Better late than never – the other ancient angler speaks!

Hello all, Chris here.
I think it is about time for me to join the blog and start posting. This post will be quite short and aims to introduce myself to you all, and outline what I am researching.
Like Luke, I am also a PhD student at Portsmouth University, and for my sins I aim to be a fish worker too, or Palaeoichthyologist to give us our posh title! However, despite graduating with Luke in 2011, my personal circumstances meant that my PhD research has begun a year later so I am a little behind the work that Luke has done to date.
My research concerns a group of fish known as the Actinistians, the Coelacanth family. These are a fascinating group of fish that until 1938 were thought to have gone extinct at the KT boundary along with the (non-avian) Dinosaurs, 65 million years ago.
They first appeared in the fossil record in the Early Devonian – c.400 MYA, and we still have 2 species swimming in our oceans today. They survived both the Permo-Triassic major extinction and the KT (Cretaceous/Tertiary) extinction, left no (yet found) evidence of their existence for 65 million years, and were then discovered alive in the 1930s (fig.1).

Figure 1. latimeria chalumnae (The living coelacanth)

I will be studying some Late Jurassic Coelacanth fossils, found by Steve Etches, the world renowned collector of Kimmeridgian (Late Jurassic from mostly Kimmeridge Bay) fossils, and aim to ascertain their relationship with other Coelacanths. It is possible that these fossils represent new species, new to science.

Future posts will detail the family, what we know so far and will include some pictures!
In addition to the Coelacanth related posts, I am a keen fossil hunter, so I will indulge myself with the occasional post to show off my finds and explain what I have found and where it came from.
Yours piscatorially


Images taken from Google images

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