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72" x 36" Oil on Canvas


cCoelacanths had been known to western science since the 1800s entirely from fossils. They are remarkable for being lobe finned fish, that is, fish with robust appendages that our own ancestors would have evolved legs from, unlike modern fish that have thin, rayed fins that cannot support them. These fish were presumed to have died out with the dinosaurs as their remains disappear from the record at the end of the Mesozoic. That is, until one was brought up from the Indian Ocean by fishermen and identified by ichthyologists in the 1930s. Here was an ancient lineage of fish that had survived for so long as the world changed around it. Yet, is it reductive to say it is only remarkable for being so old? It is its own creature. It exists beyond its relevance to paleontology; beyond a mere curiosity. There are different ways to preserve something.

The Ancestor

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