Paleonet: Known First as Fossils - Clarification

Nikolaus Malchus n.malchus at
Wed Mar 7 15:16:46 GMT 2007

HI Carl,

The term "living fossil" does not necessarily imply that it was first found 
alive and then fossil matches were found.  Original reference to the 
fossil organism may be much older than to the living counterpart and this 
should be easily seen by comparing the references given in books on living 
fossils, ;-)



> -------- Original-Nachricht --------
> Datum: Wed, 07 Mar 2007 09:37:05 -0500
> Von: Carl Mehling <cosm at>
> An: paleonet at, vrtpaleo at
> Betreff: Paleonet: Known First as Fossils - Clarification
>             Hi All,
>  Some have suggested that I look into “living fossils.” The 
> examples I am looking for are not necessarily “living 
> fossils.” To me, that term describes taxa whose lineages have an 
> extremely long geological records and which persist today in basically 
> the same form. This would be things like Latimeria, cockroaches, Lingula, 
> lycopods, etc. But I am only looking for taxa that were first known as 
> fossils and then were subsequently found extant. This would include 
> things like the XXX known >from 4 million year old fossils and then later 
> found alive today, as well as things like coelacanths, but not things 
> like horseshoe crabs. I also wouldn’t consider the XXX a 
> “living fossil” because of its relatively recent oldest 
> fossil occurrence.
>  Best,
>  Carl
>              Carl Mehling
>  Fossil Amphibian, Reptile, and Bird Collections
>  Division of Paleontology 
>  American Museum of Natural History
>  Central Park West @79th Street
>  New York, NY  10024
>  (212) 769-5849
>  Fax: (212) 769-5842
>  cosm at
Nikolaus Malchus
PhD (Geology-Paleontology)
Dept. de Geologia/Unitat Paleontologia, Universitat
Autònoma de Barcelona, Campus, Edifici Cs
08193 Bellaterra (Cerdanyola del Vallès), Catalonia,
SPAIN; Tel x34-93-581-1464 / Fax x34-93-581-1263
International Congress on Bivalvia, July 2006
published abstracts, field guides and posters

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Paleonet mailing list