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Coelacanths live as long as people

ODecember N 23, 1938 Marjorie Court Neiratimer, curator of the East London Museum in South Africa, stops at a local fish market. While there, she found the most beautiful fish she had ever seen. It was pale mauve, almost 2 meters long, and had a silver pattern. She wasn’t drinking ink at the time, but turned out to be part of a group called the coelacanth, which was previously believed to have died with the dinosaurs.

This discovery Latimeria Carmune In honor of Courtenay-Latimer, he showed that the coelacanth is still very alive. It was welcomed as the most important zoological discovery of the century.Well, the work just published Current biology According to Kélig Mahé of the Fisheries Research Institute in Boulogne, France, the coelacanth has not only lasted together for more than 400 million years, but also suggests that it has been hanging out for a long time as an individual. According to Dr. Mahe’s research, they have a lifespan similar to that of humans and are among the longest-lived vertebrates in the world.

Excitement in LatimeriaThe discovery wasn’t just because of his curiosity about survival. Coelacanths also belong to a group of leaf-shaped fins of the type believed to be precursors to the limbs of terrestrial quadrupeds.Therefore, many experts are trying to study Latimeria More closely. But that’s difficult. Latimeria Recluse, nocturnal, inhabiting less than 100 meters deep, known only from the southwestern Indian Ocean and the second smallest population. L. Menado Ensis, Indonesian island, near Manadotua.

In particular, Dr. Mahe wanted to know how long Latimeria It is alive. Previous studies examining annual growth rings on that scale suggested up to 20 years. It is inconsistent with the slow metabolism and low fertility of animals, both of which are characteristic of long-lived species.

He and his colleagues studied scales using polarized light rather than using a standard microscope. This revealed that the extra growth rings were so thin that they were missed in the previous work. Of the 27 people surveyed, 6 were in their 60s and 1 was 84.

This was a discovery that Dr. Mahe and his colleagues had expected more than half. What really surprised them was what was discovered when they saw the two foets. LatimeriFemales do not lay eggs, but live young. Fetal scales suggest that they were five years old, a very long gestation period given the three and a half years earlier vertebrate records held by deep-sea frill sharks.

Interesting, but in a way, Dr. Mahe’s discovery is bad news. Already rare and slow-growing animals with a gestation period of 5 years have the most extinct profile imaginable. Latimeria As long as such protection relates to the sea, it is legally protected and is not a specific target for fishermen. However, it has already been classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as endangered. It would be ironic and tragic if the coelacanth disappeared permanently under human surveillance after surviving a 66-meter-old asteroid collision in the case of dinosaurs. ■■

This article was published in the Printed Science and Technology section under the heading “Curiouser and curiouser”.

Coelacanths live as long as people

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