Did you know that scientists have found the skull of an extremely rare threatened species?
A team of scientists found the skull of a Coelacanth Latimeria fetus, a marine animal. Scientists have said that it is a fish that is closely related to tetrapods. Knowing this, the researchers conducted their first observation on its brain and skull. The researchers had also stated that the fetus’ brain was yellow. Coelacanth Latimeria were thought to be extinct for 70 million years. That is until a person from South Africa accidentally captured one in 1938. Scientists were shocked at the discovery since the Coelacanth Latimeria is incredibly rare to come across.
Recently, scientists have found that this marine fish has a hinged braincase, only found in fossil lobe-finned fish from the Devonian period (360-410 million years ago). The braincase of the Latimeria is split into the interior and posterior portions, with the brain only covering up to one percent of it. Scientists are confused about how its skull can grow, but the brain still remains so small.
To learn more about this creature, scientists have used state-of-the-art imaging to visualize the inside of the skull without damaging it. They were able to digitalize a five centimeters-long fetus with synchrotron x-ray microtomography. From there, scientists were also able to image different stages of life with powerful Magnetic Resonance Imaging, also known as MRI. This model allowed scientists to describe how the form of the skull and brain changes as the Coelacanth Latimeria progressed from a fetus to an adult.
Scientists have said that the Coelacanth Latimeria is a threatened animal. Without the discovery, we wouldn’t have the chance to learn more about this rare fish that still roams the waters today.