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Index to Creationist Claims,  edited by Mark Isaak,    Copyright © 2004
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Claim CB930.1:

The coelacanth, thought to have been extinct for seventy million years and used as an example of a fish-tetrapod transition, is found still alive, unchanged in form, today.


Morris, Henry M., 1974. Scientific Creationism, Green Forest, AR: Master Books, pp. 82-83,89.


  1. The modern coelacanth is Latimeria chalumnae, in the family Latimeriidae. Fossil coelacanths are in other families, mostly Coelacanthidae, and are significantly different in that they are smaller and lack certain internal structures. Latimeria has no fossil record, so it cannot be a "living fossil."

  2. Even if the modern coelacanth and fossil coelacanths were the same, it would not be a serious problem for evolution. The theory of evolution does not say that all organisms must evolve. In an unchanging environment, natural selection would tend to keep things largely unchanged morphologically.

  3. Coelacanths have primitive features relative to most other fish, so at one time they were one of the closest known specimens to the fish-tetrapod transition. We now know several other fossils that show the fish-tetrapod transition quite well.


Lindsay, Don, 2000, Living fossils like the coelacanth.

Further Reading:

Forey, Peter L., 1998. History of the Coelacanth Fishes. London: Chapman & Hall.
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created 2001-3-31, modified 2004-9-4