There have been five major mass extinctions in history, yet our planet has survived all of them. Even more amazing is that many ancient species, ones that should have died off along with everything else in their time, are still alive and kicking today. Such as …
10. Shih Tzu (5000-10000 Years)
The famous Shih Tzu breed of “toy” dogs originated in China, and is considered to be one of the oldest species of dogs still around today. Studies show that the Shih Tzu breed is genetically close to wolves, which are the distant ancestors of all dog breeds today – making them a truly “ancient” breed. Dogs are among the most domesticated in the entire world, and are truly a humans’ best friend.
9. Mustelidae – Weasel (15 Million Years)
15 million years ago, the direct ancestors of modern-day weasels came to pass, and haven’t given up the ghost yet. They populate forests and open woodlands in the Northern Hemisphere. The Mustelidae are members of the Mustelid family of carnivores, and are very close relatives to Stoats as a result of its evolutionary process. Their prey mostly comprises of smaller animals, including rabbits. They have successfully evolved, unlike most carnivores, by gaining long and slender bodies, which is an advantage for capturing its prey.
8. Assassin Spiders (40 Million Years)
The Assassin spiders are members of the Archaeidae family, and evolved around 40 million years ago. They were first discovered in the early-to-mid 1800’s. Today, these spiders mostly occupy rainforests, since they no longer exist in Europe. This particular species has an extraordinary appearance, with long necks and pointy legs, and is believed to have evolved this way so as to transfer food to its relatives.
7. Sumatran Rhinoceros (50 Million Years)
Modern rhinoceros’ are members of the Equidae family, which also consist of the contemporary horse, making them very unlikely relatives. Sumatran rhinos divided from the lineages of Equidae about 50 million years ago, and now settle in East Asia. The Rhinocerotidae family first appeared in Eurasia in the Late Eocene, and the ancestral families of the existent rhino species detached from Asia in the early beginnings of the Miocene Period.
6. Kakapo (70-80 Million Years)
Kakapos are the oldest known species of parrot, and diverged from the genus Nestor about 70 to 80 million years ago. During the breakup of New Zealand about 82 million years ago, the Kakapo became isolated from many other parrot species that existed during that time. Like many tropical species in New Zealand, Kakapos inhabit coastal areas, scrublands, and forests. They mostly feed on natural plants, seeds, fruits and a variety of nutrition from plants and trees. Sadly, they are a critically endangered species, since humans inhabited the land almost 1000 years ago and have been slowly destroying the Kakapo’s fragile ecosystem ever since.
5. Purple Frog (130 Million Years)
Nasikabatrachus-Sahyadrensis, or the “purple frog,” is one of the longest-surviving species of the frog family. It evolved around 130 million years ago, making it the sole survivor of its prehistoric amphibian relatives. The frog does look like something from another world, with its squashed face and fat body, though to be fair, most prehistoric animals look rather unique to us modern humans. The purple frog is most popular near the evergreen montane and cardamom plantations in the concerned secondary forest, though it also undoubtedly inhabits unobstructed forests.
4. Tuatara (200 Million Years)
Tuatara, a reptile species that lived during the Jurassic period, are a very unique-looking species. They resemble dinosaurs that existed during that period, but recent studies have demonstrated that the Tuatara has significantly evolved over the past millions of years. However, it is still sometimes considered to be a living fossil.
This lizard species is part of the Lepidosauria superorder, which is a large family of reptiles that also includes snakes. Commonly, amphisbaenians first appeared throughout the early Cenozoic era. A Sphenodontidae fossil record was calculated to have first existed in the Lower Triassic period, which marks the earliest discovered fossil record of the Lepidosauria.
3. Emperor Scorpions (300 Million Years)
Emperor Scorpions inhabit African rainforests in many different countries of Africa, including Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria and so on. Scientists who study the Emperor Scorpion species have researched their origin, concluding that their ancestors (the now-extinct water scorpions) existed over 400 million years ago. It is believed that scorpions first inhabited land when its prey also relocated to terrestrial grounds.
2. Coelacanth (400 Million Years)
This rare, and critically endangered, fish has been floating through the oceans for 400 million years. It was first discovered in 1938 by Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer, a museum curator near the Tyolomnqa river. Through paleontological research, studies concluded that the Coelacanth has rarely evolved over time, meaning this species of fish has kept its physical look the same for 400 million years! It is not recommended to consume the Coelacanth, however, as it can sicken humans and cause diarrhea.
1. Horseshoe Crab (350-450 Million Years)
Fossil findings reveal that horseshoe crabs date back almost 450 million years, which means they precede even the earliest of dinosaurs! What’s more, Horseshoe Crabs have not physically changed much at all, despite evolution giving them plenty of time to do so. Horseshoe Crabs are a very important species, due to its vital role in the food chain as prey for birds and fish.