Frozen ‘living fossil’ fish on display at Shizuoka aquarium

Posted: 12/11/2011 in all marine news

The Mainichi Daily News – 

An aquarium that displays two frozen “living fossil” coelacanth fish — a species that up to 73 years ago was thought to have been extinct, was opened on Dec. 10.

The Numazu Deep Sea Aquarium in Numazu features two rare coelacanth fish species, which were found in the West Indian Ocean in the 1980s.

The species are preserved at minus 15-18 degrees Celsius in a large freezer, which a local fisheries company built for some 25 million yen.

Coelacanths were thought to have gone extinct some 65 million years ago, but were discovered by scientists off the coast of South Africa in 1938.

Previously known only through fossils, the species were nicknamed “living fossils” after the discovery.

According to Koji Ishigaki, head of the aquarium, the “ancient” species has thick body fat, which helps their frozen bodies stay in the same shape even in case of a blackout, which the city experienced amid a shortage of electric power due to the crisis at the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011.

This is the first aquarium in the world to display frozen coelacanths, officials at the Numazu Deep Sea Aquarium said.

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