March 20, 2009

CT scan shows eggs inside coelacanth

Japanese researchers say they've used CT scans to see the eggs inside a coelacanth, a prehistoric fish that was once considered extinct.

The Tokyo Institute of Technology said the ancient species is of great interest because it is thought to represent an early step in the evolution of fish to amphibians, Kyodo News Service reported Friday. The eggs hatch while still inside the female and grow to nearly 12 inches before they emerge.

Two coelacanths were captured off the coast of Tanzania and transported to Tokyo for the CT scans, the Japan Times said.

The species first appeared about 400 million years ago and was thought to have gone extinct around the same time as the dinosaurs. They were rediscovered in the Indian Ocean in 1938.