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March 6, 2024 46 mins

The coelacanth was believed to have gone extinct about 66 million years ago, until one was spotted in South Africa in 1938. Naturalist and museum curator Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer played a key part in that event.

Research:

  • Ashworth, Willam B. Jr. “Scientist of the Day – Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer.” Linda Hall Library. 2/24/2020. https://www.lindahall.org/about/news/scientist-of-the-day/marjorie-courtenay-latimer/
  • Bruton, Mike. “Curator and Crusader: The Life and Work of Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer.” Pinetown Printers, 2019.
  • Courtenay-Latimer, M. “My Story of the First Coelacanth.” Occasional Papers of the California Academy of Sciences. No. 134. 12/22/1979. https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/15956893#page/18/mode/1up
  • Courtenay-Latimer, Marjorie. “Reminiscences of the Discovery of the Coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae.” Interdisciplinary Journal of the International Society of Cryptozoology. Vol. 8. 1989.
  • Hatchuel, Martin. “The Coelacanth.” Knysna Museums. https://www.knysnamuseums.co.za/pages/the-coelacanth/
  • Jewett, Susan L. “Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer: More than the Coelacanth!” Division of Fishes, Smithsonian Institution.
  • Schramm, Sally. “Marjorie Eileen Doris Courtenay-Latimer: Beyond the Coelacanth.” Biodiversity Heritage Library Blog. https://blog.biodiversitylibrary.org/2019/03/marjorie-eileen-doris-courtenay-latimer.html
  • Smith, Anthony. “Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer.” The Guardian. 5/20/2004. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2004/may/21/guardianobituaries
  • Smith, J.L.B. “The Living Cœlacanthid Fish from South Africa.” Nature 143, 748–750 (1939). https://doi.org/10.1038/143748a0
  • Smith, J.L.B. “The Search Beneath the Sea: The Story of the Coelacanth.” New York. Holt. 1956.
  • Smith, J.L.B. Living Fish of Mesozoic Type.” Nature 143, 455–456 (1939). https://doi.org/10.1038/143455a0
  • The Coelacanth : the Journal of the Border Historical Society. Vol. 42 No. 1 (2004). https://journal.ru.ac.za/index.php/Coelacanth/issue/view/143
  • Tyson, Peter. “Moment of Discovery.” PBS Nova. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/fish/letters.html
  • Weinberg, Samantha. “A Fish Caught in Time: the Search for the Coelacanth.” New York : HarperCollins Publishers. 2001.
  • Yanes, Javier. “The Woman Who Brought a Fish Back From the Dead.” BBVA Open Mind. 2/17/2023. https://www.bbvaopenmind.com/en/science/leading-figures/marjorie-courtenay-latimer-fossil-fish-coelacanth/

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