Marc Schlossman/Panos Pictures

United States of America, USA

Coelocanth (Latimeria chalumnae). Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago. FMNH no. 76057 and/or 97106 (scales from 2 individuals in one fluid vat). Conservation status: critically endangered. The Coelocanth is famous as a 'living fossil'. Thought to be extinct, it was 'discovered' in 1938 in a trawling net near Capetown, South Africa. Little is known of its life cycle and ecology because it lives at such great depths in the Indo-West Pacific Ocean. Based on the diminishing frequency of coelocanths caught accidentally, it is assumed that the population has been declining dramatically since the 1990s.

As biologists describe new species and add to our understanding of the interrelated nature of life on Earth, a species becomes extinct every 20 minutes (100 to 1000 times the background extinction rate as seen in the fossil record). Collections in natural history museums play important roles in conservation, education and research. Most of that work and the associated specimens are not on public display in museumsâ typically, less than five percent of specimens are exhibited.

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Object Name
Marc Schlossman/Panos Pictures
United States of America
Max size
High Resolution
2768 x 4160 pixels
23.44 x 35.22 cm (300 dpi)
9.23 x 13.87 inch (300 dpi)
2.3 MB size on disk
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