National Museum of Kenya researchers with a coelacanth cuaght by fishermen in Malindi, November 2001. (Image courtesy VOA)

The coelacanth research of SMU paleontology doctoral student John Graf has been covered by Voice of America. 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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Voice of America
A paleontologist in Texas has identified a new species of coelacanth, an ancient fish most closely related to land-dwelling vertebrates, including humans. John Graf of Southern Methodist University says the pieces of the tiny fossil skull found recently near Fort Worth are 100 million years old, and represent a new family of this remarkably enduring fish.

Coelacanths have been around for 400 million years — one of the longest lineages in the animal kingdom — and their fossils have been found on every continent except Antarctica. Scientists thought they went extinct 70 million years ago, until fishermen off the African coast caught live specimens in 1938.

Modern coelacanths can grow to three meters. The newly identified species was probably no longer than 40 centimeters.

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