Meet 12 of the world’s oldest animals!
Several of these ancient species, believed to be extinct, have recently surfaced and were rediscovered. These animals did not undergo any significant changes despite millions of years of evolution. And yes, most of them are from the deepest corners of the ocean.
Here are the 12 living fossils of the world:
Coelacanths were thought to be extinct, disappearing from the fossil record 410 million years ago. But in 1938, they were rediscovered when one got caught off the coast in South Africa. A second Coelacanth was found in 1999 in Indonesia.
2. Frilled Shark
Often termed as a living fossil, the frilled shark swims near the bottom of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Only 2 of its kind were ever seen and both were accidentally caught in fishing nets from the deep sea. Both were also caught near the coast of Japan in the late 19th century and in 2007.
Sturgeons have been in existence for 200 million years. Sturgeon is a common term used to refer to over 20 species of fish and several closely related species which include beluga and sterlet. Due to their long reproductive cycles, sensitivity to environmental conditions, water pollution, over fishing, and poaching, the sturgeon population is noticeably declining, especially since the demand for caviar is on a rise. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature or IUCN, 85% of sturgeon species are at risk of extinction.
4. Goblin Shark
Goblin sharks like to hang out around the bottom of the Pacific Ocean and have been doing so for the past 118 million years.
Lampreys, also called lamprey eels are jawless fish characterized by its toothed and funnel-like sucking mouth. Much like parasites and leeches, the feed through sucking. And feeding is as easy as attaching their teeth to a fish. Lampreys have been around for about 360 million years.
Bacteria is among the most ancient life forms on Earth. Bacteria comprise a large domain of microorganisms, varying in length and shapes which can lead to a number of fatal diseases. Bacteria has been around for 3.5 billion years.
7. Martian Ants
Martian ants (Martialis Heureka) is an ant specie that was discovered in the Amazon rainforest in 2000. The specie is believed to be the last common ancestor of ants. They’ve been living underground for the past 120 million years.
8. Horseshoe Crab
Horseshoe crabs has been around for the last 445 million years and they have changed very little. Horseshoe crabs look like a hybrid between a crab and a shrimp. They primarily live in and around shallow ocean waters on muddy and soft sandy bottoms. Horseshoe crabs occasionally come onto shore to mate.
Sponges are among the most ancient creatures on the planet, dating as far back as 760 million years.
Also known as shield shrimp. Notostraca is considered a living fossil since the specie had no significant changes in their outward forms for 200 million years.
Nautilus is a marine creature with a spiral-shaped shell considered a symbol of perfection in ancient Greece. Evolution has spared nautilus from any changes in the past 500 million years.
Jellyfish have been in existence for 505 million years. They’re free-swimming marine animals characterized by their gelatinous umbrella-shaped bell and trailing tentacles.