The coelacanth research of SMU paleontology doctoral student John Graf has been covered by the UPI wire service. Graf identified a new species of coelacanth from fossil fish bones discovered in Texas.

Watch a video about the new fossil, “100 million-year-old coelacanth discovered in Texas is new fish species from Cretaceous.”

Graf identified the fish from a 100 million-year-old skull fossil. He named the new species Reidus hilli. Graf said the new coelacanth is the first found in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Discovered in the Duck Creek Formation, the fossil dates to the Cretaceous, making it the youngest coelacanth discovered in Texas.

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A 100-million-year-old coelacanth fossil discovered in Texas is that of a new species of the fish often called a “living fossil,” paleontologists say.

The coelacanth has one of the longest lineages — 400 million years — of any animal, and they were thought to have gone extinct 70 million years ago until live specimens were caught off the coast of Africa in 1938. Today, they can be found swimming in the depths of the Indian Ocean.

The coelacanth is often called a “living fossil” because it has not evolved significantly since reaching its current form about 400 million years ago.

Southern Methodist University paleontology graduate student John F. Graf discovered the Texas fossil, the first found in the state that has been dated to the Cretaceous period extending from 146 million years ago to 66 million years ago.

The new species, found in ancient marine sediments in North Texas and dubbed Reidus hilli, is now the youngest coelacanth fossil identified in the Lone Star State, he said.

Previously the youngest was a 200-million-year-old coelacanth from the Triassic.

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