Exquisitely-Preserved Triassic Whiteia Coelacanth

Whiteia woodwardi

Class Sarcopterygii, Subclass Actinistia, Order Coelacanthiformes, Family Whiteidae

Geological Time: Early Triassic (~240 m.y.a.)

Size: Fish fossil is 125 mm long Matrix: 130 mm by 45 mm

Fossil Site: Karroo Formation, Anaborana, Madagascar

Whiteia woodwardiDescription: A fine example of a half nodule from the early Triassic of Madagascar containing most of a very detailed coelacanth known as Whiteia woodwardi. The coelacanths reached the height of their diversity during the Carboniferous and were thought to have become extinct by the end of the Cretaceous until a Coelacanthlone living fish was discovered off the coast the Comoro Islands in the late 1930s. Subsequent specimens of the modern genus Latimeria have been discovered off the coast of Africa and in Indonesia. This one displays the characteristic double dorsal fin of the coelacanths and is nearly complete, dominating its half nodule. Interestingly, although most fossil nodules display a part/counterpart specimen, these show the preservation of the impression of opposite sides of the specimen. The repaired crack passing through the caudal fin detracts but little from this realy-offered taxon.

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