Coelacanths, lobe-finned fish, were thought to have gone extinct with the dinosaurs. That is, until 1938 when Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer discovered the fish off the Indian Ocean coast of South Africa very much alive. Since about 300 specimens have been collected.
Now, in the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) Collection of Fishes, dwells an adult coelacanth specimen whose brain had been removed for study. Harry Grier, NMNH research associate, recognized the coelacanth’s brain among a separate collection that was about to be thrown away. Knowing the Smithsonian Institution (SI) would value this item, Grier rescued the collection and donated it to SI in 1998, reuniting the coelacanth with its brain.
For more information on the coelacanth, click here.