Taxon profile


Sharjah Coelacanth
Coelacanthus sharjah Khalaf, 2013

kingdom Animalia - animals »  phylum Chordata - chordates »  class Sarcopterygii »  order Coelacanthiformes - coelacanth »  family Coelacanthidae »  genus Coelacanthus

Other names

= Arabian Coelacanth
= Emirati Coelacanth

Temporal range:Upper Permian - Upper Jurassic
Etymology / Derivation of the Scientific Name:

Coelacanthus in New Latin literally: hollow spine; “Coel” indicating a cavity within a body or a hollow organ or part, from Greek “koilos” hollow + Greek “akanthos” spined, adj. derivative of ákantha spine, referring to the hollow caudal fin rays of the first fossil specimen described and named by Louis Agassiz in 1836.
The Arabic species name “sharjah” refers to Sharjah, Emirate of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates where the fossil specimen is deposited at the Sharjah Natural History and Botanical Museum.


During a visit to Sharjah Natural History and Botanical Museum in Sharjah, Emirate of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates in September 2013, a coelacanth fish fossil from the genus Coelacanthus was examined and measured by the Palestinian-German Zoologist Prof. Dr. Norman Ali Khalaf-von Jaffa.

Coelacanthus is a genus of extinct coelacanths that first appeared during the Late Permian period, 251 million years ago and died out during the Late Jurassic, 145.5 million years ago.

There are ten Coelacanthus recognized species: † Coelacanthus banffensis Lambe, 1916; † Coelacanthus evolutus Beltan, 1980; † Coelacanthus gracilis Agassiz, 1844; † Coelacanthus granulatus Agassiz, 1836; † Coelacanthus harlemensis Winkler, 1871; † Coelacanthus lunzensis Reis, 1900; † Coelacanthus madagascariensis Woodward, 1910; † Coelacanthus minor Agassiz, 1844; † Coelacanthus welleri Eastman, 1908; † Coelacanthus whitea Lehman, 1952.

The new coelacanth fossil species † Coelacanthus sharjah Khalaf, 2013 is distinguished from the other ten coelacanthus species by its slightly different skeletal, skull and fin features. It is morphologically distinct from the other ten species.


Measurements of the Sharjah Coelacanth Fossil:

Total length: 35.00 cm; Head from mouth tip to gill cover: 8.00 cm; Tail length: 9.00 cm; Head width at the gill cover: 9.00 cm; Body width in the middle (dorsal-ventral): 9 cm, tail base width: 6.5 cm; Anterior dorsal fin: 5.50 cm; Posterior dorsal fin: 4.50 cm; Pectoral fin: 6.50 cm; Pelvic fin: 5.50 cm; Anal fin: 5.00 cm; Tail rays: 6.00 cm.

Links and literature

Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa, Prof. Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher (2013). Coelacanthus sharjah Khalaf, 2013 : A New Coelacanth Fish Fossil Species from Sharjah Natural History and Botanical Museum, Sharjah, Emirate of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Gazelle: The Palestinian Biological Bulletin. ISSN 0178 - 6288. Number 106, October 2013, Thu Al Hijja 1434 AH. pp. 18–38. Dubai and Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. [as Coelacanthus sharjah]

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extinct taxon