Definition of coelacanth in English:

coelacanth

noun

  • A large bony marine fish with a three-lobed tail fin and fleshy pectoral fins. It was known only from fossils until one was found alive in 1938; since then others have been found near the Comoro Islands in the Indian Ocean and off Sulawesi, Indonesia.

    • ‘Little changed over the past 500 million years, the chambered nautilus is considered a ‘living fossil’, like the horseshoe crab and the coelacanth.’
    • ‘Tetrapods are part of a larger groups called Sarcopterygii, which also includes several groups of lobe-finned fish, such as lungfish and the coelacanth.’
    • ‘In most fossil coelacanths, the swimbladder appears to be ossified and, consequently, these fishes were probably confined to shallow water.’
    • ‘They were hit hard by the terminal Devonian extinction event, and most marine forms died out then, only the coelacanths continuing.’
    • ‘Fossil coelacanth were found only a few years ago in a shale-bed near Grahamstown, relics of a silent world which existed before birds or mammals, seed-bearing or flowering plants.’

Origin

Mid 19th century: from modern Latin Coelacanthus (genus name), from Greek koilos hollow + akantha spine (its fins have hollow spines).

Pronunciation:

coelacanth

/ˈsiːləkanθ/