Protoanguilla palau
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New 'living fossil' eel species discovered in ocean cave

Scientists have discovered a remarkably primitive eel living in an underwater cave off the Republic of Palau in the Pacific Ocean.

The new genus and species, Protoanguilla palau, has primitive anatomical features unknown in all other living eels.

DNA analysis of the species shows it has an evolutionary history dating back 200 million years, prompting scientists to describe it as a "living fossil".

The find was reported in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Video courtesy of Jiro Sakaue, Southern Marine Laboratory, Palau.

  • 17 Aug 2011
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