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Ancient Creature of the Deep

Viewing Ideas


Before Watching

  1. Coelacanths have been found near South Africa, the Comoros Islands, and Indonesia. Ask students to locate these places on a map or globe and estimate the distances between them. Given the distances between sites, do students think all three coelacanth specimens are the same species? As students watch, have them take notes on characteristics of the coelacanth.

After Watching

  1. Review students' notes about coelacanths. What are some of the characteristics that the coelacanth has in common with most other fishes? What are some of its more unusual characteristics? What did students find most fascinating about the coelacanth?

  2. France claimed the right to all coelacanths caught off the Comoros Islands, which were under French colonial rule at the time of the 1952 discovery. Ask students if they think it is fair for a nation to claim exclusive rights to new scientific finds. Discuss whether the same principles should govern finds in water and on land. Who should decide the principles that govern who has rights to scientific finds?

Teacher's Guide
Ancient Creature of the Deep
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