Coelacanth – a fish previously thought to have become extinct with the dinosaurs 66 million years ago – has a lifespan five times longer than scientists have so far thought existed on Earth today, Live about a hundred yearsAccording to a study published in the journal Current Biology.
In 1938, a coelacanth was unexpectedly found alive off the eastern coast of South Africa, which surprised researchers. Now, this new research shows that in addition to living for nearly a century, Females carry their offspring for five years, the longest gestation period any animal has ever known..
Scientists also found that The coelacanth develops and grows at a slower rate than any other fish. It does not reach sexual maturity until it is about 55 years old.
To arrive at the results, the authors used annual growth rings found in fish scales to determine the individual lifespan of coelacanths — “just like reading tree rings,” explained marine biologist Kelig Mahe, of the French oceanographic institution Ifremer, and the study’s lead investigator.
Coelacanths first appeared during the Devonian period, about 400 million years ago, about 170 million years before the appearance of the dinosaurs. Based on the fossil record, they are believed to have disappeared during the mass extinction that wiped out three-quarters of Earth’s species after an asteroid hit in the Cretaceous period.
The species reaches sexual maturity at around 55 years old – Photo: George Mollala/Reuters
After it was found, the coelacanth was dubbed a “living fossil,” a description that scientists rejected: “By definition, the fossil is dead and coelacanths have evolved much since (the) Devonian period,” said the biologist and co-author of the book. Study by Marc Herpin of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.
Fish species live in the ocean at depths of up to 800 meters. During the day, coelacanths remain in volcanic caves Alone or in small groups. Females are slightly larger than males, reaching 2 meters in length and 110 kilograms in weight.
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