- News Home
6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
Vol. 343 ,
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
- 6 March 2014 1:04 pm , Vol. 343 , #6175
- About Us
ScienceShot: The Corvette of Coelacanths
2 May 2012 3:00 pm
Paleontologists have long thought of the coelacanth as a stodgy old slowpoke: Two modern-day species of the fish—considered living fossils because of their remarkable similarity to ancient coelacanths—typically swim in a slow, almost dawdling manner. As a group, coelacanths had apparently kept the same basic body plan for hundreds of millions of years. But now, researchers have found fossils of a sleeker coelacanth—one that likely was a speedy, shark-like predator in the ancient seas west of the supercontinent Pangaea about 240 million years ago. Unlike all previously known specimens, which have fleshy, three-lobed tails fringed with flexible fins, the new species (artist's reconstruction shown) had a stiff, crescent-shaped tail like modern-day tuna and barracuda, both of which are famed for their speed. The team has dubbed the new species Rebellatrix divaricerca, "the rebel coelacanth with the forked tail." Although more streamlined than previously known coelacanths, Rebellatrix, which the researchers estimate grew to reach at least 1.3 meters in length, was more thick-bodied than today's tuna and, therefore, probably slower. The new specimens, described in the May Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, may mark the first species in a yet-to-be-discovered trove of coelacanth diversity, the researchers say. Or, the Corvette of coelacanths may have evolved to fill an ecological niche left vacant when more than 95% of the ocean's species disappeared in a mass extinction about 252 million years ago.
See more ScienceShots.