|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 |
|coelacanth (sē'lə-kānth') Pronunciation Key
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Any of various fishes of the order Coelacanthiformes, having lobed, fleshy fins. Coelacanths are crossopterygians, the ancient group of lobe-finned fishes that gave rise to land vertebrates. They were known only from Paleozoic and Mesozoic fossils until a living species (Latimeria chalumnae) was found in the Indian Ocean in 1938. At least one other (Malania anjouanae) has been discovered since then.