Updated 2024

Photo courtesy: Said Ahamada

An Illustrated Chronological Review

The Human Side of the Story:

Read down the list from past to present...


1938: The Coelacanth is "discovered" off South Africa.

1952: Coelacanths "discovered" to inhabit the Comoro Islands.

DOCUMENT Greatest Fish Story ever Told: "Discovery" of the Coelacanth (article)
IMAGE The story begins: Captain Goosen and the Nerine. (pictures)
IMAGE Courtenay-Latimer, "First" Coelacanth, I.D. sketch, Reward Poster (pictures)
IMAGE The 1938 "First coelacanth" today in the East London Museum, South Africa. (pictures)
IMAGE Courtenay-Latimer, JLB Smith, Eric Hunt, James Millot (pictures)
IMAGE Possessions of JLB Smith displayed at SAIAB- the former JLB Smith Institute in Grahamstown, South Africa. (picture)
IMAGE Ahamadi Abdallah accepting a reward for the discovery of the Comoran Coelacanths (picture)
IMAGE The 1952 "Second coelacanth" today at SAIAB- the former JLB Smith Institute in Grahamstown, South Africa. (picture)
IMAGE Comoran fisherman in dugout canoe (picture)
IMAGE Comoran fisherman with Coelacanth (picture)
IMAGE Three views of a Comorian Coelacanth (pictures)
IMAGE Looking into the mouth of an enormous female, caught June, 1989 in the Comoros(picture)

Coelacanth Gyotaku (ink impression)


1987: First films made of coelacanths at natural depth.


"Jago" research submersible and Fricke Dive Team (brief article, pictures, and video links)

IMAGE Diorama at SAIAB showing Jago observing coelacanths in a cave. (picture)
IMAGE Front page news: Coelacanth in the New York Times (picture)
DOCUMENT Jerome Hamlin's Submarine 'Descent to Cave 4'
(illustrated article)

Two Coelies at Cave 4!(picture)


1997: Coelacanths "discovered" in Indonesia.


"Discovery" of the Indonesian Coelacanths (article and YouTube account)


The Indonesian Coelacanth (picture)


2000: Coelacanths rediscovered living in South African waters.


Discovery of the "NEW" South African Coelacanths (article)

IMAGE Coelacanth on a South African submarine ledge (picture)

Video glimpse of a Coelacanth on a South African submarine ledge. (Courtesy: Stobbs/Venter)


1995-2003: Coelacanths discovered living off Madagascar and East Africa.


The Madagascar Coelacanths (article&picture)


Discovery of the Kenyan Coelacanth (article&picture)


The Curious Case of the Tanzania / Zanzibar Coelacanths (article and amazing pictures)



2009: Japanese locate and film first juvenile in natural habitat. (Indonesia)

The Fukushima Aquarium Expeditions


Phantoms of the Pacific- A New Home for coelacanths? undertakes 2007, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015 exploratory coelacanth reconnaissance expeditions to New Guinea and Solomon Islands- according to some scientists, the possible ancestral home of all coelacanths. These five expeditions constitute the foundations of coelacanth research in the Western Pacific.


Special Features:



A Brief Timeline of World and Coelacanth Events:

The Coelacanth Express

DOCUMENT Zoological Holy Grail : Expeditions in search of the Coelacanth (list)
DOCUMENT Scientific Turf Wars: The Coelacanth Controversies (article)

Coelacanth Poem: Instructions for Search


"Swimming in My Mind": Recollections of 30 years pursuing coelacanths around the World- Jerome Hamlin, creator of


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