This witty account of the current state of play in the search for extant species of the coelacanth, the living fish which may be descended from the ancestors of all land life, starts, as it has to, with Marjorie Latimer, the curator of a small museum, who had been taught her palaeontology by very strict nuns. When a fisherman showed her an odd fish, she instantly recognised it as supposedly extinct for millions of years. Several years later, after endless promises of rewards, the first of many coelacanths was fished out of the sea round the Comoros--they were being thrown back since time immemorial because they are not good eating and have a strongly laxative effect. There followed an unedifying tale of national rivalry--South African and French skulduggery and national pride in dead fish--a risk of a final extinction caused by Chinese herbalists, and discoveries of more fish off Madagascar and Indonesia. Weinberg knows what is important and what is not, but does not let good stories go unnoticed all the same. Her command of the details is impressive--you come away knowing what the excitement was all about. The account is excellent and humane, if cute--and the cliffhangers about extinction and possible other habitats are exciting as well. --Roz Kaveney
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'A fascinating tale that mixes scientific intrigue, international politics and adventures on the high seas' -- Gale Vines, Independent
'Garnished with great splashes of narrative colour and makes an excellent light holiday read.' -- Sara Wheeler, Daily Telegraph
'The discovery of the coelacanth, as told in Samantha Weinberg's thrilling new book, reads like some classic Spielberg creation - Indiana Jones let loose in a real-life Jurassic Park.' -- Philip Marsden, Mail on Sunday
'You'll probably learn more about prehistoric life from this amiable account than from a million well-intended, dust-encrusted copies of the Voyage of the Beagle.' -- Bella Bathurst, Scotsman