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 Coelacanth
You knew it was coming. And no matter how obvious it is, the coelacanth has earned its spot as the #1 Lazarus taxon. Even non-biologists know the story of the coelacanth. For almost a century, coelacanths had been known purely from fossil evidence. In addition, their skeletons suggested they were more related to tetrapods than modern fish. This made them a possible missing link in the evolution from ocean life to terrestrial life.
It seemed clear they were ancient and extinct. Then a fisherman in South Africa reeled in an odd-looking fish that caught the eye of local museum worker Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer, who instantly recognized its importance. With the help of a biologist friend who came to assist her, they identified the fish as a coelacanth, thus changing its status from ‘extinct for 400 million years’ to ‘just reeled in by some dude.’