By: Prof. Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa
Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa, Prof. Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher (2014). Coelacanth Fish Fossils † Macropomoides orientalis Woodward, 1942 from Lebanon. Gazelle: The Palestinian Biological Bulletin. ISSN 0178 - 6288. Number 113, May 2014, Rajab 1435 AH. pp. 1–26. Dubai and Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. http://quastenflosser.webs.com/macropomoidesorientalis.htm
When I was writing some articles about the Coelacanth Fishes, I noticed that there were some Lebanese Coelacanth fish fossil specimens for sale on the internet and other specimens were in Museums or Private Collections.
These coelacanth fish fossils belong to the species † Macropomoides orientalis Woodward, 1942 from the Upper Cretaceous (Middle Cenomanian) Limestone in Haqel (Hakel) and Hajula, Lebanon.
The body is relatively deep and reaches about 300 mm SL. The head bones are without ornament; a preorbital is absent; the lachrymojugal is narrow beneath the eye and barely larger than the enclosed sensory canal; postorbital is deep, expanded dorsally with a narrow ventral limb; the squamosal is very small and both the spiracular and the preoperculum may be absent. The premaxilla carries a few stout teeth. The operculum is rounded poster-odorsally with a very oblique ventral margin. Sensory canals open by a few large pores on the parietonasal shield; the angular and splenial each have four large sensory pores. Teeth upon the parasphenoid are restricted to the anterior third of the bone. The principal coronoid has a distinct waist and a longitudinally expanded head. The gular plates are twice as long as broad. The anocleithrum is forked dorsally with a narrow dorsal limb and a broad anterodorsal limb. Short ribs are developed throughout the posterior half of the abdominal region. The caudal fin has a rounded posterior margin which encloses the supplementary lobe. Pointed denticles are present on at least the first three rays of D1 and the leading rays of the principal caudal lobes. The pelvic bone is a simple rod with a proximal lateral expansion and the D1 support has a prominent anteroventrally directed thickened ridge. The scales are ornamented with many closely spaced denticles which, like the denticles on the fins, bear many fine striations. Those scales beneath and behind the level of D1 show a prominent central denticle (the only denticle present in small specimens) (Forey 1997/1998, Khalaf 2013).
The species Macropomoides orientalis Woodward, 1942 reaching 30 cm estimated SL, HL/SL=26%, PD1/SL=35%, TL/SL=18%, CL/SL=32%, TD/SL=30%, CP/SL=20%, PV/SL=43%, D1=8, D2=14, C=20/19, AbdV=55, CauV=20. Proportional measurements based on two small specimens: meristic counts based on four small specimens (Woodward 1942, Forey 1997/1998).
The generic and specific diagnoses are based primarily on small specimens and it is possible that when more complete large individuals are found they will have to be revised. Some features such as the lack of ornament and the weak development of the squamosal may be juvenile features. However, there remains the possibility that the small and large individuals represent different taxa. The restoration provided is based on small individuals. Some remarks are therefore necessary (Forey 1997/1998).
Woodward (1942) erected the species solely on the holotype (AUB 108935) which, based on proportions of the complete smaller specimens, must have been a fish of about 30 cm. Another large, but disarticulated tail (MNHN HDJ-73-22) is known, again probably from a comparable-sized fish. The remaining specimens, although articulated, are much smaller (< 10 cm SL) and there are differences in certain features between them and the holotype. The scales of the small individuals are more delicately ornamented or lack ornament completely, and the rays of D1 lack expanded tips (a feature considered diagnostic by Woodward). A number of features suggest that the small specimens are juvenile: the endochondral fin supports and pelvic girdle are lightly ossified; the scales are very thin and carry little ornamentation. All these features are seen in young Rhabdoderma exiguum and in Coccoderma nudum which also are thought to be juvenile forms (Forey 1997/1998).
Gaudant (1975) was also unsure whether the small specimens were juvenile Macropomoides orientalis or separate species. She further recognized two forms of small individuals which she called ‘coelacanthe B’ (two specimens) and ‘coelacanthe C’ (one specimen). The differences between them were alleged to be the slightly more anterior placement of the pelvic bone relative to the pectoral lobe and the dorsal fin in ‘B’ than in ’C’ and the fact that form ‘B’ showed scales with a small central spine-like denticle (in large specimens the scale ornament consists of a spine-like central denticle flanked by many small denticles) (Forey 1997/1998).
Up to 1938, it was believed that coelacanth fossils represented the solution to a serious problem for evolutionists, who needed evidence documenting the imaginary emergence of living things from the sea onto dry land. They therefore took fossils of the coelacanth, which they believed was well suited to this scenario, and began making propaganda regarding them. They interpreted the animal’s fins as ‘feet about to walk’ and another unidentified organ as ‘a primitive lung.’ Yet striking proof soon emerged that none of these interpretations had any validity at all. The capture by fisherman of a living coelacanth in 1938 came as a terrible disappointment to evolutionists. James Leonard Brierley Smith, a professor in the Rhodes University Chemistry Faculty, expressed his amazement in these words: ‘Although I had come prepared, that first sight hit me like a white-hot blast and made me feel shaky and queer, my body tingled. I stood as if stricken to stone. Yes, there was not a shadow of doubt, scale by scale, bone by bone, fin by fin, it was a true Coelacanth’ (Samantha Weinberg, 2001). Detailed examinations were conducted of the coelacanth’s structure and internal organs, which had no primitive features as had been imagined and bore no intermediate-form characteristics of any imaginary primitive forebear. The structure that evolutionists imagined to be a primitive lung was actually a swim bladder filled with fat in the creature’s body. In addition, this creature, depicted as a prospective reptile preparing to emerge onto dry land, was actually a bottom-dwelling fish inhabiting deep waters and not rising above depths of 180 meters. Therefore, according to Dr. Millot, who conducted the investigation, this life form, which should have represented the ‘missing link,’ they were seeking, lacked the primitive features of the living thing they claimed had evolved (Samantha Weinberg, 2001). Very simply, it was no intermediate form, but had existed with the same complex characteristics in deep waters for 400 million years (Harun Yahya).
The coelacanth is a large fish some 150 centimeters in length, whose body is all covered by thick scales reminiscent of armor. It is a member of the class of bony fishes (Osteichthyes), of which the earliest fossils are found in strata belonging to the Devonian Period (417 to 354 million years ago). For years, evolutionists portrayed fossils belonging to this vertebrate as belonging to an intermediate form, until the capture of a live coelacanth invalidated such claims. Research into the fish's anatomy again inflicted a major defeat on Darwinists (Harun Yahya).
In an article in Nature magazine, an evolutionist paleontologist named Peter L. Forey (1988) said this: "The discovery of Latimeria [coelacanth] raised hopes of gathering direct information on the transition of fish to amphibians, for there was then a long-held belief that coelacanths were close to the ancestry of tetrapods . . . But studies of the anatomy and physiology of Latimeria have found this theory of relationship to be wanting and the living coelacanth's reputation as a missing link seems unjustified."
The latest information regarding the complex structure of the coelacanth continues to pose difficulties for evolutionists. This problem was expressed in Focus magazine (2003): "According to fossils, fish emerged some 470 million years ago. The coelacanth emerged 60 million years after that. It is astonishing that this creature, which would be expected to possess very primitive features, actually has a most complex structure."
For evolutionists insisting on a gradual process of evolution, the appearance of the coelacanth with its complex structure naturally came as a major surprise. Yet there is nothing surprising about this at all. Any rational person is able to understand that God creates all living things, together with their complex structures, in the form and at the time He so desires, and in a single moment. The entities flawlessly created by God are all means by which His might and power can be appreciated (Harun Yahya).