These slow-moving, people-sized fish of the deep, nicknamed a “living fossil,” are the opposite of the live fast, die young mantra.
Published: 2021-06-18 12:53 pm
Weird ‘living fossil’ fish lives 100 years, pregnant for 5
nypost.com

The coelacanth — a giant weird fish still around from dinosaur times — can live for 100 years, a new study found.

These slow-moving, people-sized fish of the deep, nicknamed a “living fossil,” are the opposite of the live fast, die young mantra. These nocturnal fish grow at an achingly slow pace.

Females don’t hit sexual maturity until their late 50s, the study said, while male coelacanths are sexually mature at 40 to 69 years. And maybe strangest of all, researchers figure pregnancy in the fish lasts about five years.

Coelacanths, which have been around for 400 million years, were thought extinct until they were found alive in 1938 off South Africa. Scientists long believed coelacanths live about 20 years. But by applying a standard technique for dating commercial fish, French scientists calculated they actually live close to a century, according to a study in Thursday’s Current Biology.

(image)
Staff of department of fish studies at the National Museum of Kenya on Nov. 19, 2001, display a coelacanth fish caught by Kenyan fishermen at the coastal town of Malindi in April 2001.
Reuters

Coelacanths are so endangered that scientists can only study specimens already caught and dead.

In the past, scientists calculated fish ages by counting big lines on a specific coelacanth scale. But the French scientists found they were missing smaller lines that could only be seen using polarized light — the technique used to figure out the age of commercial fish.

Study co-author Bruno Ernande, a marine evolutionary ecologist at France’s marine research institute, said polarized light revealed five smaller lines for every big one. The researchers concluded the smaller lines better correlated to a year of coelacanth age — and that indicated their oldest specimen was 84 years old.

(image)
In this file photograph taken on March 12, 2019, Head taxidermist at the Museum d’Histoire Naturelle Christophe Gottini (R) and taxidermist Vincent Cuisset (L) carry a coelacanth during its restoration at the Museum d’Histoire Naturelle’s (French National Museum of Natural History) taxidermy workshop in Paris.
AFP via Getty Images

Using the technique, the scientists studied two embryos and calculated the largest was five years old and the youngest was nine years old. So, Ernande said, they figured pregnancy lasts at least five years in coelacanths, which have live births.

That five-year gestation is “very strange” for fish or any animal, said Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s Harold Walker, who wasn’t part of the research.

Even though coelacanths are unrelated genetically and show wide evolutionary differences, they age slowly like other dwellers of the deep, sharks and rays, Ernande said. “They might have evolved similar life histories because they are sharing similar type habitats,” he said.

(image)
Staff of department of fish studies at the National Museum of Kenya on Nov. 19, 2001, display a coelacanth fish caught by Kenyan fishermen at the coastal town of Malindi in April 2001.
Reuters
Read Full Story

Greg Norman finds buyer for his $60M Florida compound

nypost.com - 6 months ago
It was sold just two weeks after listing.
Read More

Jets sticking with Sam Darnold in his likely final stand

nypost.com - 8 months ago
Jets quarterback Sam Darnold struggled in his return Sunday, but don’t expect a change at the position this season. On Monday, coach Adam Gase backed Darnold, who threw two interceptions against the Dolphins in his first game back from a shoulder injury.
Read More

Joe Biden and Mike Pence greet each other at 9/11 ceremony

nypost.com - 11 months ago
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Vice President Mike Pence shared an elbow bump Friday at the annual 9/11 memorial ceremony in NYC.
Read More

Melania Trump’s ex-aide pens scathing op-ed in wake of Capitol siege

nypost.com - 7 months ago
An ex-aide of Melania Trump — and once a good friend — has penned a scathing op-ed about the first lady, accusing her of just standing by while the president destroyed America. Stephanie Winston Wolkoff wrote her piece for the Daily Beast, prompted by the
Read More