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May 5 2012
Coelacanths are iconic fishes, well-known as living fossils. The group was thought to have died out with the dinosaurs until a living one was caught in 1938 off the coast of South Africa, sending shock waves through the scientific world.
The newly discovered species, described by two University of Alberta scientists in the recent issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, was a 3-foot long fish with a massive symmetrical forked tail quite unlike the tails of any other living or fossil coelacanths.
The fossils were discovered on rocky slopes in the Hart Ranges of Wapiti Lake Provincial Park in British Columbia, which at the time the fish was alive was off the western coast of the supercontinent Pangaea.
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