Francisco J. Ayala
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of California
Latimeria chalumnae was discovered 50 years ago, one of a group of fishes (coelacanths) thought to have died out 80 million years ago. Latimeria raised hopes of gathering direct information on the transition from fish to amphibians, because coelacanths were thought to be ancestral to the tetrapods. Studies of Latimeria anatomy and physiology have shown that it is not the missing link between fish and land vertebrates. There are also fears that it will become extinct in the near future.
P.L. Forey, "Golden jubilee for the coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae," Nature, 336 (6201), 727-32, 22/29 December 1988.
Proconsul is a prehistoric ape discovered in 1927, when a left upper jawbone was found in a limestone quarry in western Kenya. A skull was discovered in 1948, other remains in 1951, and many more since 1984....