Paleonet: Known First as Fossils - Clarification

Carl Mehling cosm at
Wed Mar 7 15:26:39 GMT 2007

Hi Niko,
Exactly. This is what I was trying to clarify. 
"Living fossils" overlap with what I am looking 
for, but both groups also unique elements.

At 10:16 AM 3/7/2007, you wrote:
>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.
>>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
>Paleonet mailing list
>Paleonet at

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
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