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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Bizarre ‘Dwelling Fossil’ Fish Lives 100 Years, Pregnant For five

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The coelacanth — a large bizarre fish nonetheless round from dinosaur occasions — can dwell for 100 years, a brand new examine discovered.

These slow-moving, people-sized fish of the deep, nicknamed a “dwelling fossil,” are the alternative of the dwell quick, die younger mantra. These nocturnal fish develop at an achingly gradual tempo.

Females don’t hit sexual maturity till their late 50s, the examine stated, whereas male coelacanths are sexually mature at 40 to 69 years. And possibly strangest of all, researchers determine being pregnant within the fish lasts about 5 years.

Coelacanths, which have been round for 400 million years, have been thought extinct till they have been discovered alive in 1938 off South Africa. Scientists lengthy believed coelacanths dwell about 20 years. However by making use of a normal method for relationship business fish, French scientists calculated they really dwell near a century, in keeping with a examine in Thursday’s Present Biology.

Coelacanths are so endangered that scientists can solely examine specimens already caught and lifeless.

Up to now, scientists calculated fish ages by counting large traces on a particular coelacanth scale. However the French scientists discovered they have been lacking smaller traces that would solely be seen utilizing polarized gentle — the method used to determine the age of economic fish.

Research co-author Bruno Ernande, a marine evolutionary ecologist at France’s marine analysis institute, stated polarized gentle revealed 5 smaller traces for each large one. The researchers concluded the smaller traces higher correlated to a yr of coelacanth age — and that indicated their oldest specimen was 84 years previous.

Utilizing the method, the scientists studied two embryos and calculated the biggest was 5 years previous and the youngest was 9 years previous. So, Ernande stated, they figured being pregnant lasts at the least 5 years in coelacanths, which have dwell births.

That five-year gestation is “very unusual” for fish or any animal, stated Scripps Establishment of Oceanography’s Harold Walker, who wasn’t a part of the analysis.

Regardless that coelacanths are unrelated genetically and present large evolutionary variations, they age slowly like different dwellers of the deep, sharks and rays, Ernande stated. “They could have advanced comparable life histories as a result of they’re sharing comparable sort habitats,” he stated.

Observe Seth Borenstein on Twitter at @borenbears.

The Related Press Well being and Science Division receives assist from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Division of Science Training. The AP is solely liable for all content material.



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