Mawsonia (fish)

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Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 110–95 Ma
Mawsonia sp.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sarcopterygii
Order: Coelacanthiformes
Family: Mawsoniidae
Genus: Mawsonia
Woodward, 1907
  • M. brasiliensis Yabumoto, 2002
  • M. gigas Woodward, 1907 (type)
  • M. lavocati Tabaste, 1963
  • M. libyca Weiler, 1935
  • M. tegamensis Wenz, 1975
  • M. ubangiana Casier, 1961

Mawsonia is an extinct genus of prehistoric coelacanth fish, and the largest of this group, up to several meters long.[1] It lived during the Cretaceous period (Albian and Cenomanian stages, about 99 to 112 million years ago). Fossils have been found in Africa and South America. Mawsonia was first described by British palaeontologist Arthur Smith Woodward in 1907.


Artists impression of Mawsonia.

Mawsonia was a large coelacanth which lived in what is now the Kem Kem Beds and Bahariya Formation in North Africa, during the Cretaceous. Mawsonia was around 4–6 meters in length, around the size of a rhinoceros. Like modern coelacanths, Mawsonia was possibly an opportunistic carnivore that could have eaten fish and large invertebrates.[2]


External links[edit]


  • Fishes of the World by Joseph S. Nelson
  • History of the Coelacanth Fishes by Peter Forey
  • Discovering Fossil Fishes by John Maisey and John G. Maisey
  • A Pictorial Guide to Fossils by Gerard Ramon Case
  • The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt by William Nothdurft and Josh Smith
  • Famous Dinosaurs of Africa by Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan
  • The Rise of Fishes: 500 Million Years of Evolution by John A. Long
  • Evolution of Fossil Ecosystems by Paul Selden and John Nudds