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A Lazarus taxon (plural taxa) is an animal or plant which was thought to have gone extinct, but has been rediscovered. Alleged but scientifically unrecognised Lazarus taxa—also called prehistoric survivors, extinct cryptids, and living fossils—are one of the major categories of cryptid. Some are reported as cryptids in their own right, while others are theoretical identities for more ambiguous cryptids.
Notable cryptozoological examples include historically-known animals such as the thylacine and Steller's sea cow, and the slightly older moa and giant lemurs; relatively recent animals such as woolly mammoths and ground sloths; and more ancient examples such as neodinosaurs and supposed marine reptiles. Well-known recognised Lazarus taxa include the coelacanth, takahe, bush dog, and Chacoan peccary.
Notes and references
- Eberhart, George M. (2002) Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology, ABC-CLIO, Inc., ISBN 1576072835
- Shuker, Karl P. N. ShukerNature: WELCOME TO THE JOURNAL OF CRYPTOZOOLOGY - A NEW, PEER-REVIEWED SCIENTIFIC JOURNAL DEVOTED TO MYSTERY ANIMALS. karlshuker.blogspot.com (27 February 2012) [Accessed 21 August 2019] — Wayback Machine
- Shuker, Karl P. N. (2016) Still In Search Of Prehistoric Survivors: The Creatures That Time Forgot?, Coachwhip Publications, ISBN 978-1616463908
- Heuvelmans, Bernard (1955) On the Track of Unknown Animals, Routledge, ISBN 978-1138977525