Published: Friday 30 June 1995

THERE is something down under Down Under that has scientists of prehistory busy revising their notions of a lost past: off the coast of Tasmania has been found a colony of living coral and other marine life pegged at a pedigree of 45 million years, or abouts. Scientists call it the find of the century, at least in terms of the study of prehistory.

The underwater creatures do not exist anywhere else in the world, and weren't expected to be living hale and hearty here either. Among the creatures are some that boggle the imagination of the most seasoned of scientists.

The problem, as the marine scientists see it, is one of the human fascination for novelty: hordes of tourists, the chains and anchors of whose boats are bound to damage the coral habitat.

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