World's oldest animals, also known as "Living Fossils"

Several of these ancient species, believed to be extinct, have recently surfaced and were discovered. Here are the 12 kinds of animals known as living fossils, the frilled shark, golden "Mars" ant and other ancient species animals; some of them remain almost no change over millions of years of evolution.

Lampreys are called "nine-eyed eels" from a counting of their
seven external gill slits on a side with one eye and the nostril.

Meet 12 of the world's oldest animals!

  • Lamprey
    Lampreys (sometimes also called lamprey eels) are an order of jaw less fish, the adult of which is characterized by a toothed, funnel-like sucking mouth. They are well known for boring into the flesh of other fish to suck their blood. Lampreys have been around for about 360 million years.

    Lampreys are called "nine-eyed eels" from a counting of their seven external gill slits on a side with one eye and the nostril.

  • Coelacanth
    The Coelacanth was considered a "living fossil" due to its apparent lack of significant evolution over the past millions of years; and the Coelacanth was thought to have evolved into roughly its current form approximately 400 million years ago.

  • Frilled Shark
    The frilled shark swims near the bottom of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Only 2 of its kind were ever seen and both were accidentally caught in fishing nets from the deep sea. Both were also caught near the coast of Japan in the late 19th century and in 2007. This shark actually existed on Earth for 380 million years.

    With its elongated, eel-like body and strange appearance, the frilled shark has long been likened to the mythical sea serpent.

  • Sturgeon
    Sturgeons have been in existence for 200 million years. Sturgeons are native to subtropical, temperate and sub-Arctic rivers, lakes and coastlines of Eurasia and North America. They are distinctive for their elongated bodies, lack of scales, and occasional great size: sturgeons ranging from 7–12 feet (2-3½ m) in length are common, and some species grow up to 18 feet (5.5 m).

    Sturgeons have been referred to as "primitive fishes".

  • Goblin Shark
    The goblin shark is a rare, poorly understood species of deep-sea shark. Sometimes called a "living fossil", it is the only extant representative of the family Mitsukurinidae, a lineage some 125 million years old. Goblin sharks like to hang out around the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

    The goblin shark has a distinctively long and flat snout, resembling a sword blade.

  • Bacteria
    Bacteria are among the most ancient life forms on Earth. Bacteria have been around for 3.5 billion years.

    Bacteria were among the first life forms to appear on Earth, and are present in most of its habitats.

  • Horseshoe Crab
    Because of their origin 450 million years ago (Mya), horseshoe crabs are considered living fossils. Horseshoe crabs look like a hybrid between a crab and a shrimp. They live primarily in and around shallow ocean waters on soft sandy or muddy bottoms.

    Horseshoe crabs are used as bait to fish for eels and whelk.

  • Martian Ants
    Martian Ants, sometimes known simply as Martians, are a sentient humanoid race from planet Mars. They've been living underground for the past 120 million years.

    The specie is believed to be the last common ancestor of ants.

  • Sponges
    Sponges do not have nervous, digestive or circulatory systems. Instead, most rely on maintaining a constant water flow through their bodies to obtain food and oxygen and to remove wastes. Sponges are among the most ancient creatures on the planet, dating as far back as 760 million years.

    Sponges are multicellular organisms that have bodies full of pores and channels allowing water to circulate through them.

  • Nautilus
    Nautilus is a marine creature with spiral-shaped shell. Evolution has spared nautilus from any changes in the past 500 million years.

    Spiral-shapes were considered a symbol of perfection in ancient Greece.

  • Jellyfish
    Jellyfish are found in every ocean, from the surface to the deep sea. They have roamed the seas for at least 500 million years, and possibly 700 million years or more, making them the oldest multi-organ animal.

    Jelly fish are free-swimming marine animals characterized by their gelatinous umbrella-shaped bell and trailing tentacles.

  • Notostraca
    Notostraca is also known as shield shrimp. These small animals have survived for 220 million of years.

    Notostraca comprises the single family Triopsidae, containing the tadpole shrimp or shield shrimp.

Source: Sean Archer

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