living fossilliving fossil
An organism, such as the coelacanth or ginkgo, that is similar in appearance to its fossilized distant ancestors and usually has no extant close relatives.
(plural living fossils)
- Any species discovered first as a fossil and believed extinct, but which is later found living; an organism that has remained unchanged over geological periods
- The coelacanth and the dawn redwood are living fossils.
- Any living species which very closely resembles fossil relatives in most anatomical details.
- Crocodiles are living fossils that haven't changed their appearance much in millions of years.