Temporal range: Early Devonian - Holocene
|West Indian Ocean coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae)|
L. S. Berg, 1937
The coelacanth (meaning hollow spine) is an ancient fish that has lived from the early Devonian to the present. They lived pimarily in the Indian Ocean and in Egypt, South Africa, and Indonesia. There are two types of fish: ray-finned fish and lobe-finned fish. The lungfish and the coelacanth are the only remaining lobe-finned fish and all other fish species are ray-finned. Coelacanthus (a Permian species) evolved from Eusthenopteron. Eusthenopteron was an important species because it also evolved into Panderichthys, which evolved into Tiktaalik, which evolved into Ichthyostega, and life on land flourished after that. Species of coelacanth include Youngolepis, Eusthenopteron, Panderichthys, Mawsonia, and today's species is Latimeria.