Fossil coelacanths turned out to be centenarians

Fossil coelacanths turned out to be centenarians
Fossil coelacanths turned out to be centenarians

Living fossil fish - coelacanths - as scientists have found, can live up to 100 years. This is five times longer than expected.


The work was published in the journal Current Biology. Coelacanths have long been considered extinct 65 million years ago. Thanks to their fins, similar to the rudiments of limbs, these fish resemble the representatives of the first vertebrates, which "prepared" to leave the land millions of years ago. However, in 1938, to the incredible surprise of the scientific community, a live coelacanth was caught by fishermen in the waters of the Indian Ocean.

It was believed that the lifespan of these amazing creatures is about 20 years, but scientists from the National Museum of Natural History in Paris and the Fisheries Laboratory (France) concluded that coelacanths can live five times longer, that is, up to 100 years.

To do this, the researchers studied 27 representatives of living coelacanths of different ages, up to 84 years old. It turned out that these fish reach maturity by 55 years, and they take about five years to bear offspring. In addition to living fish, the team of scientists also studied the calcified structures on their scales. They were able to show the age of their owners, like rings on a tree.

All this is consistent with the data on the basis of which it is known that coelacanths have a very slow metabolism, relatively low fertility and extreme vulnerability to influences of a natural or anthropogenic nature. Therefore, such fish, according to researchers, are in danger - they are threatened with extinction.

Popular by topic