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Living fossil

A 'living fossil' is a kind of living organism that is the last in its taxonomic group after all closely related species have become extinct. In addition, living fossils show a strong superficial resemblance to fossil representatives, which creates the illusion that they have evolved very little in the course of geological history. The living fossil therefore appears very similar to the fossil specimens of the species, even though there are sometimes hundreds of millions of years between them. Known living fossils are horseshoe crabs, coelacanth fish, lungfish, the Nautilus, the brachiopod Lingula, various plants including the dewclaws and cycads. The term 'living fossil' has a very limited scientific relevance.


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