Danish Researchers Use Medical Scanners To Uncover Mysteries Of The Coelacanth

Danish Researchers Use Medical Scanners To Uncover Mysteries Of The Coelacanth. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University have discovered new secrets about one of the great monsters of the sea - the coelacanth. Until a South African fisherman came across a coelacanth in his net in 1938 the coelacanth was believed to have been extinct for 66 million years. Since then, only about 300 specimens of this living fossil have been caught worldwide and as a result of its rarity its unusual swimming style has remained a mystery until scientists Peter Rask Møller and Henrik Lauridsen put a Danish specimen through CT and MRI scanners. They discovered that the fish’s unusual bone mass in the head and tail explains its unique “headstand drift hunting” technique, whereby it slowly drifts along a seabed vertically, head and snout downwards, as it uses an electrosensitive organ to scan the bottom for cephalopods and fish to eat. They now hope the technique could be used to solve another mystery of the coelacanth - where female fish give birth after a grueling 5 year pregnancy. They will do this by analysing the distribution of bone and fat in a foetus in order to establish the depth at which coelacanth fry (babies) are adapted to live.