coe·​la·​canth | \ ˈsē-lə-ˌkan(t)th How to pronounce coelacanth (audio) \

Definition of coelacanth

: any of an order (Coelacanthiformes) of lobe-finned fishes known chiefly from Paleozoic and Mesozoic fossils

Illustration of coelacanth

Illustration of coelacanth

Examples of coelacanth in a Sentence

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Some years ago, the story of the Smithsonian’s coelacanth took an interesting twist. Lynne Parenti, Smithsonian, "How the Smithsonian’s Coelacanth Lost Its Brain and Got It Back Again," 14 Mar. 2018 This is good for the coelacanths as all are considered endangered. Lynne Parenti, Smithsonian, "How the Smithsonian’s Coelacanth Lost Its Brain and Got It Back Again," 14 Mar. 2018 Some have looked at coelacanths and sarcopterygians, or lungfish (the latter use their pelvic fins to move in a motion like walking). Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "What a Walking Fish Can Teach Us About Human Evolution," 9 Feb. 2018 But in 1938, the discovery of a modern coelacanth was like seeing a fossil come back to life. Kat Eschner, Smithsonian, "In the 1930s, This Natural History Curator Discovered a Living Fossil–Well, Sort of," 22 Dec. 2017 According to the study, researchers first interpreted such impressions as claw marks, ripples from fish or paths made by turtles or coelacanths. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Ancient Creature Left a 28-Foot Drag Mark After It Died," 11 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'coelacanth.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of coelacanth

1857, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for coelacanth

ultimately from Greek koilos hollow + akantha spine — more at cave

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The first known use of coelacanth was in 1857

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to move or obtain by small maneuvers

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