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A charismatic amateur ichthyologist, J.L.B. Smith, saw a thumbnail sketch of the fish and was thunderstruck. He recognized it as a coelacanth (pronounced see-la-kanth), a creature known from fossils dating back 400 million years and thought to have died out with the dinosaurs. With its extraordinary limbs, the coelacanth was believed to be the first fish to crawl from the sea and evolve into reptiles, mammals and eventually mankind. The discovery was immediately dubbed the "greatest scientific find of the century."
Smith devoted his life to the search for a complete specimen, a fourteen-year odyssey that culminated in a dramatic act of international piracy. As the fame of the coelacanth spread, so did rumors and obsessions. Nations fought over it, multimillion-dollar expeditions were launched, and submarines hand-built to find it. In 1998, the rumors and the truth came together in a gripping climax, which brought the coelacanth back into the international limelight.
"A Fish Caught in Time is the entrancing story of the most rare and precious fish in the world--our own great uncle forty million times removed.
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