(After the Chinle Formation).
Named By: B. Schaeffer - 1967.
Classification: Chordata, Sarcopterygii, Actinistia, Coelacanthiformes, Mawsoniidae.
Species: C. sorenseni (type).
Size: About 1.5 meters long.
Known locations: USA, including the states of Arizona - Chinle Formation, Colorado - Chinle Formation, New Mexico - Chinle Formation, Texas - Tecovas Formation and Colorado City Formation, and Utah - Chinle Formation.
Time period: Carnian to Rhaetian of the Triassic.
Fossil representation: Many individuals, though often by partial remains such as skulls.
is one of the better known coelacanth
genera from North America,
though remains of this late Triassic aged fish are usually
incomplete. The majority of currently known remains of Chinlea
known from the Chinle Formation of the USA, which is also the
inspiration for the genus name.
Overall, Chinlea seems to have been on the slightly gracile side of the family when compared to other coelacanth genera, but still retained the characteristic deep body and strong lobe fins of its relatives. The mouth was also filled with large sharp teeth that would have had an easy time penetrating the bodies of prey animals such as small fish. With remains indicating sizes up to 1.5 meters long, individual Chinlea were roughly equivalent to smaller Latimeria, a modern genus of coelacanth that was discovered to be alive in the Indian Ocean after science had claimed coelacanths to be extinct for tens of millions of years, the adults of which can range between 1.5 and 1.8 meters long.
- Late Triassic fishes from the western United States - B. Schaeffer - 1967.
- A New Specimen of Chinlea sorenseni from the Chinle Formation, Dolores River, Colorado - David K. Elliot - 1987.