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Thursday, January 1, 2015

5 of the Oldest Species Still to Exist

The earth has millions of types of animals living on it, but we actually only still know a small amount of them. a number of those are extinct species, which a few have died out over the past few centuries or had died out long before man existed. But a few of those animals still do exist today. Below are a few of the oldest animal species that still exists today, and most of them are found in the depths of the ocean.

Goblin Sharks
These sharks spend most of their time in the bottom of very deep waters, so we usually don’t see them. Not a lot is known about these sharks, but it’s estimated that they’ve been around for 118 million years. The base of their teeth protrudes out of their mouth, making them very visible. A live specimen was caught in the waters near Japan back in 2007, however it didn’t survive.

Martialis Heureka Ant
This is the only land animal on the list. Although they’re old, humans had just recently discovered them in the early 20’s. They’re now represented as a new ant species and they even have their own genus and subfamily. This primitive and prehistoric line existed right at the start of the evolution of ant, dating back 120 million years ago.

Frilled Shark
Older than the goblin shark, frilled sharks are known to be the oldest shark species that are still around. Their physical features are unlike the more evolved and “modern” sharks, which is why they have a more eel-like shape to their body. Scientist estimate that these sharks have been around for over 150 million years. They also live at the ocean’s sea bed, which is why we rarely ever see them. However, a specimen occasionally does get caught in fishing nets every now and then.

Tadpole Shrimp
Although they’ve been around for an estimated 220 million years, these animals are now tagged as endangered. They’ve been having problems repopulating and scientist are finding ways to help them survive. In 2010, they discovered that tadpole shrimp eggs are able to lie dormant for a long time when they’re dried. Hopefully, this can help the species live longer.

There is actually a wide umbrella that covers a number of species listed as sturgeons. They’ve survived for about 200 million years, however, they face a huge population problem because of human intervention. Sturgeons are harvested for their eggs or caviar, which we in turn make into luxury food items. They also face problems with the destruction of their natural habitat and pollution.

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