School Library JournalGr 5-9-Walker traces the scientific detective work that led to identification of this species, long thought to be extinct, then describes the subsequent investigations of its physiology, habits, and habitat. In words and photos, she introduces the scientists and fishermen involved in the search as well as the rare specimens, which have not survived in captivity and were so difficult to preserve until mid-century. The author mentions the international politics involved in the ownership of the fish as well as misinterpretations of scientific data. As the text moves through the 20th century to recent discoveries in 2001, the photos change from black-and-white shots to color photos enhanced by modern underwater technology. The author ends by cataloging the questions still to be answered. An outstanding history of scientific inquiry, this title will appeal to future oceanographers and excite them with the news that there is still important research to be done.-Ellen Heath, Orchard School, Ridgewood, NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus ReviewsWalker (Seahorse Reef, 2001, etc.) imbues a still-ongoing scientific treasure hunt with all the suspense and excitement it deserves. Drawing information from both published sources and private interviews with research scientists, she chronicles the modern rediscovery of this lumpish, rugged-looking fish, once thought extinct for 70 million years. Her account covers its chance 1938 appearance in a fisherman's net to finds within the last five years that have extended its range to Indonesia and several spots along Africa's eastern coast. Enhanced by lucid art and sharp color photos, and backed up with helpful book and Web site lists, she produces an engrossing tally both of what we know about coelacanth anatomy and behavior, and what remains mysterious. No captured specimens have yet survived more than a few hours, no young have ever been observed, and the purpose of certain organs is still unknown. She makes it easy to understand why, though "it's usually people that catch coelacanths, something about coelacanths also ‘catches' people." Science-writing at its finest, sure to net plenty of young readers. (Nonfiction. 11-13)
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