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Quiz about The Coelacanth aka The Living Fossil Fish
Quiz about The Coelacanth aka The Living Fossil Fish

The Coelacanth aka 'The Living Fossil Fish' Quiz


This extraordinary, prehistoric looking fish, which is pronounced 'see-la-kanth' by the way, was once thought to have become extinct about 65 million years ago. Even scientists still have much to learn about this fascinating sea creature.

A multiple-choice quiz by izzi. Estimated time: 6 mins.
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Author
izzi
Time
6 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
86,845
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
20
Difficulty
Difficult
Avg Score
10 / 20
Plays
5224
Awards
Editor's Choice
Last 3 plays: Guest 173 (11/20), Guest 71 (12/20), caparica (16/20).
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Question 1 of 20
1. Following the re-discovery of this strange fish in 1938, JLB Smith (of the JLB Smith Institute) confirmed its identity as a Coelacanth and subsequently named the genus and species Latimeria chalumnae after Miss Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer and the place of its capture.

What was Miss Courtenay-Latimer's occupation?

Hint


Question 2 of 20
2. The name Coelacanth is derived from the Greek words 'koilos' and 'akantha'. This roughly translates to which of the following?
Hint


Question 3 of 20
3. The branch of zoology concerned with the study of the natural history of fishes is known as what?

Hint


Question 4 of 20
4. The JLB Smith Institute has been renamed and has the initials S.A.I.A.B. What do those initials stand for? Hint


Question 5 of 20
5. The original 1938 Coelacanth specimen, found off the coast of South Africa, was around 1.50 m / 5 feet long and weighed just under 60kg / 130 pounds.


Question 6 of 20
6. How many fins do Coelacanths have? Hint


Question 7 of 20
7. Coelacanth fossils have been found on every continent apart from Europe.


Question 8 of 20
8. How long is the gestation period for the Coelacanth?


Hint


Question 9 of 20
9. Coelacanth eggs are fertilised internally, and hatch inside the parent fish. The pups are born alive, some still attached to the yolk sac which provided nourishment throughout the embryonic growing phase inside their mother.

What is the name of the alternative reproductive method whereby the eggs are expelled and hatch outside the body?

Hint


Question 10 of 20
10. It was once thought that unborn Coelacanth pups ate their siblings and other eggs while still in the uterus before birth, but this has since been disproven.
Cannibalistic behaviour of this sort is known as oophagy.



Question 11 of 20
11. The eggs of the Coelacanth are the largest of all known fish. Roughly what is the size of each egg?

Hint


Question 12 of 20
12. What proportion of the cranial cavity does the brain of an adult Coelacanth occupy? Hint


Question 13 of 20
13. What is the nickname that JLB Smith gave to the Coelacanth?

Hint


Question 14 of 20
14. Fins with an internal skeleton structure such as those of the Coelacanth are known as which of the following?
Hint


Question 15 of 20
15. The electro-receptive device in the snout of the Coelacanth which is used to locate prey is known as which organ?

Hint


Question 16 of 20
16. Coelacanths go foraging for food by day and spend most of their nights resting up in caves.


Question 17 of 20
17. A second species of Coelacanth has since been found to occupy the deep waters around Indonesia. When the first specimen was found just off North Sulawesi it was named Coelacanth Latimeria menadoensis. The people of Indonesia know their Coelacanth as "raja laut".

This roughly translates to which of the following?



Hint


Question 18 of 20
18. Name the most obvious difference between the two species of Coelacanth?


Hint


Question 19 of 20
19. Coelacanths feed mainly on algae.



Question 20 of 20
20. Coelacanths are critically endangered and conservation efforts are underway to try and protect them. Even though they are released if caught accidentally, they cannot survive in the shallow waters for very long. This is because as deep water dwellers they have become accustomed to which of the following?

Hint



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Most Recent Scores
Apr 11 2024 : Guest 173: 11/20
Mar 25 2024 : Guest 71: 12/20
Mar 25 2024 : caparica: 16/20
Mar 25 2024 : gogetem: 14/20
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Mar 06 2024 : i-a-n: 12/20
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quiz
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Following the re-discovery of this strange fish in 1938, JLB Smith (of the JLB Smith Institute) confirmed its identity as a Coelacanth and subsequently named the genus and species Latimeria chalumnae after Miss Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer and the place of its capture. What was Miss Courtenay-Latimer's occupation?

Answer: museum curator

Miss Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer worked as a curator at the East London museum in South Africa, a most unusual position to be held by a woman, especially a teenager. She often went looking for suitable specimens and spotted the unusual fish, which had been trawled near the mouth of the River Chalumna, on Captain Goosen's boat, the Nerine. Realising the importance of saving the specimen for scientific research, she preserved it as best she could at the museum until it could be formally identified.
2. The name Coelacanth is derived from the Greek words 'koilos' and 'akantha'. This roughly translates to which of the following?

Answer: hollow spine

Coelacanths don't actually have a spinal column or a backbone as such, they have a notochord which is made up of gristly cartilage. Coincidently, dissection has shown that the notochord of the Coelacanth is indeed hollow and filled with an oily substance, but this is not why it was named as such. Fossilised remains hadn't brought to light much information as to the internal workings of this fish, but some clearly showed hollow fin spines. These hollow spines were actually the reason behind the derivation of the name.
3. The branch of zoology concerned with the study of the natural history of fishes is known as what?

Answer: ichthyology

Entomology is the study of insects, ornithology is the study of birds and herpetology is the study of reptiles and amphibians.
4. The JLB Smith Institute has been renamed and has the initials S.A.I.A.B. What do those initials stand for?

Answer: South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity

The Department of Ichthyology at Rhodes University was renamed The JLB Smith Institute of Ichthyology after Smith's death in 1968. It was decided to change it once again in 2001 to the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity to reflect the work being done not only in the field of fishes, but also marine conservation in general.
5. The original 1938 Coelacanth specimen, found off the coast of South Africa, was around 1.50 m / 5 feet long and weighed just under 60kg / 130 pounds.

Answer: True

This was small by comparison to other Coelacanths which have since been caught. Some have been known to grow over 6 feet in length and weigh in excess of 200 pounds. The female is generally much larger than the male, but gender is very difficult to identify accurately purely by external observation.
6. How many fins do Coelacanths have?

Answer: 8

Coelacanths have 2 dorsal, 2 pectoral, 2 pelvic, 1 anal and 1 caudal fin. The trilobite tail fin is unknown in any other living fish, but the paired pectoral and pelvic fins are extremely unusual too.
7. Coelacanth fossils have been found on every continent apart from Europe.

Answer: False

In fact Antarctica is the only continent where these fossils haven't been found. The reason that Coelacanths were once believed to be extinct in the wild is because all known fossil remains are thought to predate the Cretaceous period.
8. How long is the gestation period for the Coelacanth?

Answer: up to 3 years

Studies have yet to determine the exact length of gestation, but estimates of up to 3 years have been speculated. It is also thought that they might not even reach sexual maturity and reproductive capability until they are at least 10 years old, which is one of the reasons why there is such concern over their future.
9. Coelacanth eggs are fertilised internally, and hatch inside the parent fish. The pups are born alive, some still attached to the yolk sac which provided nourishment throughout the embryonic growing phase inside their mother. What is the name of the alternative reproductive method whereby the eggs are expelled and hatch outside the body?

Answer: oviparous

Both ovoviviparous and viviparous reproduction methods result in the parent giving birth to live young.
10. It was once thought that unborn Coelacanth pups ate their siblings and other eggs while still in the uterus before birth, but this has since been disproven. Cannibalistic behaviour of this sort is known as oophagy.

Answer: True

More than twenty fully formed pups have been found inside one Coelacanth. Examination has revealed that no muscle fibre or flesh of any sort had been taken in as a food substance in the unborn pups, thus dispelling this belief.
11. The eggs of the Coelacanth are the largest of all known fish. Roughly what is the size of each egg?

Answer: an orange

Each egg weighs approximately 320g and looks uncannily like a haggis.
12. What proportion of the cranial cavity does the brain of an adult Coelacanth occupy?

Answer: 1%

The brain is remarkably small in comparison to other fish of similar size. Research on unborn, juvenile pups has shown that their brains occupy almost all of the cranial cavity.
13. What is the nickname that JLB Smith gave to the Coelacanth?

Answer: old fourlegs

JLB Smith wrote a book entitled 'Old Fourlegs - The Story of the Coelacanth' about his fascination for this fish. Once the Coelacanth had been studied it was found that the pelvic and pectoral fins of the Coelacanth have an internal skeleton. It was generally thought that this fish had once used those tough, paddle-like fins to walk along the seabed out onto dry land. It was even suggested that this fish could have been a direct ancestor of man, but neither of these statements were ever proven and it is now widely accepted that this was not the case.
14. Fins with an internal skeleton structure such as those of the Coelacanth are known as which of the following?

Answer: pedunculated

The other answers might sound equally plausible, but I'm afraid I made them up.
15. The electro-receptive device in the snout of the Coelacanth which is used to locate prey is known as which organ?

Answer: rostral

The rostral organ is a gel-filled gland and is thought to work in a similar manner to the ampullae of Lorenzini pores in sharks by picking up electrical charges emitted by other marine creatures.
16. Coelacanths go foraging for food by day and spend most of their nights resting up in caves.

Answer: False

The metabolic rate of these fish is one of the lowest known for any animal. Much of their day is spent resting in caves in small groups at depths of between 100m - 700m. They don't rest on the sea floor as originally thought, but use a gentle sculling action to remain hovering in the water. They go off, generally alone, on feeding forays at night.
17. A second species of Coelacanth has since been found to occupy the deep waters around Indonesia. When the first specimen was found just off North Sulawesi it was named Coelacanth Latimeria menadoensis. The people of Indonesia know their Coelacanth as "raja laut". This roughly translates to which of the following?

Answer: king of the sea

Coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae is known to the local people of the Comoros as Gombessa, sometimes pronounced Kombessa.
18. Name the most obvious difference between the two species of Coelacanth?

Answer: colour

Coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae is metallic blue in colour, whereas Coelacanth Latimeria menadoensis is brown. Both have lighter, random blotches which has been a useful method of identifying individuals as part of ongoing conservation studies.
19. Coelacanths feed mainly on algae.

Answer: False

Examination of stomach contents reveal that the Coelacanth feeds mainly on a marine animal diet.
20. Coelacanths are critically endangered and conservation efforts are underway to try and protect them. Even though they are released if caught accidentally, they cannot survive in the shallow waters for very long. This is because as deep water dwellers they have become accustomed to which of the following?

Answer: all of these

It was found that after release most did not survive the journey back into deep water and died from a combination of asphyxiation and stress. Fishermen are now being issued with 'Deep Water Release Kits', an invention credited to Jerome Hamlin based on an original design concept by Ray Waldner.

The kit comprises a small plastic bag attached to a blunt hook, fitting neatly into a handy container. The hook is looped over the lower jaw and stones are placed into the plastic. The fish is then lowered gently into the water and, with the aid of the weights, it's returned safely to the depths without having to use up excess energy. Once back on the sea floor the fish can release itself easily and swim away.
Source: Author izzi

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor crisw before going online.
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