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Creature from ancient times

VISITORS can see a "living fossil" at the Comoros stand at the Africa Joint Pavilion from today. A specimen of coelacanth, regarded as the oldest breed of fish in the world, will be on display at the stand until the end of Expo, officials said.

Coelacanth had been thought to have been extinct 80 million years ago until a living one was discovered in Comoros in 1938.

The fish is now one of the country's national treasures.

During the dinosaur age, coelacanths could breathe air, and their fins could be used to walk on land, powerful evidence that amphibians evolved from fish.

Officials said that as time passed, the fish divided into two groups. One evolved into amphibians, while the other remained fish.

Idi Nadhoim, the country's vice president, will raise the curtain on the specimen at the pavilion this afternoon.

The specimen was a gift from Comoros to China in 1997. Before coming to Shanghai, the specimen was on show at the Beijing Museum of Natural History.

"In Comoros, the coelacanth is a symbol of longevity, while we know that in China fish are regarded as auspicious creatures, thus we display the fish here to express our best wishes to Chinese people," Nadhoim said.


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