Living Fossils:  15 Amazing Creatures That Defied Extinction

9th March, 2024


Ancient Factor: These shelled creatures have existed for around 450 million years! Their ancestors co-existed with trilobite Their blood has unique properties vital for medical research.

Horseshoe Crab


Ancient Factor: ● It was thought extinct for over 66 million years until rediscovered in 1938. ● Large, lobe-finned fish with a lineage stretching back 360 million years. ● A valid "Lazarus taxon" – a species seemingly defying extinction.


Ancient Factor: ● These cephalopods have remained largely unchanged for 500 million years. ● Related to squid and octopus, but with an external shell for protection. ● Living fossils that can help us study evolution. 


Ancient Factor: ● One of the oldest surviving crocodilian lineages. ● Highly specialized for catching fish with their narrow jaws. ● They are critically endangered, but these survivors showcase their ancient heritage.

Frilled Shark

Ancient Factor: ●  They are often called "living fossils," but their kind has changed little since prehistoric times. ● Rarely seen deep-sea dwellers with over 300 trident-shaped teeth in rows. ● They swim with a snake-like motion, snatching their prey whole.


Ancient Factor: ● Unique to New Zealand, the sole survivor of an ancient reptilian order. ● It possesses a primitive "third eye" under the skin, used for sensing light. ● Their ancestors coexisted with the dinosaurs.


Ancient Factor: ● Primitive jawless fish resembling eels with a sucker-like mouth. ● Their lineage goes back over 360 million years. ● Some species are parasitic, attaching to other fish for nourishment.


Ancient Factor: ● Unique fish with both gills and primitive lungs, allowing them to breathe air. ● They can even survive droughts by burrowing into mud and slowing their metabolism. ● A link between fully aquatic fish and land-dwelling vertebrates.

Vampire Squid 

Ancient Factor: ● Despite the name, it's neither squid nor vampire but has a unique branch. ● Deep-sea cephalopod with bioluminescent lights and defensive 'pineapple" posture. ● Their lineage diverged from other cephalopods a long time ago.

Goblin Shark 

Ancient Factor: ● Bizarre deep-sea shark with an extendable jaw for snatching prey. ● Rarely encountered, leading to them being nicknamed "living fossils." ● Their ancestry dates back over 125 million years.

Pelican Eel 

Ancient Factor: ● Deep-sea fish with a huge mouth and expandable pouch like a pelican. ● A bioluminescent lure at the tip of the tail attracts prey. ● Strange body shapes and unique adaptations for their deep-water habitat.

Elephant Shark (Ghost Shark) 

Ancient Factor: ● Related to sharks and rays, their plow-shaped snout senses prey in the sand. ●  Their unique appearance earned them the nickname 'ghost shark.' ●  It is primarily found in the waters around Australia and New Zealand.


Ancient Factor: ● Large, flightless bird related to prehistoric dinosaurs. ● Powerful legs and a dagger-like claw for defense. ● Native to rainforests of Australia and New Guinea.


Ancient Factor: ● Bottom-feeding fish with a lineage dating back over 200 million years. ● Large-size and armored plates offer protection. ● Prized for their eggs, the source of caviar.

Velvet Worm 

Ancient Factor: ● Soft-bodied, segmented creatures related to arthropods. ● Exist primarily unchanged for 500 million years! ● Hunt by squirting slime to entangle their prey.