cremation in 1755 (ordered in response to its advanced state of decay) at
http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/content/animals/animals/birds/dodo.htm  . 

Sorry to disappoint you.               

Dino Guy Ralph
Docent at the California Academy of Sciences
Dinosaur and Fossil Education
Member of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
-----Original Message-----
From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [mailto:owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu] On Behalf Of
Donna Braginetz
Sent: Monday, July 16, 2007 12:21 PM
Subject: Coelacanths and dodos


Undoubtedly due to an extra-lively imagination, I have a vivid memory of
seeing a coelacanth in an aquarium in California (San Francisco?) when I
was a little kid, so we're talking mid to late 1950s. There was no such
thing, right? Have living coelacanths ever been been on display to the

I also have a strong memory of seeing a "stuffed" dodo on display in, I
think, a lighthouse (it may have been a gift shop built to look like a
lighthouse). This was probably during the same trip to the San Francisco
area. Does anyone recall such a thing? (Maybe I misidentified some
common large seabird with a thick bill.)


Allan Edels wrote:
> >From Wikipedia (and it matches books and papers I've seen, up until about
> years ago).  Note that it already included the latest discovery:
> Timeline of discoveries:
> -------------------------------
> Date  - Description:
> =========================================================
> 1938 - (December 23) Discovery of the first modern coelacanth 30 km SW of
> East London, South Africa.
> 1952 - (December 21) Second specimen identified in the Comoros. Since then
> more than 200 have been caught around the islands.
> 1988 - First photographs of coelacanths in their natural habitat, by Hans
> Fricke off Grand Comore.
> 1991 - First coelacanth identified near Mozambique, 24 km offshore NE of
> Quelimane.
> 1995 - First recorded coelacanth on Madagascar, 30 km S of Tuléar.
> 1997 (September 18) - New species of coelacanth found in Indonesia.
> 2000 - A group found by divers off Sodwana Bay, South Africa.
> 2001 - A group found off the coast of Kenya.
> 2003 - First coelacanth caught by fisherman in Tanzania. Within the year,
> were caught in total.
> 2004 - Canadian researcher William Sommers captured the largest recorded
> specimen of coelacanth off the coast of Madagascar.
> 2007 (May 19) - Indonesian fisherman Justinus Lahama caught a 4 feet
> long,112 pound coelacanth off Sulawesi Island near Bunaken National Marine
> Park that survived for 17 hours in a quarantined pool.
> 2007 (July 15) - Two fishermen from Zanzibar caught a 60lbs. and 1.34
> long Coelacanth. The fish was caught off the North tip of Zanzibar
> ===========================================================
> Estimated total population (circa 1998) - 500.  (On international
> species list).