Schultze, Hans-Peter Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.
Last reviewed:October 2015
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- Fossil record
- Phylogenetic relationships
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
An order of lobe-finned fishes (subclass Actinistia, class Sarcopterygii) collectively termed the coelacanths and predominantly known from fossils. The order Coelacanthiformes comprises five families of coelacanths; four of these families consist of completely extinct members. The family Latimeriidae, which contains mostly fossil forms, has two known extant species, Latimeria chalumnae (West Indian Ocean coelacanth; Fig. 1) and Latimeria menadoensis (Indonesian coelacanth). Both of these species are endangered. Many taxonomists consider the coelacanths to be living fossils, that is, living species that very closely resemble fossil relatives in most anatomical details. See also: Endangered species; Fossil; Living fossils; Osteichthyes; Sarcopterygii
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