extinction

Is “living fossils” an apt term?

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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.

Actually, a good many supposed extinct animals turn up where they were not sought, including this one.

But Keim’s right. It was never a good term. Can you think of a better one?

See all eleven here.

3 Replies to “Is “living fossils” an apt term?

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    “They’re simply, impressively unique.”

    Unlike we humans.

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    But Keim’s right. It was never a good term. Can you think of a better one?

    Darwin Stumpers?

  3. 3
    snelldl says:

    Evolutionarily Conserved Species
    Paleontological Nightmare
    Stitch in a Niche

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