Mike Bruton was born and educated in East London, where the first coelacanth was caught. He studied under JLB and Margaret Smith at Rhodes University, and subsequently took over from Margaret Smith as Director of the JLB Smith Institute of Ichthyology, launching a series of expeditions to study the coelacanth. He has been involved in coelacanth conservation and has given talks around the world on ‘old fourlegs’. http://www. Mikebruton.co.za/biography/

  • Fishy Smiths – Hardback

    The discovery of the modern-day coelacanth will forever be linked with the name of JLB Smith. An intense, irascible, eccentric man, JLB (as he was widely known) and his long-suffering wife Margaret were both remarkable South African scientists who changed the course of the biological sciences. Best known for their research on the coelacanth, they also contributed in many other ways to the scientific study of fishes (ichthyology) and related fields.

    The first comprehensive biography about JLB and Margaret Smith.

    Traces their formative years and serendipitous meeting, leading up to the discovery of the coelacanth, and the tumultuous years that followed.

    Details their punitive work ethic, eccentric and rugged lifestyle, and their astonishingly productive lives.

    A story awash with adventure, travel, discovery, risk-taking, near-death experiences – and their extraordinary contribution to science.

    Illustrated with black-and-white images of the Smiths’ fascinating lives, as well as a 16-page colour section, Mike Bruton’s lively account fills a scientific and biographical niche and will become a classic of the South African scene.

    R310.00
  • Fishes Okavango Delta & Chobe River

    A comprehensive guide to the freshwater fishes of the Okavango Delta and Chobe River, this book offers background information on the diverse aquatic habitats of the region and on fish feeding, breeding and survival strategies. It also provides useful hints for anglers. The species entries describe each fish in detail, with key ID points and information on habits and occurrence. Each account is accompanied by a colour illustration or photograph. The book concludes with information on how best to utilise and conserve the fishes of the delta system and Chobe River.

    This is the only such guide to fishes of the region and will be invaluable to local and visiting fishermen, naturalists, conservationists, as well as the many tourists who visit this spectacular African paradise.

    R240.00
  • Amazing Coelacanth

    This colourful illustrated children’s book is aimed at ages 9-14. It recounts the discovery of the first coelacanth in modern times – a fish that had been thought to be extinct for many millions of years, and was known only from its fossil record.

    In 1939, a specimen was hauled ashore in a fishing net off the South African coast near East London, and its identification as a coelacanth made world news. Chemistry professor JLB Smith identified the fish and dedicated the rest of his life to searching for live specimens and researching the science surrounding this evolutionary phenomenon.

    This book, by ichthyologist Mike Bruton, uncovers:
    the mystery of the coelacanth and the thrilling story of its discovery
    its strange appearance and lifestyle
    what makes it so special
    how it evolved – and what this has to do with human evolution
    how and what it eats, and who eats it.

    These and many other details provide insight into this amazing fish and its marine companions.

    R140.00
  • The Annotated Old Fourlegs

    When the famous South African fish scientist Professor JLB Smith published Old Fourlegs – The Story of the Coelacanth in 1956 he created an international sensation. After all, this 400-million-year-old fish, known only from fossil remains, was thought to have become extinct around 66 million years ago! JLB Smith’s dramatic account of the discovery of the first and second coelacanths in 1938 and 1952 turned him into a cult figure and put South African science on the world map. His book was eventually published in six English editions and translated into nine foreign languages. Mike Bruton’s The Annotated Old Fourlegs  includes a facsimile reprint of the original book, to which he has added notes and images in the margins that provide an interesting and revealing commentary on Smith’s text, as well as new introductory and explanatory chapters that bring the coelacanth story up to date.

    R200.00