Yale Peabody Museum Gallery Talk
Coelacanth model on display at the Peabody

The Story of the Coelacanth

An Ancient Fish Comes Alive

Jessica Glass

PhD candidate, Division of Vertebrate Zoology


Thursday, May 10, 4:00 pm

Great Hall of Dinosaurs


Imagine taking a walk through the woods and discovering a living Tyrannosaurus rex! What if you caught one from the sea? This is the story of the coelacanth, an ancient fish known from fossils 400 million years ago that was believed to have gone extinct during the Cretaceous. That assumption held true until 1938, when a young museum curator in South Africa stumbled upon a living specimen on a fishing boat. This event sparked decades of scientific exploration and discovery, from the tropical Comoros Islands, to deep caves off the South African coast, all the way to a fish market in Indonesia and the Peabody Museum.


The Peabody houses one of the rarest coelacanth specimens, collected in 1966, as well as a plethora of fossils. Join us in the Great Hall of Dinosaurs to learn about the Peabody’s involvement with one of the most unique animals on the planet.


Refreshments to follow. Free admission.