On the morning of December 23,1938, Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer was busy mounting a new exhibit for the museum where she served as curator in the port city of East London, South Africa. Her work was interrupted by a phone call from a friend of hers, Captain Goosen of the fishing trawler Nerine. Ever on the lookout for new marine specimens to display at the museum, Marjorie had previously asked Captain Goosen to let her know if he hauled up anything of interest.
Indeed, the captain had definitely caught an interesting creature that morning. The 5-foot (1.5 m), 127-pound (58- kg) fish was unlike anything the fisherman had ever seen, with its strange, lobed fins protruding from its slimy blue-gray body. Goosen was sure Marjorie would want to take a look at it and possibly even purchase it for the museum.
The scorching South African sun beat down mercilessly on Marjorie as she walked down the dock toward the Nerine. Upon arrival, she came face to face with what she later called, “The most beautiful fish I had ever seen.”
Although captivated by its unusual appearance, Miss Latimer was baffled as to the fish’s identification. After eagerly consulting her reference books to no avail, she sent a rough sketch of her newly purchased mystery fish to her colleague, Dr. Smith, who was a professional ichthyologist (biologist who studies fish).
After receiving Marjorie’s letter and seeing the sketch, Smith had a hunch as to what kind of fish Marjorie had in her possession. But to be sure, he paid a visit to the museum to take a look at it for himself. His examination confirmed his suspicions. The mystery fish was…a coelacanth.
The discovery absolutely shocked the international scientific community. Why? Because, according to evolutionists, the coelacanth went extinct sixty-five million years ago! From paleontological “evidence,” the evolutionists had concluded that the lobed fins on the coelacanth were evolving appendages, that the coelacanth was a transitional form between fish and amphibians. They assumed that it used its lobed fins to crawl out of the water and onto land, where it further evolved, developing lungs and other amphibian organs.
But actually finding a live coelacanth blew this theory apart. Scientists soon realized that the evasive coelacanth is a deep sea fish, dwelling at depths of up to 2,300 feet (700 m) down! They rarely come even close to the surface because the sunlight hurts their sensitive eyes. Such a creature could never become a land-dwelling animal. In addition, the fins thought to be the start of limbs were found to be skeletally unattached to the spine, rendering it impossible for them to be used as legs. Dissection also revealed that the coelacanth’s internal organs are one hundred percent designed for aquatic life.
Still unwilling to let go of their false hypothesis, scientists sent submarines to the coelacanth’s natural habitat to see if they used their fins to “walk” on the ocean floor. To their dismay, the coelacanth uses its fins to swim, not walk, just like every other fish.
The coelacanth’s discovery delivered a powerful blow to the credibility of evolutionary thought. As creationists, we know that every animal was specially created by God, and that no species evolves into another species. The Bible clearly states in Genesis 1:21 that each kind reproduces “after his kind.” Therefore, instead of investing our energy and time into conjuring up theories of how one animal is a transitional form between one kind and another, we can glorify the Creator by observing and appreciating the beauty and diversity of His spectacular creation.