Sunday, 20 September 2015

”Vestigial Organ” In Living Fossil Latimeria chalumnae

The Coelacanth was once thought to be the first fish to walk – though it doesn’t have legs.

Joel Kontinen

Living fossils and vestigial organs are two of the most embarrassing phenomena that reduce the credibility of Darwinian evolution.

Now, a paper published in the journal Nature Communications suggests that these both relate to Latimeria chalumnae, the “dino fish” that has resisted change for “380 million years”:

Coelacanths are lobe-finned fishes known from the Devonian to Recent that were long considered extinct, until the discovery of two living species in deep marine waters of the Mozambique Channel and Sulawesi. Despite extensive studies, the pulmonary system of extant coelacanths has not been fully investigated. Here we confirm the presence of a lung and discuss its allometric growth in Latimeria chalumnae, based on a unique ontogenetic series. Our results demonstrate the presence of a potentially functional, well-developed lung in the earliest known coelacanth embryo, and its arrested growth at later ontogenetic stages, when the lung is clearly vestigial.”

Practically every vestigial organ is known to have a beneficial function.

We might perhaps see devolution or the opposite of evolution in this famous fish. As evolution needs more genetic information to proceed, loosing an ability would hardly be of any use.

Latimeria chalumnae looks designed. The obvious reason for this is that it is.


Cupello, Camila et al. 2015. Allometric growth in the extant coelacanth lung during ontogenetic development. Nature Communications 6, Article 8222 (15 September).