Although it seems that some animals are completely extinct, there are still some animals that are still alive, just living in invisible places. This is more than you think. Some animals have been deliberately wiped out or extinct by humans, but they are still alive, sometimes even as part of a large healthy population, completely unaware of their so-called extinction. This is what biologists call the Lazarus taxa. They are thought to have died and then “brought back to life” by new discoveries.
Today we are going to talk about Laotian Rock Rat
Let’s get this out the way: Laotian rock rat is an excellent band name and I have dibs. The rat was first discovered in 1996 in a market in southern Laos. Interestingly, its first sighting was as a piece of meat for sale. With the help of locals, more were found, though all had been killed for meat. It wasn’t until 2006 that a living specimen was seen, and it was then captured and studied in detail. It was clear to researchers that the rock rat was unlike any other living rodent. An entirely new family name was proposed for the creature. For context, a family is a fairly large taxonomic group. Our family is Hominidae and it includes all living and extinct apes, including all extinct humans.
But experts were able to place the rock rat after all, and it made it even more of an oddball. They placed it in a family of rodents known only from the fossil record, whose fossils dry up 11 million years ago. The rock rat is so isolated that its only close family is 11 million years removed.