Bizarre Dinosaur-Fish, the Coelacanth | Theory Of Irony

The South African naturalist and self-taught museum curator, Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer (1907 – 2004), was something of an odd duck.  She pursued an obsessive compulsive fascination with fish to such an extent, that she begged bemused fishing boat captains to phone her if by chance they should reel in any strange species.  So it happened, one day back in 1938, Ms. Courtenay-Latimer came to recall, “I saw a blue fin and, pushing off [a pile of aquatic entrails], the most beautiful fish I had ever seen was revealed….It was five feet long and a pale mauve blue with iridescent silver markings.”  She immediately wrote to rock star-ichthyologist, Dr. J.L.B. Smith of Rhodes University, who as fate would have it, was away on vacation sunning his dorsal fin.  Meanwhile, in a desperate and futile attempt to preserve the rapidly decomposing carcass she wheeled it around from morgue drawer, to meat locker and finally to a taxidermist.  Courtenay-Latimer stunned Dr. Smith upon his return, since her description violated the laws (then known) to science.  She seemingly stumbled upon an extinct beast that long…

via Bizarre Dinosaur-Fish, the Coelacanth | Theory Of Irony.

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