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Any of various mostly extinct lobe-finned fishes of the group Coelacanthiformes or Actinistia, known only in fossil form until a living species, Latimeria chalumnae, was identified in 1938. A second Latimeria species was described in 1999.
[New Latin Coelacanthus, former genus name : Greek koilos, hollow; see -coel + Greek akantha, spine (in reference to the hollow spines of the fins).]
coe′la·can′thine′ (-kăn′thīn′, -thĭn) adj.
coe′la·can′thous (-thəs) adj.
(Animals) a primitive marine bony fish of the genus Latimeria (subclass Crossopterygii), having fleshy limblike pectoral fins and occurring off the coast of E Africa: thought to be extinct until a living specimen was discovered in 1938
[C19: from New Latin coelacanthus, literally: hollow spine, from coel- + Greek akanthos spine]
a heavy, hollow-spined fish, Latimeria chalumnae, of deep S African coastal seas, that crawls on the sea bottom with lobed, limblike fins: a living fossil of the order Crossopterygii, considered forerunners of the land vertebrates.
[1860–65; < New Latin Coelacanthus orig. a genus name =coel- coel- + Greek -akanthos -spined, adj. derivative of ákantha spine, thorn]
Any of various fish having lobed, fleshy fins. They are the only living varieties of an ancient order of lobe-finned fish. Coelacanths were thought to be extinct until a living species was discovered in 1938.
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|Noun||1.||coelacanth - fish thought to have been extinct since the Cretaceous period but found in 1938 off the coast of Africa|
crossopterygian, lobefin, lobe-finned fish - any fish of the order Crossopterygii; most known only in fossil form