Animated Life: The Living Fossil Fish
This animated short video tells the story of the discovery of the coelacanth, a species that belongs to a group of lobe-finned fish that existed 400 million years ago.
The video uses animated paper puppets and narration by experts in the field to illustrate how the coelacanth was discovered and what its unique features reveal about its evolutionary history. In 1938, South African museum curator Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer came across a strange blue fin poking out of a pile of fish. With its fleshy, lobed fins and its tough armored scales, the coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) did not look like any other fish that exists today. Scientists later discovered that this fish belongs to a lineage that has remained virtually unchanged for hundreds of millions of years, earning it the description of a "living fossil."
An audio descriptive version of the film is available via our media player.
Charles Darwin, deep time, extinction, ichthyology, lobe-finned fish, marine biology
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
AP Biology (2019)
IB Biology (2016)
AP Environmental Science (2020)
Vision and Change (2009)