Recently, Brandon Keim, presenting “11 Animal Wonders of Evolution” (June 28, 2011) at Wired says no,
After all, their lineages haven’t survived ice ages and warm spells and every natural upheaval just to be visualized in amber by some upstart hairless ape. A better term is “evolutionarily distinct.” They’re simply, impressively unique.
One could say that of the Kha-Nyou
Until biologists found several at a Laotian food market, Kha-Nyou — less prettily known as Laotian rock rats — were thought to have gone extinct 11 million years ago, along with the rest of their taxonomic family.Genetic analyses show that they last shared a common ancestor with any living species 44 million years ago.
But Keim’s right. It was never a good term. Can you think of a better one?
See all eleven here.